Monday, May 20, 2013

Bluegrass, The Finale!

Alasdair & Sweep
Hopefully, everyone saw my updates from Sat & Sun on Facebook. As predicted the best runs came in the first half of the day before the heat and humidity peaked and Scot Glen's Don is the DL champion.
The Bluegrass is such a special trial to us personally and we are so grateful to be able to participate. I know I have have thanked the organizers, volunteers, quiet supporters and set out crew several times but again, you are so much appreciated.
Foremost, I want to to correct my order in yesterdays recap, Vergil with Scott were 4th with a very solid finish and Ron Enzeroth with Mick were 5th.
The highlights for us began in the morning with Alasdair's Li. Although they had some trouble on the turn back Li made a tremendous save in the ring and earned Reserve Champion. Black Gold Premium Dog Food, our personal sponsors, came through once again supporting the Border collie community and donating the DL prizes. Thank you for your very generous continued support as well as many thanks to all the other contributors.
I only gave Sweep to Alasdair in December and they are already a great team. They performed especially well in the final and as Alasdair said, it went even better than in practice, always an encouraging sign. A flawless turnback and excellent lines earned them 3rd.
Cap also had a perfect turnback but me working hard to hold the fetch lines in the height of the heat cost us valuable time. Running in the 15th slot I was concerned the shed would be extremely difficult. As it turned out we had a good flowing shed down to 4 plain ones that was only stymied by the time constraint. We had just 10 minutes in the ring for time spent on the drive & ended up 7th. Of course, it is always easier looking back and the mistakes were mine. I was very pleased with Cap's performance as well as his 'striking' run Open I and the thankfully less eventful win Open II.
Ron Enzeroth and his young dog Mick were standouts throughout the trial, having just won Cattle Nursery Championship 2 weeks prior. I wrote about Mindy Bower Day 1 as she and her dog Possum made both Opens look easy. They finished just behind Roy Taber and York in the DL.
Ron Enzeroth also stood out on the Nursery field winning the overall with Pete who ran solid everyday including beating Nell & I on outwork in Nursery II. Another stand out was Jimmy Walker with Brock who was on equal points with Alasdair & Skye Nurs IV and finished 2nd on OLF. I believe Jimmy was also Reserve Champion in OR with his other young dog.

This was Nell's and Renee Newcomb's Skye first time away from home (litter sister's Cap X Star). They each won a Nursery class and qualified for the National.
Nell also won Reserve Nursery Champion.
We were sorry to miss yesterday's final runs but had a brilliant night with my grandmother at Mallone's, prime rib, sushi, incredible wine and most important family. thank you to all my generous friends in KY especially Laura Hanley with her help at the airport!
Although there were several changes behind the scenes at this year's Bluegrass what did not change is this one of our all time favorite trials--thank you to all!

Friday, May 17, 2013


Kristi at this rate, i should try for a tribute album!

Congratulations to Lorna Savage winner Open I! 
Congratulations also to Ron Enzeroth who won Nursery again today.
Nell illustrated, ‘Speed thrills, Speed kills’. She was thrilled and killed any hope of a good run, but that, as they say, is young dogs! She finished up 9th. Alasdair was 7th and got his 2nd leg with Skye!
Open II:
Don Helsley judging, 11 minutes, right hand drive, any single, then pen. Sheep are overall a good bit heavier.

Alasdair had a very good run in Open II with Li and is leading on an 86. Tommy Wilson had a good run with Roy and currently in second with an 84. I ran Max & managed to miss the drive away with expert precision. I never called him on the shed (which is any sheep).  It was far too risky to take the last one on the head yet Max boldly disagreed & came in on the last one on the head anyway. I was far more stunned and scared by this than yesterday’s lightning bolt!
My shout did get a lie down and the judge called it. We scored an 82.
This was Max’s last year to run at the Bluegrass as he will be 12 years old in October. It was his 10th year running here and his 8th running here in Open. I managed to get us DQ’d in Open I so we will not compete on Sunday but he has put me through to the Final here more times than I can remember, a testament to his ability given my inexperience as Max is the first dog I trained to Open (beating Bear to the field by 2 months). He is an amazing partner and friend and I will miss trialing and training him more than words can express.
The sheep remain heavy and look to be getting even better. If it continues scores may well soar to the 90’s so very difficult to predict yet who will get in beyond Alasdair, Vergil and Mary Lou Campbell at the time of this writing. More severe storms are expected for today and tomorrow. The temperature is currently about 85 and 100% humidity. Here is hoping it cools down lots before Sunday. My grandmother is flying in tomorrow (88 years old) to watch and we are very excited, off to prepare for her visit!
Christines Bess also had her last BG run
today. She will be 12 yr. in December

Thursday, May 16, 2013

BLUEGRASS day 2, show stopping run with Cap

If you asked me yesterday if I wanted to have a show stopping run with Cap in Open I, would have said ‘yes’,,,today, not so much!

After 5 DQ/RT in a row on the open field they were running far ahead of schedule. Obviously unpredictable, this is generally a good thing. The Bluegrass is a brilliant trial and painstaking care is taken to try to run the simultaneous fields without conflict. To have many runs go as quickly as they did was very unusual. Uncharacteristically they also happened to be well behind on the novice field. This coincidence was most unfortunate for me as I was literally on the OR field running Nell just before my open run. Thankfully Carla King noticed and shouted for me to get over to Open as I was on in 2 dogs (thank you Carla and Mary Thompson who graciously exhausted the run I was meant to in OR)!

I made it in plenty of time though without the benefit of seeing how the sheep were running (albeit with many DQ’s shortly before me I had a clue yet, to add confusion Vergil  scored a 91 with Brooke the run I arrived!). I was able to watch all of Vikki Kidd’s run and it was very good scoring an 89 and making it look easy. I thought certainly that must be a good sign!

Cap spotted the sheep and began what looked to be good outrun but stopped a bit short (a theme for most every dog sent left),,, lift & fetch not so bad, around the post (which has been the beginning of the end for many runs) was fluid, the drive away reasonable until complete miscalculation on my part caused missed drive away, but only just. The cross drive & 3rd leg were on and I had 4 & ½ minutes or so once I entered the ring.

I remember the sheep started to run just a bit, but as the shed is any sheep, I thought, ‘this is coming’,,,
what actually came was a bolt of lightning so fierce both I & the largest speckled yearling jumped 3 inches off the ground!  Vergil said he was amazed Cap was completely oblivious to the commotion, staying intent on the sheep.
Fortunately, Alasdair was oblivious to Cap and the sheep, shouting for me to get off the field as he later told me he could smell burning!

I was a bit stunned as likely were Rusty, the judge, clerk as well as the few passer-byes who ducted into shelter with us. We were there for over an hour. Kudos and thanks to Vikki Kidd who stayed under exhaust the entire delay to keep my sheep from drifting too far up or down the field. Thank you to Dee Petnzer for her shout out for the sheep to be kept!

Although I had 3 ½ minutes when they started the clock again, after grazing and being held together away from the others for an additional hour the sheep were not as quick to shed and I ran out of time at the pen scoring a 71.
Hopefully, I put will be able to put together a good enough run in the next round to play on Sunday. At the very least hoping I can put together a less exciting run!
Expectedly after the down pour the sheep were much improved and stayed exceptionally tolerant for most of the remainder of the day. 

This morning Alasdair had a very solid run with Li scoring 80 in the Open. They were several 80's and I believe an overall better day than yesterday. I apologize for not having more pictures (will keep trying) or a better update of open runs,,,with all going on I missed quite a bit. All scores on

I ran Nell who did not so bad in OR scoring a 72 with no pen and more importantly standing up well and looking quite positive on the sheep.
She tied for first in the nursery and while they asked me to bring her over for a run off at the end of the night, later decided to do it on OLF. Congratulations to Ron Enzeroth & Mick for the  Nursery win.
Delighted Nell is doing so well on her first trip away from home. Also thrilled for Alasdair with Skye who finished just one point behind Ron & I and received their first qualifying leg.  
The last few runs in open were meant to be tricky and ultimately the fog prevented the finish. Will complete in the morning as soon as weather permits.
Finally, thank you especially to Dee Penetzer who recognized such an unusual day should only only be concluded with a delicious red from Alexander Valley!
Dee & Queen

Wednesday, May 15, 2013


Bluegrass Day 1: 
The Bluegrass Classic SDT held every May in Lexington, KY is among the oldest and most esteemed trials in the country.
Spring time in the Bluegrass is incredibly picturesque. The organization and hospitality are second to none and the Texas yearlings are an excellent test of the dogs. Foremost thank you to the KBCA and everyone that made this year possible!

Special recognition to Susan Carvalho, Paul and Leigh Anne Tucker, Rusty Krieder, the tremendous set out crew and the tireless volunteers. These are a few key contributors and we realize there are countless others-you are all very much appreciated!
Masterson Station's bowl shaped field is as pristine as ever and the cross Suffolk yearlings extremely healthy.
The morning began with moderate temperatures and quickly warmed to the high 80’s with sunshine and high wind. The yearlings were touchy and a bit difficult to predict at the start.
The first very good run was Mindy Bower with Possum. They made what looked to be a very difficult time of day to run look effortless and scored a commendable 81. 
I was up soon after with Max in the 10th slot. The sheep ran unexpectedly upon the lift,,,and ran and ran.
Max interpreting the big come bye flank as set up for the turn back (and waiting for it) was not helpful. In fact, it caused the sheep to bolt past me on the wrong side of the post.
A dreadful beginning, I had been on this side of a poor start in years past. My goal was to start the drive in an effort to piece together a run with a passable result for the 2 score cumulative trial.
I brought the sheep back around to my side of the post and planned to take the point loss per the USBCHA Guidelines as I had already lost so many on my fetch. As with all best laid plans there was a small snag, the judge was not utilizing the guidelines and he DQ’ed me instead- my fault, tough lesson learned the hard way!


Kristi, this one is for you!
The sheep would prove to get better and then not so good again and finally very forgiving by the end of the evening or at least until about run 58 (I missed the last 10). Lorna savage had a gorgeous run #53 to score a 94. Earlier in the day I missed Joyce Geier who scored a strong 93 but was there and absolutely thrilled for Alasdair with Sweep who ran great and scored a 90. Missouri also provided another high score with Larry Moore and Bee on an 89.

The Open Ranch had its own challenge with fresh yearlings on the tricky terraced novice field. Alasdair and I are running litter mates. I have Nell and he is running Renee Newcomb’s, Skye (Star X my Cap). Both are nursery dogs and today was their first time away from home.
Nell finished 8th in OR with Skye just a few behind and Nell won the Nursery with Ron Enzeroth and Mick in 2nd place.
A very long and great day of dogs, tomorrow begins with the conclusion of Open I at 6:30 sharp, OR II & Nursery II.

Renee Newcomb's Skye

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Alasdair Reflects on the 2013 Cattle Final,,,

Thad's Molly (photo taken by Cindy Lowry)

I did not attend the Cattle dog Final this year but Alasdair judged. Thad Flemming and his entire family worked tirelessly to deliver a first class event. Congratulations to all the winners especially Champions Dwight Parker with Craig and Nursery Champions Ron Enzeroth with Mick. Below Alasdair reflects on the four day competition in his (mostly:-)) own words,,,

I’d like to commend The Fleming family for hosting a very professional and well run USBCHA National Cattle dog Final. The weather was unusually harsh for the first week in May with several inches of snow and freezing wind. Event organizers, volunteers, competitors and spectators were put through a ‘cowboy up’ test and all passed with flying colors.
The efficiency with which the cattle were set was impressive and after a few initial problems with exhausting, that too became seamless. The stick-to-itiveness of all the riders, on Thursday and Friday especially, was nothing short of heroic.
The cattle were ideal for the most prestigious award in the cattle dog trial calendar. They were testing but workable and as even a bunch as one could wish for; a credit to the Salmon family who donated them free of charge.
A very benevolent gift, it can only be appreciated fully by those who have put on trials where they had to lease the livestock. It is an expense which can sometimes make the books unsustainable and result in no payback or even cancellation. Although just judging, I would like to express my thanks to Bob and his family for their above and beyond generosity.
The Lions club came through for the event in exceptional form. They not only made their parking facility available but also provided a tractor, flat bed, straw bales and ferried everyone to and from the field.
Black Gold Premium Dog Food once again showed tremendous support for the Border collie community with a significant cash donation as a Judge's Sponsor . These are just a few of the many contributions that were significant in the four day trial running like a well-oiled machine.
The conditions returned to seasonal, beautiful Missouri spring weather for Sunday with some impressive dogs and exciting competition. The cattle were worked with respect and authority in the main and we crowned well-deserved champions.
Congratulations to 2013 Open winners Dwight Parker and Craig and Reserve, Bill Reed with Ann; also Ron Enzeroth and Mick, Nursery Champions and Missouri natives Larry Painter with Troy taking the reserve Buckle.
Finally, congratulations to Kelly and Thad. You said that you could put on a first class Cattle dog final that would be a credit to Leeton, Missouri and the USBCHA and that is exactly what you did.