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Sheepherders Rendezvous: Annual event celebrates Wyoming’s sheep heritage

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The third annual Sheepherders Rendezvous was held in Glenrock Aug. 29-30. The event showcased traditional sheep wagons, Dutch oven cooking, blacksmithing, wool spinning and weaving demonstrations, western lifestyle vendors and the Dick Grabow Memorial Dog Trials. 

Rita Redig, a member of the event organizing committee, shares, “I believe we had a very successful rendezvous. It was certainly an enjoyable weekend.” 

History of the rendezvous

Sheep ranching has a rich and extensive history in the state of Wyoming. There are many families scattered across the state who have been raising sheep for many generations, some even before Wyoming was a state. 

“The sheep business is part of what started Wyoming,” notes Redig. “Sheepherding and sheep wagons are a part of our history and our heritage.”

Redig shares Jim Spraggs, who has since passed, spearheaded the event a few years ago. 

“The committee wanted to share and educate attendees about our history and heritage for our traditions to continue,” she notes.

In the first year of the event, there were three or four sheep wagons. Stock dog trials were added the second year. According to Redig, the rendezvous had a great turn out and saw lots of growth. 

“We are fortunate to have new ideas shared with us,” says Organizing Committee Member Rick Davis. “We want the event to continue to evolve.” 

Stock dog trials

Beginning in the second year of the event, stock dog trials were a popular attraction and added to the living history of working sheep. The Dick Grabow Memorial Sheepdog Trials took place Saturday, Aug. 29 during the Sheepherders Rendezvous. 

Dogs navigated sheep through the trial course with commands from the sheepherder during their run and were judged on both technique and time. 

Wendy Auzqui, with her dogs Cort and Frank, took home both first and second place. Michelle Miller finished in third place and Allison Jarrard with Rain took fourth place. 

Sharing living history

“Demonstrations on how our parents and grandparents lived, cooked and ultimately survived out of a sheep wagon provided lots of education,” says Redig. “We had wagons of all kinds – there was a wagon from the 1920s, restored wagons and modern sheep wagons people have built for fun.”

“It was great to see everyone with their wagons,” notes Redig. “One sheep wagon traveled from Kansas to be with us. The hinges and the doorknobs were even hand-made.” 

Wool spinners and weavers presented a sheep-to-shawl exhibition. The process of washing and carding a fleece, then spinning wool and weaving it into a shawl was demonstrated throughout the duration of the event. 

Isabelle Anderson, a weaver, shares that the shawl will be raffled at next summer’s rendezvous. 

The Sheepherders Rendezvous also showcased Dutch oven cooking and a blacksmith with his forge. 

 “We enjoyed the opportunity to visit and share stories about a more simple time,” shares Redig. “The committee extends many thanks to everyone who helped with the event and participated, and we look forward to next year’s event.” 

Averi Hales is the editor for the Wyoming Livestock Roundup. Send comments on this article to roundup@wylr.net.

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