Working Sheepdog Demonstration (11:00 AM)
with Mark Soper and Nancy Starkey
The Working Sheepdog Demonstrations at the Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival are always a crowd favorite. Festival audiences are continually amazed by the talent, skill, and ability of the handlers and their dogs. Come watch as they demonstrate their skills working in partnership to maneuver the sheep around the arena and through the obstacles.
Again this year, Mark Soper of Woodbine, Maryland will be featured working his dogs in our sheepdog demonstrations. Mark has had Border Collies most of his life and he began training them for sheep work more than twenty years ago. Mark manages a large flock of Katahdin sheep, and he has also been a successful competitor in sheepdog trials in years past. Additionally, he and his dogs have been hired to “set sheep” at trials throughout the area. Mark is a full-time farrier and is also very successful in cutting horse competitions.
For many years, Nancy Cox Starkey of Mt. Airy, Maryland, provided the commentary for the Working Sheepdog Demonstrations at the Festival. But again this year, she will be a featured performer working with her dogs in the demonstrations. Nancy has had Border Collies for over forty years, and she began training them for sheep work more than twenty years ago. With the help of her dogs, Nancy manages flocks of Bluefaced Leicester sheep and Katahdin sheep. Additionally, Nancy competes regularly with her dogs in sheepdog trials, and she and Mark often team up to perform working sheepdog demonstrations at other festivals.