Wednesday, September 17, 2014


The Final-
The weather in Carbondale did not disappoint and Sunday brought clear skies and brilliant sunshine. Huge thanks to Bridget Strang, the Strang Family, volunteers, set out crews, judges, local committee, sponsors and all those that contributed to this year’s National. Putting on an event of this magnitude requires a tremendous amount of work and your efforts are greatly appreciated!
The Open field required a change prior to the start of the trial and as a result the scope of the final was approximately 400+ yds for the first outrun (to the right) and 250 yards for the turn back. The drive was 200 yards, cross drive 250 yards and roughly 200 yards back to the ring.The sheep were good coming in and heavy on the drive but notably freer than the last time in Carbondale. The running was tough and several teams struggled with the fetches. I walked the fetch lines for the competitors the night before and they were angled more like two cross drives. Rather than hold the sideways pressure many dogs balanced the first lot straight to the handler. Most dogs turned back well and several made the drive gates but as of the final run, no one had yet to finish the course. A highlight of the morning was watching the best shed of the day, Michael Gallagher with Cain. The high score for much of the day was 509 (out of 680).
Alasdair ran last in the afternoon and for the first time in quite a while, it felt like he was an underdog. While we were confident with Cap and Sweep on the Rambouillet, we felt Gail was the least suited for the range sheep. She is a thoughtful dog with a bit of eye that these sheep often dislike. She also has a tremendous amount of heart and try—however the run went, we knew she would give it her all.

The first outrun started wide but a quick pull in put her easily to the first lot. It was a beautiful fetch and perfect turnback. A few bobbles on the 2nd fetch but solidly through the gates and a little off line as the sheep ran to join the first group. She put the sheep around the drive with relative ease and plenty of time in the ring. The sheep flowed well at the shed and they quickly had the ribboned ones separated with 9+ minutes to pen. Gail efficiently drove the plain ones away and marched the collared ones to the mouth of the pen. The sheep broke but with patience and pressure, Gail got the only pen of the trial. It was an excellent run with 602 points-so proud of her! We bought Gail in 2013 from Andy Carnegie and are very grateful to him.
We finished the night with lots of laughs, fantastic wine & good friends. The National is more than a sheepdog competition; it is about partnership, friendships, joy, disappointment, excitement, frustration and success. It is about making memories and stories.
This year it is about a wee dog with a huge heart. —

National Day 4
Another gorgeous day in Carbondale. The rerun sheep were quite good around the course though a bit heavy late in the day and still a test at the pen.

Congrats to all those through to the Final and to Suzy Applegate, our 2014 National Nursery Champion!

 US National Days 3-4

Yesterday afternoon was sunny with a warm breeze and the sheep in Open improved notably-they were not as testing nor were they putting as much sideways pressure on the dogs on the fetch or drive away. We hoped that would hold for today but alas, not to be….
Tierney Graham had a solid run this morning in the 140’s and just about 10:00, the sheep went off-running sideways or hell bent from the top. A few taking off to bolt over fences, neither provoked nor chased! Terry Parrish,Terri Warner, Bruce Fogt and Joe Haynes were just a few to draw very difficult groups. The tough packets were hit or miss & there were still some very good runs including Michael Gallagher with Cain. Amanda and Angie Coker also had scores high enough to go through to the next round.
Alasdair had a great start with Sweepy until a standoff which resulted in an unfortunate DQ.
I drew a very high headed ewe in a packet that sealed our fate before we began. We had no chance; They were so determined Cap had to be in front of them at times-the only way to stop a sheep running full out towards a destination. He held the sheep well on the turn and drive away but after making the drive gate, they took off again. While he convinced the sheep back on line, we had forgone too many points. He shed easily but no way could we pen them. 
The run was dreadful but Cap was excellent!
He worked his heart out. It was a great effort & very proud of him. Many of you know about the health issues Cap had this year. He is healthy and we are so grateful-his first trip to the trial field in over 7 months.

While today did not go as we’d hoped, could not be happier to have my partner back!!
With a spotty internet signal could not post yesterday but want to recognize Ron Burkey who had a great run with Shadow & currently in the lead along with Alasdair & Gail on a 161! -will update as possible. Should know semi running order/qualifiers soon —
US National Day 2
The morning began brisk & sunny and the sheep’s coats were dark and wet from the overnight rain. 
Noelle Williams had a solid run to start the day in the 140’s running just prior to Jim & I.
Jim had a very good gather and solid drive away. At the drive gate rather than take my whistle, he became independent and brought the sheep back through the gate. His single minded thinking ensued and rather than fight I retired as we were not working as a team. The sheep were a challenge early on and the resulting scores were low but became better as the day continued. Stand out runs include Joe Heather Lynne Haynes, Christine Jobe and especially Alasdair w Gail, with the high score of the trial so far on a 161.
Derek Fisher ran 10 year old Jen at the end of the day and she gave her heart with a difficult group & the best shed of the trial we’ve seen so far! Especially hope these two get through to the next round.

Today’s clear skies highlighted the beautiful vistas and the sprinkling of snow on the mountain tops make the scenery even more spectacular!

US National Day I

The course is 13 minutes-400 yd. outrun, left hand drive, shed any two, pen. Prevailing weather was cool and wet with bits of sunshine as well as significant downpours. The range sheep are cross ramboulliet, even & fit with nearly every group challenging the dog at some point during the run. The field lends itself to a left hand outrun and generally the sheep apply sideways pressure on the top half of the fetch.
The yearlings are leaning on the dogs in the main and are difficult at the pen. Most every handler is having a heart stopping moment!

Stand out runs include this years Meeker champion Ron Enzeroth w Mick, Dave Imas & Terrianne Warnerr. There were several good scores in the making that ended at the pen w an unfortunate DQ including Higgy, Louanne Timmons Twa & Lori J. Perry. Rains expected to end tomorrow w much cooler temperatures. Ranch is gorgeous and the trial a very good test

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