Erik Groot delighted with successful EC sheep herding: “Put sport on the map”

Eric Groot of Spanbroek looked back on last week and the weekend was more than satisfied. In Hoogwoud he organized the European International, a five-day European sheep herding championship. During the event, he was declared an honorary citizen of the municipality of Opmeer by the seven mayors of West Friesland.

After three years, the organizers are finally back in the big competition – Tom de Vos

Over the past few days, participants and visitors from sixteen different European countries traveled to Hoogwoud to European International, European Championship for sheep herders. Dozens of participants took part in the competition which was finally won by Susanne Lejuez from the Netherlands.

“We started on Wednesday with the first preliminary round,” explained organizer Erik Groot. “Then we had to get used to each other as a team. And it was quite exciting, but after that first day, the releases also followed soon.”

Erik himself did it for the first time since five years competing with the Kev border collie. However, the place on the last weekend didn’t suit him. “The dog made a lot of mistakes at first, so I decided to drop out of the competition myself,” he said. “That’s not good enough. No excuses.”

Final worthy course

On the first day, as well as on Thursday and Friday, the place of the fifteen best handlers (sheep driver, ed.) for the last weekend. On Saturday, the top fifteen qualify for the final on Sunday.

“There is a real family atmosphere on site during the European International”

Erik Groot, European international organizer

“Over the weekend you feel a completely different tension. It’s a hit or miss for all the participants,” said Groot. “I have set a path for a final that is worthy of a final, which is very difficult.” For a moment it seemed like the course was made too difficult, as the first three finalists were unable to complete the course.

“Then we pressed it a little bit, but three laps before the break, someone ran perfectly,” said Erik. “The audience was enthusiastic about it too and we looked at each other as an organization with the view: ‘Do you see that it has to work?’.”

Put it on the map

Under the watchful eye of thousands of visitors, Dutch charmer Susanne Lejuez won the European International Championship. Next to him on the podium was space for number two Germany and number three France. The championship can also be seen off the pitch. It live broadcast was seen by more than 3,500 unique visitors from all over Europe during the event.

“Very close in terms of participants. And there’s a fantastic atmosphere around the course,” said Erik. “There’s a real family atmosphere on site. Everyone can get a drink and a drink. And the visitors often spend hours on the terrace with us. I’m sure if we handled it bigger we would have won the World Cup.” 2017 mood again.”

“As an organization, I don’t think we missed anything”, continued Erik Groot. “We really put the sport on the map. We also love showing sheep herding during demonstrations to people who don’t know what’s going on in the countryside. It’s us making everyone realize that the agricultural sector is also a sport.”

Opmeer honorary citizen

All of this also takes place under the supervision of the seven mayors of West Frisia, which comes as a big surprise to Erik. As they stood in the participants’ square during the break to talk, Groot was summoned to them and told that he had been declared an honorary citizen of the Opmeer municipality.

“In 2015, I told the mayor at the time that if they wanted to attract more tourists to the region, they had to cooperate more,” Groot said. “They did, and during the previous event, all seven of them became ambassadors. They said that people in America, Brazil, China and Japan, among others, now know where Opmeer is. And it’s all because of dogs and black sheep. little white.”

new commission?

He doesn’t yet know if Groot will host a new European Championship in the future. A World Cup in West Friesland, as he hosted in 2017, is impossible. “Last time I was told it was impossible,” said Erik. “In England, they think it’s so important that they never want to let it go and manage it themselves.”

But the new European International in Hoogwoud cannot be ruled out. “I’m not going to say that I’ll never organize anything again, but if I did it would be bigger than the last edition”, he concluded.

Check out the report NH Nieuws made about the event last week:

Erik Groot owns the spoon and organizes the first European Championship sheep farm in Hoogwoud – NH Nieuws

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Juliet Palmer

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