Calgary – Frank did his job.
In fact, the almost five-year-old border collie did his job so well that he and his handler Wendy Azqui would take home the $10,000 win during the 2019 Calgary Stampede World Stock Dog Championship finals on Wednesday.
Frank and Wendy were the second last team to compete but that didn’t matter to the duo, who completed the sheep herding task in just 1:47, beating out the next best competitor by 25 seconds.
“Oh my gosh. I was so excited. I was jacked up and all of that energy went right to my dog,” the Wyoming dog trainer said after her win. “I love the energy here, that’s one of the reasons I came back. It’s a great place.”
Azqui competed in the competition for the first time at the Calgary Stampede last year, but she didn’t make the finals. She didn’t let that deter her this year.
“Honestly, I just went out there with a blank mind and tried to let things unfold in front of me so I didn’t get in my own head. I actually didn’t even look at the scores. I happened to see (Milt Scott’s) was a good one, but other than that, I tried not to watch.
Competitors from all over North America compete in the United States Border Collie Handlers Association and Alberta Stock Dog Association sanctioned events.
With 60 handler-and-dog teams competing over two aggregate rounds, the top 12 made it to the finals in front of a capacity crowd at the Nutrien Western Event Centre Wednesday afternoon.
Using a combination of whistle and voice commands, the competition is the ultimate showcase of canine skill and intelligence. Handlers direct their keenly focused dogs in herding three sheep through a challenging 21-point final course in under four minutes.
Azqui admits there were some mistakes in their run, but it was still enough to take the top spot from Reserve winner Norm Sommer and his dog, Bonnie, who had a time of 2:11. The Saskatchewan duo earned $4,000 for their work.
“You have to be on the same page,” Azqui said of her relationship with Frank, who she has had since he was one-year-old.
As a border collie dog trainer, Azqui said it is equally important that handlers know how to communicate with their dogs, and credits Frank with her success this year.
“Frank is an excellent mind reader, he kind of knows what I’m thinking and he fills in the gaps. He is an amazing dog; I feel very blessed to have Frank.”
For full results from the World Stock Dog Championship, visit ag.calgarystampede.com/results.
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The Calgary Stampede celebrates the people, the animals, the land, the traditions and the values that make up the unique spirit of the west. The Calgary Stampede contributes to the quality of life in Calgary and southern Alberta through our world-renowned Stampede, year-round facilities, western events and several youth and agriculture programs. Exemplifying the theme We’re Greatest Together; we are a volunteer-supported, not-for-profit community organization that preserves and promotes western heritage and values. All revenue is reinvested into Calgary Stampede programs and facilities.
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