Claypool and Glen ready to howl at World Stock Dog Championship

Dave Claypool had seen this movie before. And, frankly, it was doggone excruciating.
Claypool, of Cranbrook, B.C., and his prized border collie Glen had just finished a full-point run, stopping the clock in two minutes and one second – and taking over the lead midway through the 15-team final at the 2010 Calgary Stampede’s World Stock Dog Championship.
“I thought that was a beatable time. Until the last dog went, I sure hadn’t spent any of the (prize) money, that’s for sure,” recalls Claypool with a chuckle. “Because the year we were reserve champion at Calgary (2006), Glen and I were the first team out, and led all the way until the last dog, and then darned if Dale Montgomery (of Maple Creek, Sask., with canine companion Tex) didn’t go out and win it all.
“That was a lot of pressure. When Dale goes out there, you know it’s not over until he’s through.”
This time, though, the stock dog deities were on Claypool’s side. That 2:01 he turned in with Glen last July proved enough to edge out Wendy Schmaltz of Beiseker, Alta., and Gin, who turned in a time of 2:06, and capture the $10,000 winner’s cheque as Stampede champs.
Claypool and Glen are ready to defend their title as the Stampede’s 15th annual World Stock Dog Championship presented by Smithbilt Hats – North America’s richest indoor stock dog trial – takes centre stage at the Scotiabank Saddledome on Sunday, July 10 and Monday, July 11. The canine caper will begin at 8 a.m. Sunday with 66 teams from across North America vying for the Stampede title, and one duo being fitted for the crown following Monday’s 7 p.m. final.
During each of the 8 a.m. preliminary rounds on Sunday and Monday, and the 15-team final on Monday evening, dogs will have four minutes to guide three sheep around a demanding obstacle course of barrels, through a chute, and into the pen.
“There’s no assistance from the handler until they get to the pen. The dogs need to be strong and powerful with their eyes, without being overbearing, and subtle with the pressure they exert on the sheep,” says Greg Alexander, who chairs the Stampede’s Sheep committee.
“This event now brings in the top professional handlers in North America, year after year, so the caliber of competition is phenomenal,” adds Alexander. “And the wild card in the whole deal, as always, is the pen of sheep that each team draws. You have no idea what you’re going to get, and an obstinate sheep could spell big trouble.”
Claypool, who works in a coal mine in nearby Sparwood, B.C., has trained about half a dozen stock dogs since he started trialing as a hobby eight years ago, but has truly been simpatico with Glen since he bought the dog as a pup from a Drumheller, Alta., breeder in 2003.
“I’ve enjoyed them all, but none of them have ever fit me as well as he has. Glen is definitely a special dog,” says Claypool. “Other people see it too. Anywhere we went showing him, all I’ve ever heard was: ‘Hey, is he for sale? What do you want for him?’ He’s one that everybody wanted.
“Working other dogs, that’s when you realize what a special partner you’ve got. He’s set the bar pretty high.”
Montgomery has had his name etched on the Stampede winner’s trophy a record five times, earning victory with Gyp in 1999, 2000, and 2003, and then with Tex in 2006 and 2008. Scott Glen of New Dayton, Alta., who won the first two editions of the Stampede competition in 1997 and 1998 – first with Nap, then with Dan – is the only other repeat winner of the World Stock Dog Championship.
Jimmy Walker of Hillsboro, Texas, was the last American to claim the Stampede title, entering the winner’s circle with Ben in 2005.
The Stampede’s World Stock Dog Championship is sanctioned by the United States Border Collie Handlers Association and the Alberta Stock Dog Association.
The Stampede will be webcasting all events being held in the Saddledome and the Big Top this year. Visit for live streaming of Saddledome action, and for events under the Big Top.