Big dog tri­als com­ing to Clutha

Clutha Leader - - YOUR PAPER, YOUR PLACE - MARY-JO TO­HILL

The Warepa Col­lie Club is gear­ing up to host the South Is­land Sheep Dog Trial Cham­pi­onships on a newly re­de­vel­oped course near Clin­ton in South Otago, in May.

This will be the first time in the Warepa club’s 90 year his­tory that it has hosted the pres­ti­gious event, which is ex­pected to at­tract about 200 com­peti­tors and at least 400 dogs, from all through­out New Zealand, in the week-long cham­pi­onship, to be held from May 1-6.

The event will be held at the club’s home ground on Hill­foot Rd venue in the Kai­hiku ranges, about 12km from Clin­ton and 20km from Bal­clutha.

A work­ing bee will be held on Fe­bru­ary 8, as a last push to get all the course el­e­ments fin­ished and in­fra­struc­ture fi­nalised.

‘‘We’re pretty much on top of things,’’ club pres­i­dent Tony Miller said.

‘‘There’s been a lot of work done in the last year, and now we’re fin­ish­ing the park­ing area, and map­ping out where to put the mar­quee.’’

The club was for­tu­nate to have strong sup­port and spon­sor­ship for build­ing ma­te­ri­als and fences, he said.

The Otago dog trial cen­tre had as­sisted with build­ing the four judge’s boxes for the two hunt­away cour­ses, and the short head and yard course, which have been es­tab­lished on the Lawler fam­ily farm, along with the long pull course, on the ad­join­ing Cross broth­ers’ prop­erty.

The club’s thriv­ing mem­ber­ship made it pos­si­ble to host such a large event, which would be run by the Otago dog trial cen­tre, Warepa mem­ber and com­peti­tor Jan Ta­iarua said.

‘‘They’re not all tri­al­ists but a big por­tion do take part in com­pe­ti­tion,’’ she said.

The dog trial sea­son, where com­peti­tors and their dogs seek qual­i­fi­ca­tion for the South Is­land champs, are get­ting un­der way this week at Low­burn, near Cromwell in Cen­tral Otago, on Fri­day and Satur­day.

The aim this year was to cre­ate a pub­lic-friendly cham­pi­onships for spectators, to en­joy the com­pe­ti­tion and the hos­pi­tal­ity tent, hunt­away course con­venor and club mem­ber Trevor Wil­son said.

The club had put to­gether a very chal­leng­ing course that would test com­peti­tors’ met­tle on the steep and rugged ter­rain, and would de­mand ev­ery ounce of the dog and hu­man part­ner­ship.

‘‘They don’t get up there there by ac­ci­dent.’’

Warepa Col­lie Club mem­bers Jan Ta­iarua and Trevor Wil­son on the South Is­land Sheep Dog Trial Cham­pi­onships course.

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