Sheepdog Finals Judging Nominees 2019

Last updated Feb 4, 2019


Bill Berhow

Nominated by Peggy Wilson

Bio Pending

Jennifer Clark-Ewers

Nominated by Bryan White

Jennifer Ewers has been a sought-after judge. Plenty of experience on her resume, she’s judged the National Finals in 2010, Kingston sheepdog trial, soldier Hollow, the Bluegrass, Zamora, Table Top and several other trials around the Country. She’s fair and impartial and gel she is fit for the job. Herding and working border collies have been a major part of my life for the past 20 years. During that time, I have gained respect throughout the US as a handler, judge and trainer. I have judged The Bluegrass Classic, The National Finals, Soldier Hollow, Kingston Trial, Zamora Hills, Tabletop trial and many other local smaller trials. My husband and I have a 52 acre training facility in Ranchita, Ca. where we run 100 head of rambouillet breeding ewes. I currently have 2 Open dogs trialing and a string of youngsters coming up. I keep 9 dogs in my kennel. Most of which have come off my personal breeding line of dogs. I am well qualified and look forward to judging the National Finals.

Katy Cropper

Nominated by Amanda Milliken

Katy Cropper has been a colourful fixture in the sheepdog trial scene for more than thirty years. During a short marriage to Jim Cropper, she came to Kingston better than 34 years ago. In 1990, she took on a place of her own, the first woman to win the coveted One Man and His dog Series with the BBC. In 1992 she was on the English team with Max and Trim. And won the challenging Deerplay Double Gather trial with her Dog Max.

Heartbreakingly, Max was killed on the road shortly after Deerplay and Katy took a hiatus from trialling for nearly ten years. Now she has over 50 open trials for the win. She was the English Brace Champion for 2012, and three times English Brace Reserve Champion. She was a team member in 2017 with Tsavo. And was the Nursery Aggregate with Faenor Bute for 2017-2018 season. She has been a regular with her home trained youngsters, reaching the English nursery final every year so far With Flash, Moorlodge Jim , Faenor Bute and this year Butch ,who she bred out of Bute. Throughout this sheepdog career, Katy has been a single mother to a charming sixteen year old daughter, Henrietta.

She set up her sheepdog training business 10 years ago and continues to train dogs for people. “My passion is bringing on young dogs. My ethos is the most important thing you have with a sheepdog is a tremendous bond . They are not machines . I retired Zac and Tsavo this year , they are not too old but I wanted them to retire gracefully. Butch and Abi will be my new partners this year , Abi is nearly 3 and Butch is 18 months old .”

Lori Cunningham

Nominated by Mary Minor

Lori Cunningham is an Attorney who recently retired after a 28 year career in federal law enforcement. The majority of her career specialized in areas related to the management of violent offenders in high security prisons. She currently lives on a small farm in Central Pennsylvania but is looking forward to an upcoming move to a bigger farm in Virginia, more time outdoors and better weather for year round dogwork.

Lori has been involved in working Border Collies for nearly 25 years. She raises and trains her own dogs, and particularly enjoys working with youngsters. She has successfully competed in many double lift trials including U.S. and Canadian Finals, Soldier Hollow, Bluegrass, Kingston and the Fall Foliage Northeast Championships. Lori has judged many large entry trials including Edgeworth, Sonoma Wine Country, Wisconsin Working Stockdog Association Labor Day Trial (double lift), Nevada State Championships, Butternut Creek, Old Chatham, and Big Bend Farm, among others. She believes that judging should be taken extremely seriously, and that each competitor deserves the same level of attention regardless of their name, reputation (good or bad!) or the pedigree of their dog.

Lori has previously served multiple terms as a USBCHA Director, and chaired the HA Disciplinary Committee during her terms. She co-chaired the 2013 USBCHA National Finals at Belle Grove. She is honored to be nominated to judge the 2019 Finals.

Andrew Dickman

Nominated by Nancy Penley

Andrew and his wife Frances have been married for almost 45 years , they live 25 miles south of Edinburgh in the beautiful Lauderdale Region of the Scottish Borders.

They have 2 children, seven grandchildren and a year old great granddaughter. Their son Craig has 4 children, aged 17 to 24, he is a Head Gamekeeper on a nearby estate owned by The Duke of Northumberland. Daughter Karen and husband Neil live on his family farm, 35 miles away, at the foot of the Cheviot Hills. They have 3 children (8-16) who all like to be involved with the running of their cattle and sheep operation.

Andrew has lived, all his life, within a radius of 5 miles from the farm where he was born. He was born into a family of shepherds. His late great uncle, Tom Watson, an Internationalist and renowned judge, encouraged Andrew from an early age. Andrew followed the tradition from the age of 15 until 20 years ago when he began procuring sheep and cattle for a local livestock auctioneering company. Andrew and Frances celebrated/commiserated him reaching retirement age in November 2018 by holidaying in Barbados. He has, from 1st January this year taken semi -retirement, continuing to work around 20 hours each week with his Company.

He and his dogs will continue to do two lambings from mid March to mid May. Before and after lambing time he will utilise the rest of the week training his dogs. To facilitate the training of his dogs, he keeps around 60 Suffolk-cross ewe lambs on a local farm, they will be sold on as gimmers and replacement lambs bought. Andrew loves training young dogs and has competed at the Scottish Nursery Finals many times. Some of his nursery dogs have been very successful in the USA for their new owners, Soldier Hollow Gold Medalist 2012- Jack Knox’s Jim being one. Andrew has represented Scotland at the International Sheepdog Trial on 4 occasions.

He has judged trials in Missouri and Kansas numerous times. He judged Meeker in 2012 and is judging there this year again. In 2016, before judging The American National Finals in Carbondale, he competed with his dog, Scott, at Soldier Hollow , this being one to tick off his bucket list. As well as judging trials in South Africa, Scotland (including the Scottish National) and North England, he was honoured to be one of the judges of the 2017 World Trial in Holland .

Andrew and his wife were both involved in the organising and running of the 2006 Centenary International, the 2011 and 2014 Scottish National and the 2012 Scottish Nursery Finals all held in the Scottish Borders. He is a past Director of the ISDS and is presently secretary of the Borders Nursery League.

Paddy Fanning

Nominated by Michelle Brothers

Paddy worked as sheep-farmer on the family farm where the family ran a flock of 2000 ewes. Paddy started training and trialling dog in 1997 but stopped again in 2000/01 as a result of Foot and Mouth disease breaking out in UK and restricting sheep movement and sheepdog trialling in Ireland for 2001. Paddy was qualified to run in the very first World Trial in 2002 but by such time he had stopped trialling dogs and changed careers away from farming altogether and so passed up the opportunity.

In 2015 Paddy decided to return to sheepdog training and trialling. While he has come back in more of a hobby capacity this time, and only running a small flock of 50 cheviot ewes and followers, he still grazes them for 7 months of the year on the open mountain along with helping his brother run his flock of 250 Blackie ewes, so this makes for tremendous working opportunity to train dogs out fully for trialling.

Paddy has run dogs in four Irish nationals, finishing 7th on one occasion and 3rd on another, qualifying him to run in the international both times for the Irish team. In 2018, Paddy and his dog Bruce also won the Irish Driving Championship. Paddy has not managed to qualify to run in the International Supreme Final yet but he assures me it won’t be long until he does! Paddy is eagerly awaiting another opportunity to run in his first World Trial. He says that he is primarily a trainer and enjoys very much watching for dogs’ potential and that, judging allows him the opportunity to study the working and the workmanship.

Paddy is currently a director of the ISDS and is on the ISDS List of Approved Judges. 
Paddy has judged European Continental Championship qualifiers in Poland and Denmark in 2017 and 2018. 
He has judged trials in the US in Oregon and Texas in 2018. The Texas State Finals included a double lift final. In 2018, Paddy also judged the North of Ireland Championship which was a double lift competition also. 
In 2019 Paddy is booked to judge the Zamora Trial in California and is on the shortlist pending approval as one of the judges for BlueGrass.

More information about Paddy Fanning can be found on his website – Churchmountsheepdogs.com

Michael Gallagher

Nominated by Carol Clawson

Michael Gallagher is an accomplished handler who, at 31 years of age, was the 2005 International Young Handler.He was the 2010 International Supreme Champion, 2013 and 2014 Canadian National Champion, 2013 and 2014. Kingston Double Lift Final Champion, 2014 USBCHA Final 4th place finisher, 2008, 2010 and 2011 North of Ireland. Double Lift Champion, 7-time Irish National Team Member and third at the 2011 World Sheepdog Finals. Michael has judged major international trials in the UK, Europe, and North America, including the Belgium National Finals, Kingston, the Bluegrass Classic, USBCHA Finals and the All Ireland Inter Provincial Double Lift Gather Final. He is a highly respected judge and handler.   Website 

Peter Gonnet

Nominated by Dennis Gellings

Peter was raised on a farm in Alberta, Canada where he grew up with border collies. Peter and his wife Pam recently retired from managing a large grazing reserve looking after 1350 cow calf pairs and have a flock of North Country Cheviots of their own. Peter got his first border collie 37 years ago to help him with his work. His dogs are used every day as well as for trialing. He has won the Canadian championship and has been reserve CBCA champion, Western Canadian driving and WCC nursery champion, nine times SSDA Open Champion; as well, he has judged throughout North America.

Viola Hebler

Nominated by Derek Fisher

Viola was born in Hamburg, Germany and spent her youth in a riding stable and went off to study veterinary medicine in Berlin. The first 10 years, she worked in horse practices, with cattle and a few small animals thrown in. Viola then, took a degree as a horse specialist, worked with the A-team for dressage and with the stallions at a breeding station, and discovered her love for performance veterinary medicine. In 1998 Viola opened her own practice, a pure horse practice. Due to her hobby and the ever growing circle of like-minded friends, she started to treat more and more working Border Collies, and nowadays she shares her time between sports dog medicine and chiropractic for dogs and horses.

Viola has been training and trialing Border Collies for over 25 years and has had many successes on the trials field and as a breeder. Her main trialing successes include: twice being the German national champion; twice reserve German national champion; six time Continental finalist with 5th the best placing; winner of one qualifier at World Trial; World trial semifinalist; 15 times on the German team for the Continental; 5 times on the German team for the World Trial. For a long time now, she has stuck to dogs that go back to two of her first dogs, both of them tough workers and successful at big trials. Viola breeds only if I want to keep something for herself. Up to now, there’s only been 4 litters, so a tiny operation, pretty much like the sheep side. She has a small flock of Wiltshire Horn and Easy Care sheep, but she still tries to breed decent sheep. Viola considers her main successes as breeder was in producing an Irish and two German National Champions. On a note of personal experience, I find Viola to have a great integrity with her decisions, a knowledge of the rules and to be studious in her thoughts. She respects dogs, sheep and handlers but is fair and decisive in her decision making regardless of who is running in front of her or alongside her.

Don Helsley

Nominated by Joni Tietjen and Norm Rivers

Don Helsley is one of North America’s most respect handlers and trainers, with over 30 years of competing, and actively judging over the last 20 years. He has judged numerous prestigious trials across the country, including the Canadian Finals, the USBHCA National Finals, Soldier Hollow, the Meeker Classic and the Bluegrass Classic (twice). He has also successfully competed in numerous trials and double lift Finals. Prior to raising and training Border Collies, Don trained and showed cutting horses. After 35 years with Idaho Power, Don now devotes all of his time to training, trialing, and teaching, including giving valuable judging clinics. Don is a quiet man, with a reputation for fairness and honesty. He has succeeded in the trialing world – not only as a competitor but also as a well-respected judge.

Russell McCord

Nominated by Angie Coker-Sells

I was raised on a quarter horse ranch one hour east of Dallas in Leonard, Texas, and grew up working and showing Cutting Horses. I later became a Cutting Horse Judge in 1985 and have been now for over 33 years. I was an NCHA Monitor/Instant Replay Supervisor for 27 years, and for the past 18 years have served as NCHA’s Director of Judges. My wife and I currently reside in Fort Worth, Texas and own a small ranch in south Texas.

Although I am currently employed by the National Cutting Horse Association, my passion has always been working Border Collies. I first developed my interest in Border Collies in 1980 while training and showing Cutting Horses. I used the Border Collies to help gather and turnback cattle, and discovered that I enjoyed working with them. I quickly realized and respected their intelligence and willingness to work.

My interest continued to accelerate and developed into owning and operating my own successful training and breeding facility – McCord Border Collies. This led to my first Sheepdog trial in 1988 in Fort Worth, Texas. However, in 2001, I was offered and accepted a full-time position with the National Cutting Horse Association (Fort Worth, Texas) as the Director of Judges. Due to the demanding schedule and travel requirements, my love for sheepdog trials and training was put on hold. Now, as my NCHA retirement date approaches in the summer of 2019, I am looking forward to returning full-time to my dogs and sheepdog trials. I am excited to see what the future holds.

With 33 years of “battled-tested” professional judging experience (both with cutting horses and sheepdogs), I believe the most important characteristics of a great judge are 1.) integrity, 2.) know and follow the rules and, 3.) show no favoritism. I believe a judge should judge each run for what they are worth – that day, at that time; NOT for what has been accomplished in the past. These are the standards that I have held NCHA judges to and I believe are the most important characteristics for any competition to be judged successfully. Each and every contestant should have the same opportunity to compete and win at any level. These qualifications have been tested and proven, as I have held myself and all the NCHA judges accountable for the past 27 years.

It would be my honor and privilege to be considered to judge the 2019 National Sheepdog Final and would be a wonderful way to “give back” to the sport I love. I assure you that if chosen, each handler would be given an equal opportunity to showcase their handling skills and their dog’s abilities.

Thank you for your consideration.

Alberto Stern

Nominated by Faansie Basson

2. Swiss National 2006

1. Dutch open International Sheepdog Trials 2007

6. Meeker Classic 2007

3. Swiss National 2007

7. Soldier Hollow Sheepdog Championship 2009

1. Dutch open International Sheepdog Trials 2012

Finalist Continental Sheepdog Championship 2012

Swiss National Champion 2012

3. Pre Continental European Shepherd Trial 2014

Semi-finalist WT 2014

Swiss National Champion 2015

Swiss Continental Team Member 2005-2008, 2011-2013, 2015-2018

Swiss World Trial Team Member 2008, 2011, 2014, 2017

Judged some local trials in Switzerland, and some trials in Italy, normal course and double fetch.