Every successful trial whether small or large begins with one person who has a dream and wants to make it happen. That person is Mark Peterson. Even though the Event went to Soldier Hollow / UOLF and now Carol and Judy, Mark will still work to communicate with competitors coming to the event and insure the high standard of competition created over the past 19 years continues. He will also be at the event as is possible each year, so don’t be surprised to see his ready smile!
Soldier Hollow Classic Announcer
Matthew Heimburger started announcing events at Soldier Hollow when his first-grade sons put on cross country skis to compete in the Soldier Hollow Charter School Winter Olympics in 2003. While they grew up and moved on to surfing and rock-climbing during weekends at college, he stayed at Soldier Hollow and has been part of many wonderful athletic events, from skiing to biathlon to trail running, as the venue’s official announcer. In 2019, he took over hosting duties for the Soldier Hollow Sheepdog Classic from the great Ray Crabtree and has come to love these canine athletes (and their handlers!) just as much. With a background in journalism, academia, and stand-up comedy, Matthew weaves facts, philosophy, and wry humor into his broadcasts, making sure audiences have as much fun as those competing. He lives here in Midway, with his wife Anna, daughter Lucy, and non-herding dog Bailey. Email Matthew
Soldier Hollow Classic Owners & Managers
Judy Klautt (Festival Manager) and Carol Clawson (Competition Manager) are no strangers to Soldier Hollow. Judy has been with the event in some capacity almost since its inception and was the Event Coordinator at Soldier Hollow for the six years preceding 2021. Carol, too, has volunteered at the event since the first year, with an increasing role as the Trial Coordinator the last few years.
In 2002, Soldier Hollow hosted the world’s top Nordic skiers and biathletes in the Winter Olympic Games. The facilities that hosted the world in 2002 still serve the area today. Sound system, time clock, scoreboard and extensive infrastructure allow Soldier Hollow to host the event’s sheepdog trial like no other. The Olympic hillside boasts unsurpassed sight lines, and uneven hillside terrain to test the best of dogs. Trees, shrubs and even a pioneer cabin beckon to wary sheep who see potential refuge in every obstacle. There are no fences at Soldier Hollow and sheep have been known to escape into the dense foliage above the trial field. In it’s first year, Bobby Henderson called Soldier Hollow one of the finest sites for a sheepdog trial in the world.
The Soldier Hollow International Sheepdog Championship & Festival was the inspiration of Mr. Mark Peterson of Park City, Utah. The first Soldier Hollow trial was held in 2003 and boasted approximately 5,000 spectators with competitors from around the world. Those humble beginnings have developed to what is now an event that is one of the foremost annual events of its kind in the world, having drawn competitors from 19 countries and over 13,000 spectators annually. Along with the Sheepdog National Finals and other major trials, it has gained international recognition for its quality and rigor and draws more spectators than any sheepdog trial in the world.
For the handler and spectator, the hillside at this 2002 Olympic venue provides an amazing view of the sheep and dogs as they travel through the course. When not watching the sheepdog competition, there are a host of children’s activities, food and merchandise vendors to keep you busy. There are a variety of demonstrations, including a herding demonstration in a small area where you learn how these dogs are trained. There will also be duck herding and dog agility demos so you can see what else these amazing dogs are capable of.