The Great Plains Bearded Collie Club held its first meeting on September 4, 1986 and was incorporated February 16, 1988. We began as a body of Beardie owners and lovers who wanted to share experiences and assist others with their dogs. It didn't take long for the group to discover how much fun they and their dogs had doing what the breed does naturally - herding.
The Club sponsored it's first Instinct Tests on October 25 & 26, 1986 at Ann & Harry Witte's Gaelyn Glen Farm southwest of Papillion, Nebraska. Little did the members know then what grand adventures lay ahead. The Club's first AKC Licensed Herding Tests and Trials were held on March 23 & 24, 1990. The Club offers a weekend All-Breed Herding Trial each year in October. In addition, we host our "Beardie Clan Ceilidh" annually; three days of AKC Tests and Trials; events which we started in 1998.
These herding events have been extremely beneficial to the Bearded Collie breed; they have shown the natural instinct and talent our modern Beardies have doing what they were originally bred to do.
The Club has come a long way since our first herding events. At our Silver (25th) Anniversary Trial in March of 1996, a Beardie bred by one of our members was High In Trial. Members of the Club, and their dogs, have earned the most herding titles within the breed nation wide, including 3 AKC Herding Champions, 2 ASCA WTCHs, and many HX titles. To date, our Club has hosted more AKC Licensed herding events than any other Club in the United States.
In addition, Carol Sirrine & Brian Wistrom's Ch. "Lauren" HIAs and Ch. "Linus" HSAsM have won High In Trial at BCCA's National Specialty Herding Trials; and Harry & Ann Witte's Ch. HC "Robin" was Reserve High In Trial at a BCCA National. Carol Sirrine and Brian Wistrom's Ch.. "Leo" HXAs HIBs won Reserve High in Trial and 2 championship points at the 2014 BCCA National. Plus, their dog Ch. "Linus" HSAsM is the one of the first bearded collies to win the AKC Masters title in herding. At the 2013 National Specialty, he won HIT on sheep. Based on his performance he also was the recipient of the Chip (Thrills) Herding Award and the Boone Award. Leo was top herding dog in Advanced for 2014 on sheep for A course.
In the interest of assisting novices in training their Beardies for herding competition, the GPBCC produced two professional videos: "Getting To Know Ewe II" (1997) and "Dancing Sheep To Sheep; Ewesful Tips For Herding" (2002). We have brought our years of experience training Beardies (and our sense of humor) to the production of these videos. We have also been able to make donations to Beardie Rescue from time to time. Most recently a donation was made October 2014.
In 2005, we hosted the BCCA National Specialty Events in Omaha, to the delight of all who attended. We had a special dinner honoring the Pioneers of the breed and held 3 full days of herding.
Carol Sirrine lead the GPBCC to host the 2017 National Specialty at Purina Farms.
In August 2016, Ch Fairhill A Knights Artisan HXAs, HIBs "Leo" was part of a demonstration of sheep herding at the Minnesota State Fair. The Sheepherding Trials (Warner Coliseum) were held in August 2016 and 2017. It is nice to have our breed participate in showcasing their ability to work stock.
Our members are involved in a variety of activities with their Beardies, including Agility, Pet Therapy, Conformation, Obedience and Barn Hunt.
Several of our members are licensed judges for AKC events. Ann Witte, Brian Wistrom and Joel Levinson are licensed AKC herding judges. Mary Murphy-East is an AKC conformation judge licensed for all breeds as well as Best in Show.
Our foremost intention is the preservation of true herding ability in purebred, AKC registered Beardies which fit the Breed Standard; our success is proven in the numbers; over half of the Beardies which have AKC Trial titles are also show Champions.