DENVER – Livestock and horses will be joined by working dogs over the last few days of the National Western Stock Show.
A genuine cowboy ranching operation near Limon raises the Stock Show's mutton bustin' sheep, along with some of its hardest working dogs.
Mark Henderson runs the ranch with his family and a 6-year-old border collie named Gus.
“All he wants to do is please me,” Henderson said. “And if it pleases me, it pleases him.”
Gus has become the main working dog on Henderson’s ranch, rounding up cattle and sheep with enthusiasm.
“The God given instinct on the border collies is a strong fetching – bring everything to us – gathering dogs,” Henderson said. “They kind of naturally want to be obedient. They’re kind of born that way.”
Henderson plans to compete with Gus at the Stock Show.
He is the superintendent for the Stock Show’s sheepdog trials.
“Has to be a lot of finesse and obedience in the dog for that competition,” Henderson said. “They can be a little headstrong in their work, but the obedience thing is usually pretty easy.”
Henderson thinks Gus will do well.
“I’m banking he’s going to win it,” Henderson said. “If I was a bettin’ man, I’d put all my money on him.”
Henderson also occasionally travels to Denver for Broncos games.
It was his sheep that took the field during the Broncos-Chiefs game on New Year’s Eve.
Even though Denver ended the season with another lost, the halftime mutton bustin' was a hit with fans.