The team

Continental sheepdog championship 2021 to be held in the Netherlands!

It is in the middle of summer 2020, when Erik Groot from the Netherlands receives a phone call from COWS (Dutch Border Collie Club The Netherlands), informing whether he might consider organizing the Continental Sheepdog Championships of 2021. It’s warm outside, the sheep are peacefully wandering around and the dogs are dozing in the shade. The question strikes Erik with a flash of enthusiasm. The question brings him back to three years ago, when he and his team organized the World Trials in the Dutch municipality of Hoogwoud. Thirty thousand visitors attended the event, which for the first time ever, took place outside of the United Kingdom. Handlers from all over the world competed for days to earn the title of world’s best sheepdog handler. Dozens of nationalities united together in one passion: the wonderful sport of sheepdog herding.

And now, a few summers and a great deal of deliberation later, it’s official: the CSC 2021 will take place in the Netherlands! And the organization has started their preparations for a new event of international allure. The COWS has confidently entrusted the full organization of the event to the team that has also been responsible for organizing the World Trials. And the team, they are excited and motivated to organize a fantastically thrilling competition in August of 2021.

Sport

The magic of sheepdog herding is something that is heartfelt and known by the entire team. Like for Thijs, who bought his first border collies twenty-five years ago. “After a day of work, there was nothing more relaxing than training my dogs”. For Bianca as well, the sport is one of the biggest treasures in her life: “finding solutions, being in the fresh air, training together with other handlers, that’s what makes this sport so beautiful to me”. Albert adds: “I admire the fact that a handler can have his eyes both of the dog and the sheep”. Marko also emphasizes the beauty of the collaboration between humans and animals. “The best thing, I think, is seeing a young dog grow up and train it”, Chris beams.
Albert Scheper • Bianca Langras • Chris van Noye • Erik Groot • Ingrid Scheper- van Wijk • Marko Koens • Ouisal Belghitti • Ronnie van Huet • Thijs Gottmer

Team

It’s their extensive experience that caters for a strong foundation. The team members come from all over the Netherlands: during their meetings it’s a cozy hodgepodge of dialects from all quarters of the (Dutch) compass. The team is excited. “It is an honor to be part of this again”, Ouisal states. The team has a diverse experience: as handlers, competition organizers, course directors and jury members. They can very much empathize with the competing handlers “you hope that everything you’ve taught your dog will come together when it truly matters”, Erik says. He knows that feeling you get when you have earned your starting ticket. “It’s such a great feeling when you can enter the European Championship grounds and all the ingredients of the competition are just right”.

Exciting times

It is, however, a weird time to organize an event. “As organizing party, we will do everything that is in our power to make everyone happy. Needless to say, we will take any COVID-19 related measures into account that are needed. We don’t know whether an audience is allowed by August 2021, but whatever happens, there will be a live stream that allows people from everywhere to view the trials from their screen. All updates can be followed on our social media pages”, Erik says.

Independently of what the future holds, the goal is to organize an amazing event. An event that all handlers and (online) visitors will look back on with fond memories. Inge: “I am so much looking forward to all those fantastic runs from all these top handlers!”, “and afterwards, a happy toast to the new champion”, Ronnie adds.

Hoogwoud and its surroundings are already starting to prepare for the CSC2021. The landowners have reassured their confidence in the organization and the mayor and aldermen are also happy to welcome handlers from all over Europe. The COWS and board are in with the plans and the team is currently joining forces with various sponsors, including main sponsor CSJ.
The first steps in organizing an unforgettable international event have been happily taken. Throughout the year, all latest updates can be found on the CSC2021 social media pages. The team is always available for questions or collaborations.
By: Sophie Team EK Schapendrijven
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