Come on...show us the sheep!

Clutha Leader - - FRONT PAGE - MARY-JO TOHILL

‘‘We have a num­ber of top lo­cal com­peti­tors run­ning dogs, along with 14 Team Warepa dogs in­volved who have qual­i­fied.’’

The count­down is on for the South Is­land Sheep Dog Trial Cham­pi­onships, which start on Mon­day and run all next week.

Hosted by Warepa Col­lie Club and run by the Otago Sheep Dog Trial Cen­tre, close to 370 dogs are ex­pected at the six-day event, at the club’s Hill­foot Road course be­tween Warepa and Clin­ton. And ev­ery­thing’s right sched­ule, with the big mar­quee go­ing up yes­ter­day, club mem­ber and co­or­di­na­tor Jan Tairua said.

‘‘Ev­ery­thing else, in­clud­ing of­fices and the kitchen, will go in from Thurs­day on.’’

She said the 202 com­peti­tors and judges would be­gin to ar­rive on Sun­day for a look around.

The Long Head and Short Head and Yard start at 8am Mon­day morn­ing, with the Zigzag Hunt and Straight Hunt start­ing at 9am. Each event has more than 180 runs to get through.

Com­pe­ti­tion will con­tinue through to about Thurs­day af­ter­noon, to start get­ting into fi­nals, which will con­sist of the top seven dogs placed in each event.

‘‘We have a num­ber of top lo­cal com­peti­tors run­ning dogs, along with 14 Team Warepa dogs in­volved who have qual­i­fied.’’

Com­peti­tors will be com­ing from as far away as North­land, with a num­ber of past New Zealand cham­pi­ons com­pet­ing in the event as well.

‘‘We en­cour­age the com­mu­nity to come and watch top tri­al­ists, shep­herds and dogs run through- out the week.’’

Clin­ton and Wai­w­era South groups will be sup­ply­ing break­fasts and lunches and snacks from 7am each day at the mar­quee, with a wind-down bar­be­cue at close of com­pe­ti­tion.

The Warepa Col­lie Club had been build­ing up to this event for the past two years, hav­ing re­de­vel­oped the course on the farm of Matt Lawlor and Teresa O’Rior­don, Tairua said.

‘‘Warepa has con­sid­ered it an hon­our to be host­ing such an event in this area for the very first time, and has been pleased so far with the sup­port from lo­cal spon­sors and groups, also the Otago Sheep Dog Trial Cen­tre.’’

The club was also grate­ful to the Cross Broth­ers, who have the Long Head course on their prop­erty next door. About 2000 hoggets would be used over the week.

The na­tion­als will be held at Gis­borne at the end of May.

MARY-JO TOHILL

Ben, Rua, Dove, Ghost and Bear are all go for the South Is­land Sheep Dog Trial Cham­pi­onships next week. Warepa Col­lie Club mem­ber Jan Tairua

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