Nation’s best to compete in sheep and yard dog trials
COMPETITION is expected to be intense at Henty this year as the nation’s best sheep dogs - and their handlers - gather for the Exelpet Sheep and Yard Dog Trials.
Run under the auspices of the NSW Sheepdog Workers Incorporated, the sheep field trial is set to attract more than 100 dogs and their workers from around Australia.
The Exelpet Murray Valley Yard Dog Championships, run by the NSWYard Dog Association, is tipped to also attract more than 100 dogs.
Championships co-ordinator, Peter Darmody, said the event was one of the most prestigious on the calendar, and would draw the cream of the nation’s best dogs competing for more than $5000 in prize money.
The maiden trial will be held on Tuesday, September 19, followed by the novice and open classes on Wednesday and Thursday.
The finals are due to get under way from 1pm on Thursday, September 21, with the winner receiving automatic entry to the 2017 NSW Yard Dog Championships.
Dogs will be fresh from last month’s South West Yard Dog Championships at West Wyalong, and the Rabobank Classic Darling River Championships at Wentworth.
Bill Luff of Gundagai, Kevin Howell of Eugowra, Fred Raines of Coolac, and Neil Taylor of Holbrook, and new Australian champion Shane Maurer of Young, are expected to be among the top line competitors.
The event is designed to demonstrate everyday skills a working dog would use on a farm.
Each entrant has 12 minutes to gather a mob of about 18 sheep, herd them through a draft, and then on and off a truck.
Starting on a score of 100, points are deducted for livestock and mishandling breakaway sheep and ineffective work.
Up to 450 sheep will be needed for the Exelpet Sheep Dog field trial heats and finals over the three days.
The event is limited to an open trial, with no encourager or novice classes, and handlers can enter their four best dogs.
The 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015 sheep dog trial winner, Laurie Slater, of Murrumbateman, will return to compete this year.
Central NSW dog trialler Paul Elliott (pictured) broke the four-year winning streak of Mr Slater at last year’s event.
2016 WINNER: Central NSW dog trialler Paul Elliott won the Exelpet/Pedigree Sheep Dog Trial at the 2016 Henty Machinery Field Days.