The Old Sheepherders' Gathering

Authentic, entertaining, inter-generational: there’s nothing like the Old Sheepherders’ Gathering at the Border Inn on the Utah-Nevada state line! Great Basin Heritage Area Partnership co-founder Denys Koyle first hosted the event in 2003 to say “thank you” to the herders who kept her business afloat in the slow winter months. After dinner that first year, attendees began talking about their days on the desert and the tradition of the annual story-telling event was born. Recent gatherings have expanded to include professors, students, photographers, and film-makers interested in the history and culture of raising sheep in the Great Basin Desert.

Every January, sheepherders and their families from across western Utah and eastern Nevada converge at the state line for a weekend of comradery. But the event is more than mere reminiscing: the Gathering is a venue for passing on history to younger generations and sharing a bit of sheep industry culture with the non-initiated. Friday’s buffet dinner is for sheep folk, but the open-mic program Friday night and all of Saturday's events (the musical entertainment, Basque family-style dinner, and the Sheepherders’ Ball) are open to the public. 

General Schedule of Events (Weekend of January following MLK Day):

Friday Evening
Sheep Industry Appreciation Dinner followed by Open Mic Night: Sheep Stories, Poetry, and Music

Saturday
Sourdough Pancake Breakfast
Local Area Activities (Crystal Ball Cave, Lehman Caves, etc.)
Film Screening or Research Presentation 
Musical Guest (eg. Mary Kaye Knaphus; Sourdough Slim)
Family Style Basque Dinner (reservations required)
Sheepherders Ball with Live Music

If you have stories related to sheep herding, ranching, shearing or anything else that you would like to share, please let us know! Send an email to info@greatbasinheritage.org or call 775-234-7171.