Andrew Schilke and his dog Banks competing at the National Cattledog Association finals in Afton, Wyo. (Courtesy photo)
Jeff Mundorf, right, president of the National Cattledog Association, presents Andrew Schilke with a buckle after being named Rookie of the Year at the finals in Afton, Wyo. (Courtesy photo)
Local man trains, competes with his stock dogs on national circuit
Andrew Schilke grew up around cattle, and he has always used cow dogs, he said. But at age 10, that interest became something more.
He had attended the National Western Stock Show in Denver and watched how stock dogs work and compete. It was a defining moment in his life. It was then he made the decision to train dogs to herd cattle.
Schilke embarked on a path to learn more about training stock dogs. About two and a half years ago, he decided to get serious about training cattle dogs. He started working with his border collie, Johnny, at his grandfather’s feedlot.
In 2015, he entered Johnny into the Cattlemen’s Classic in Kearney and won fourth place in the first trial.
“After that I was hooked,” Schilke said.
He spent a year during 2016 as an apprentice for Tim Gifford in Harrisburg furthering his learning on how to train stock dogs. Gifford founded the National Cattle Dog Association seven years ago and continues to train stock dogs professionally.
The next competition for Schilke and Johnny, was in the Midwest Regional Finals at the Nebraska State Fair in 2016 where Johnny won an award in his division.
Then again, in this year’s Midwest Regional Finals at the state fair, Johnny and another of Schilke’s border collies named Banks qualified.
In June, Schilke won the National Cattle Dog Association finals in Afton, Wyo. He was honored by receiving the open class Rookie of the Year award and presented with a buckle. These awards were bittersweet as this would be Johnny’s last competition.
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