“Heat, heat, heat and more heat.”

Calgary Stampede Sheep Committee Chairman Tony Legault’s description of the 2017 World Stock Dog Championships as the competition heated up this past weekend.

Along with the level of competition rising, so was the temperature outside the Agrium Western Events Centre on the Stampede grounds as temperatures soared into mid-thirties, which meant officials had to keep their eyes on the health of the sheep during the recent heat wave.

Stampede veterinarians and Legault kept in close contact during the event to make sure the animals were in good health at all times.

Legault says the arena has been humid.

“Would you want to run a marathon when it is 40 degrees Celsius or 35 out?  They’re no different, they’re athletes both the dogs and the sheep and you are asking them to do a really large event over a course of four minutes, they’re pretty much running the whole time.”

“We have had to water the arena down so that it is cool enough, so that the competitors don’t slide around in mud, but can still be cool.”

Legault says the sheep kept competitors on their toes in many cases making penning them hard on both them and their dogs.

“Competitors have had to work for their winnings this year.”

The heat definitely didn’t scare the spectators away as the AWEC was once again packed.

“Every time we’ve run this competition since this building opened, we have filled the seats.”