Peter Gorman and El Shamah Ellie:
Phew! My second trial as Stirling secretary/treasurer- it was fun, but it's a relief to have it over.
Bellview Obie (Bernie), Bill's half-brother:
I think the weekend went off alright. We had sheep (thanks to Wayne), and good food (thanks to Glenice and the kitchen crew), and I remembered to sign the prize cheques this year. Absolutely massive thanks to the Webbs, who are holding my hand through this scary organisational stuff, Tony and Wayne for their let out work, Nick, Marianne, Sue and Glen for being office staff, R for being chief babywrangler, and everyone else who lent a hand.
The weather was rather changeable on the Friday, but settled into pleasant warmth for the rest of the trial. It was nice to have dry ground instead of our usual August mud, and a novelty to see clouds of dust kick up as dogs skidded into stops and turns. There was the odd rogue sheep who really tested some of the dogs unfairly, but in general the mixed age ewes were good to work: fast, unforgiving and with long memories. It may have been something to do with the course, which was arranged differently this year, but penning was a persistent problem throughout the weekend, even with experienced teams who had their sheep walking quietly throughout.
Nick Webb's youngster, Morillo Doff, making her trial debut at the wettest part of the weekend:
Highlights of the trial included the success of some relatively new triallers. Neil Eastough and Scott Welke in particular, both with Grassvalley dogs, did well, and there was some impressive work from new triallers with the young offspring of Ken Atherton's Kiwi Knight: Phil Dorrell's Ramulam Patch, Pete Doherty's Ramulam Jen, Hayden Harries' Olboa Ben.
It was probably too early for most people to catch at dawn on Sunday, but I was also thrilled to see Mike Scott and Tig pen successfully in the Open. Now they've sorted out the crossing, the stopping, the winding pegs and the gate-slamming idiosyncracies of Australian trialling, I'm expecting to see some great runs from them in future.
Tony Boyle and the teeny weeny little Boylee Dot (our Bart's mum):
Ivan Solomon's young dog Danny was another one to watch. His first Open run was almost faultless, scoring 97, but in the Final he drew one temperamental sheep, who took a scenic tour of the ground, checking out most of the fencing, before Danny was able to work her back to her colleagues.
The Kojonup gang had another mixed weekend. R's young dogs had some nice runs, and some not so nice, but he was pretty happy with Fred, who was raring to go in his Open ran and made a good job of a fairly tricky packet of sheep, and just missed the final by a couple of points.
Boylee Fred at the pen:
I was disappointed with Pinky- she stuck on her cast on both occasions, initially because she had trouble seeing the sheep in the shade, and we got a cross as a result in the Improver. Queani actually worked well again, but I am really going to have to address her short heading on the anticlockwise side, because it cost us some major points.
Bill was a little weirdo in his first run. Usually Bill enjoys spectating for a few hours before he runs: he likes to check out the sheep and how they are working, and plan his attack. He has always been able to chill out and watch, and it seems to help his performance. But before his Improver run, he had his little black nose pressed against the fence and each siren sound sent him up in the air like a cattle prod up his rear end.
When he got out on the ground, he was revving, and he brought the sheep down at 100 miles and hour and kept them at that pace for most of our run. By the time we got to the race, Bill's sides were heaving and his tongue was slapping his cheeks, and when we reached the pen, I was mentally rehearsing canine CPR. I suppose I could have retired, but Bill is the sort of dog that learns from experience and I thought perhaps he would identify a take-home message on his own.
The little weirdo, mulling over the take home message. Or not...:
For our Open run, I treated him like Queani, not getting him out until just before his run, and he was much more sensible. Take home message, a less exciting build-up, or sheer exhaustion? Either way, we managed to pen with a score that scraped us into the final. It wasn't our best work, but he tried hard. We had one big ewe who didn't want to play and challenged him all the way to the race, where she decided to make a charge for the fence. Bill blocked and blocked and may even have got a little up close and personal with her nose, but it turned the tables and she walked quietly from there.
Our finals run was a bit of a mess, as usual. We ran last, as daylight faded into dusk, and it was great to hear the cheers and shouts of encouragement from the crowd as we headed towards the pen. I suspect they were most enthusiastic about the imminent prospect of finally packing up and going home, but Bill thinks he has a fanclub and I'm not going to shatter his illusions. He was so pleased with himself that he celebrated by cocking his leg on a fencepost on the way out- the fencepost with the judge's belongings collected below. I'm so sorry, Ken.
Nan Lloyd's youngster, Badgingarra Angel (I think- it could be Rio- correct me if I'm wrong, Nan):
judge: Bernie Jones
1) Gordon Curtis Binnaburra Jess (kelpie) 91
2) Andrew Gorton Boylee Ella 90
3) Neil Eastough Grassvalley Jack 83
4) Ivan Solomon Perangery Beck 74
Mike Scott's pup, Torbay Badger (FredxTig), 12 months old:
judge: Yvonne Haynes
1) Bernie Jones Glenview Ruth 79
2) Gordon Curtis Binnaburra Maggie (kelpie) 75
3) Ivan Solomon Perangery Sasha 74
= 4) Nick Webb Morillo Toby 73
= 4) Ray Sutherland Swagman Cyndy 73
Andrew Gorton and Grassvalley Tippy (Esme's dad):
judge: Eric Atherton
1) Ivan Solomon Perangery Jill 94 + 77 = 171
2) Neil Kristiansen Badgingarra Casey 89 + 80 = 169
3) Scott Welke Grassvalley Becky (kelpie x collie) 86 + 75 = 161
4) Andrew Gorton Boylee Ella 77 + 72 = 149
5) Ivan Solomon Perangery Danny 97 + 38 = 135
6) Neil Kristiansen Badgingarra Toppie 81 + 52 = 133
7) Peter Gorman Princes Ash 87 + 41 = 128
8) Marianne Rogers Bellview Obie (Bernie) 79 + 46 = 125
9) Sam Weaver Boylee Bill 76 + 47 = 123
10) Ray Sutherland Christies Tammy 82 + 37 = 119
11) Peter Gorman Princes Casper 82 + 31 = 113
12) Jean Hydleman Belmor George 80 + X = 80
Neil Kristiansen penning with Badgingarra Casey:
Pendalup Candy (littermate to R's Tess):
I think this is Karyn Buller with Badgingarra Barney, another young dog:
One of my all-time favourite canine characters, Boylee Ted:
Ted's serious side, working with Doreen Hansen:
Torbay Tig, waiting, waiting, waiting, for someone to set some sheep out:
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