Come By, Away to Me…

Flanked by Mounties in red serge, organizers and Stampede Royalty is Norm Sommer and his Grand Champion dog, Mark.

When it comes to intelligence and agility, the border collie has it all. Bred for brains and “power” — the sheer strength of their presence and never for a typical “look” (thanks to the heroic and successful efforts to keep the breed out of the Kennel Club), the border collie has been the right hand man of good stockmen for centuries with simple commands such as “come by” (circle to the left) or “away to me” (circle to the right).

Every year the competition is intense, and emerging from the field as the 2017 grand champion was Norm Sommer of Pleasantville, Sask., and his dog, Mark, who beat the field of top-notch competitors by an astounding 23 seconds.

Sommer, a veteran competitor himself, was awarded a bronze, a plaque, a custom-made shepherd’s crook and a cheque for $10,000.