Sheepdog trials, Range Call pack Meeker with festival atmosphere
Meeker is known as the western “gateway” to the Flat Tops Trail Scenic Byway, but there’s no reason not to stop for a day in this town, particularly when there is professional sheepherding or a rodeo to be seen.
You can see the former Sept. 5–9 at the Meeker Classic Sheepdog Championship Trials. This annual U.S. Border Collie Handler’s Association-sanctioned event features 44 dogs competing for a $25,000 purse. Each dog is scored out of 170 points based on how well it can stay focused and get sheep to follow its lead, according to meekersheepdog.com.
If watching the field pare down gets old, you can stroll through the food and craft festival, peruse the art show, visit the petting zoo or enjoy a pancake breakfast. Other Meeker Classic activities include a quilt show, a cooking seminar, Celtic music and dancing and a free outdoor concert.
And for the dog enthusiast — if you’re not one, why would you go? — there are flyball and dog agility demonstrations, a border collie training seminar and an exhibit from the Western Border Collie Rescue.
Anyone looking to make a trip to Meeker earlier in the summer can check out the 127th annual Range Call from July 4–8, which is packed with events.
You can start Independence Day with a walk or a run during the Run For Your Life race, then chow down at a pancake breakfast downtown. Stay downtown to enjoy a parade followed by more eating at a barbecue, watch the patriotic flag burning ceremony, and then take in the Plein Aire Art Exhibit and free live music.
In the afternoon, head to the fairgrounds for the Mobile FMZ Freestyle Motorcycle Show, listen to a Gwen Sebastian concert, and watch the Meeker Pageant, a rendition of the 1879 take-down of the town’s namesake, Nathan C. Meeker, by Ute tribe-members. Finish the night with fireworks at dusk.
Have another day to spare? There’s another barbecue in the evening July 5, followed by a re-enactment of Meeker’s famous bank robbery of 1896, when would-be bank robbers were gunned down before they could make off with any loot, according to meekerrangecall.com.
More Range Call events include a sheepdog exhibition, a barn dance, and CPRA rodeo and a performance by the Meeker Drill Team on July 6; a three-man basketball tournament, tours of the Milk Creek Battle Site, the Sportman’s Blast for people new to shooting guns or holding a bow and arrow, a concert with Shooter Jennings, Jason Boland & The Stragglers, and Cody Canada & The Departed at Ute Park and more rodeo July 7; and a rodeo, craft fair and lamb barbecue July 8.
No time to make these events? Meeker also has hiking trails, campgrounds, the White River Museum and isn’t far from the White River National Forest and Flat Tops Wilderness.