Cow dog chal­lenge

De­but cow dog event a suc­cess

Central and North Rural Weekly - - NEWS - AN­DREA DAVY An­drea.davy@ru­ral­weekly.com.au

IT IS hoped it will be­come the Magic Mil­lions of the dog world.

And if the first Aus­tralian Cow Dog Chal­lenge was any­thing to go by, the event is well on its way to mak­ing that be­come a re­al­ity.

Tam­worth’s Aus­tralian Equine and Live­stock Events Cen­tre was trans­formed into a work­ing-dog ex­trav­a­ganza at the week­end.

The three-day event in­cluded a dog trial, where there was a whop­ping prize pool of $18,000, and an auc­tion of 110 work­ing dogs that grossed $349,050.

The top priced fe­male sold for $11,000.

The Aus­tralian Cow Dog Chal­lenge was the brain­child of three work­ing dog en­thu­si­asts, which in­clude an avid dog tri­aller, a vet and a mar­ket­ing ex­pert.

Ma­ree Bal­main (the mar­ket­ing guru) said with the in­creased de­mand for work­ing dogs on the land, they felt the in­dus­try needed a so­phis­ti­cated event that show­cased the best dogs and of­fered top-class ge­net­ics for sale.

“The con­cept isn’t new,” she said.

“It’s ba­si­cally the Magic Mil­lions or Land­mark Clas­sic con­cept.

“It’s sell­ing a pup that’s started their train­ing then al­low­ing them to come back for a re­stricted con­test and have a chop at an event that is only for the dogs pur­chased at the pre­vi­ous year.

“We have seen how well this con­cept has worked for the horse in­dus­try – it brought much-needed sta­bil­ity to the price of a well-trained and well-bred horse.

“So that’s ba­si­cally what we are try­ing to ap­ply to the dogs.”

There were 160 dogs nom­i­nated for the trial, and the win­ner of the open com­pe­ti­tion, Robert John­ston, re­ceived $10,000.

The sub­stan­tial prize purse was of­fered in a bid to at­tract the best com­peti­tors.

“We knew the big­ger money would make it worth­while for peo­ple to come from afar,” Ms Bal­main said.

“What we were try­ing to do was get peo­ple here so they could have a taste of the

event, see what we are about, and hope­fully with this sale we can keep build­ing on it.”

Peo­ple trav­elled from as far north as Win­ton in Queens­land, to Vic­to­ria in the south.

Ms Bal­main be­lieved the use of work­ing dogs within the cat­tle in­dus­try was on the rise.

“There are stud­ies that have found the av­er­age work­ing cat­tle dog is val­ued at about $40,000,” she said.

“Given that they are sav­ing you about $40,000 worth of work, and staffing is hard to find, peo­ple are see­ing the value in good work­ing stock dogs.”

PHO­TOS: HICKORWEE EQUINE PHO­TOG­RA­PHY

CHAM­PION EF­FORT: Robert John­ston with his win­ning cheque, with Aus­tralian Work­ing Cow Dog or­gan­is­ers Ian Cox, Tim McVey and Ma­ree Bal­main.

The Aus­tralian Work­ing Cow Dog Chal­lenge was a huge suc­cess.

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