Ben is starting off blogging this morning. Diane will take over when Ben’s brain explodes!! Actually, we are taking turns until Ben has to leave at noon to make the long journey home back to Lopez Island. Ben has graciously stepped up to the plate to help me blog, otherwise, the blog would be a lot less content. It takes a lot of time and effort to write about each run and after a bit, I just get tired. Ben had no idea that I would rope him into this duty and I want to thank him for his tireless effort the last few days. In addition, Lise Andersen spent a bit of time blogging as well the LaPlatts stepped in to help. And occasionally we would bug handlers who stood next to us for details when we missed parts of it. It took a great team to make this happen and had they not helped me, the updates would be thinner. Having said that, we hope you enjoyed what we wrote. Oh yes, one last item, you will notice typos, grammar mistakes and whatnots, so calm down, we did the best we could and uploaded pretty much after it was over and didn’t have time to pretty it all up…so if you are having heartache with our sentence structure and format, have a cool beer and relax because we are not going to fix it.
This is going to be a long blog today- these are the top handlers, on a long course. The handlers today are all in their best dress as they walk to the post. Derek is the fashion model deluxe. We are blogging as well as we can but not getting a total step by step account and we are not judges, just bloggers. We are not getting every step of the runs but what we can see and type at the same time.
The first outrun is a come bye, and is tough because the dog has to run wide, up and over a hill to find the sheep. The outruns today are over 500 yards on the first set and 680 yards on the second set. The turn at the post is counter-clockwise, followed by a right-hand drive. 30 min time on course. 680 points total; 4 judges and we are really happy we are not on that judging spot!! The scores below are unofficial and for all official USBCHA information, please go to the usbcha.org website. Francis and her team is doing an excellent job of updating the website.
Once again, the hostess folks gave us power, a corner to put our gear, and food and drinks to bring you this blog. We want to point out that we ate very well and they took extra good care of us. They are the tireless workers who made the hander’s tent a wonderful place to pull up a chair, have hot drinks or cold drinks, fruit, pastries and tons of other assorted items to make it an enjoyable place. We thanks them for their hard work. In another blog, I will on about other parts of the trials.
Ben is writing this section as Diane drank her coffee and cleared her brain of cobwebs. Was quite full due to the Mike’s hard lemonade she drank the night before. I, as in Diane, will edit Ben’s section and add my comments but most of it is Ben’s fine typing until he left late morning.
First up on this chilly morning is Bill Berhow and Mike. Mike expertly lifted the first set of sheep and brought them right through the panels, then went back on the away side for the second set of sheep. The second set of sheep is close to the previous day’s set out, and that’s where they headed. Mike had to work to turn the sheep around, but he and Bill soon had them on line. The first packet of sheep took off back through the fetch panels to join the first set. No worries, as Mike brought all 20 sheep through the panels. They made a smooth turn and put the sheep right online to make the drive panels. They crossdrive was equally nice, and the sheep made the panels and turned for the shedding ring. The sheep are still cool and slow from the previous night, and Mike is polite to his stock. The sheep settled well in the shedding ring. A master shedder, Bill quickly sent a group of uncollared sheep out of the ring. Two more quick sheds left Bill and Mike with their five collared sheep. One ewe challenged Mike, but he stood his ground and the ewes were on their way to the pen. The discard group was very vocal, creating a strong draw for the collared ewes. The march to the pen was slow, but again Mike proved his mettle and stood down the ewes to bring them to the mouth of the pen. Bill’s patience with dog and sheep paid off as the ewes were penned with 2 minutes still on the clock. Score is 464.
Amanda Milliken and Ethel were up next. Ethel, with her years of experience, ran wide and lifted her first group of sheep. She seemed to think she should turn back right then for the second group, but Amanda gave her an “Ethel! Here!” and the sheep were on their way to the panels. Ethel brought the sheep through, and then left them for the away out run, while the sheep kept running for the exhaust (behind the post). Ethel again ran wide behind her second set and lifted the sheep straight. The sheep tried to double back, but they were soon back on line. Amanda and Ethel brought this group right through the panels and to the post to pick up the first group at the exhaust. All 20 sheep went through the panels, and Ethel made a beautiful turn to the crossdrive. A couple of ewes lagged on the crossdrive, but Ethel kept them moving. Two (?) ewes went low of the panels, but the rest made it through. Amanda split a large group of uncollared ewes off, but one collared ewe rejoined and they had to re-start the shed. They split off 8 ewes, and held the rest. The split group hung close to the shedding ring, making the tough shed even harder. A few more sheep gone, and they drifted to the exhaust. One collared ewe made a break for it, and the whole group was brought back together again. They timed out without getting the shed. Score is 432.
Alasdair MacRae and Nap started with their sheep bolting for the setout, but Nap was wide enough to turn them back. Nap brought the sheep low around the hill and online right through the panels. The first group positioned themselves nicely for the turn, while Nap took a beautiful look back to lift the second set. The sheep were headed to the right of the panels, but Alasdair and Nap pushed them back to make the panels. Meanwhile, the first group had drifted to the shedding ring, but some quick flanking brought them back to the post for the turn. The drive was straight through the panels, although the sheep wanted to string out on the crossdrive, Nap kept his sheep together to the panels, and brought them all through. In just over a minute in the shedding ring, Alasdair and Nap had 10 of the unmarked sheep out. A collared ewe tried to leave with another group, but Nap brought her back and sent two more ewes toward the exhaust. Again, Nap pushed one bolting collared ewe back to the shedding ring. After a bit of work, they had the last two ewes shed off. Nap quickly brought the sheep to the pen, and with a little hesitation, the ewes were in and the gate shut. Score is 594.
Patricia MacRae and Max started their run the moment the sheep were set. Max ran high and wide and lifted his sheep quickly. The sheep were quick to the panels and Patricia sent Max back the minute the sheep were through. From here, Max looks lovely at the top, running wide, and coming in well behind his sheep. The sheep again drifted to the right of the panels-toward the exhaust, and the first group- but Patricia and Max brought them back and through the panels. The turn and drive were smooth, and Max made a tight turn around the panels to set up for the crossdrive. The sheep split and half of them went low and the rest went through. Twice Patricia had most of the uncollared sheep split off when the ewes regrouped. She split off a group of ewes, but they timed out at the shed. Score is 425.
Haley Howard and Bodie started with a wide, wide outrun. Bodie cut in, and Haley sent him back out. He over ran a bit and the sheep lifted to the left. They brought the sheep back online and made the fetch panels dead on. Bodie got a bit confused on the turn back and started toward the first set out. Haley eventually sent Bodie back across the field, but when he crossed in front of the sheep, they bolted toward the set out. Bodie flanked fast around his sheep and brought them back down the field to make the panels. The drive was a bit off at the top, but they made the panels and turned for the crossdrive. The crossdrive was nice and straight and all the sheep made the panels. Haley and Bodie slowly split off the unmarked ewes- down to just one ewe without a collar in the ring. They couldn’t quite get that last ewe out, and timed out without getting the shed. Score is 332
Ben had to leave at this point to get packed so Diane is taking over. She just had an espresso so is wired to type. Ben will return to help with some more and then head home so at this point it is a tag team effort.
Dan Keaton and his York ran right after the National Anthem. He is a robust looking dog. He went out and needed a couple of redirect but got his sheep. The dust stirred up the field behind the sheep as they came through the panels. York spun for his turnback and crossed as the sheep were not set yet. He cast out and got them and fetched them neatly. The mob swirled about at the post and York came on to them and got the first panels, and held them on a nice clip for the second panels. They were tightly bunched and came in fast in the ring but ground to a halt in front of Dan. Contended ewes will graze and they soon began to eat the alfalfa, unaware that Dan and York were maneuvering them for the shed. Soon nine ewes were cut off and much to their surprise they were eased out of the ring. But, alas a red collar was among that group so they were put back together. The sheep walked out of the ring and York took a soak and soon everyone was back to the ring for another attempt. Again, a shed but a collared ewe and they were regrouped. Dan was calm in the shed and got a cut with 8 minutes remaining. I couldn’t hear Dan at all in the ring, as he was that quiet. Dan looked up and saw that a red collar ewe snuck off from the mob he was working and snuck into the discard group so he regathered them. He sent York to the tub to cool off. At 1:52, he made his first cut, but darn it, one collared one was in the group so a regroup. Another cut of four uncollared and it was going smoothly and time ran out. Bummers as it was a very quiet work in the shedding ring. Score is 316
Patrick Shannahan and Riggs walked on the course at 11:00 a.m. and it was sunny but still cool. With his black leather jacket and tall pose, he looked every bit a regal person that he is. When I first started, Patrick helped me quite a bit and was very kind. He is another person that I give credit to in getting me started. He never laughed at me as I would bumble about and always offered me words of encouragement. He still does encourage me and is still a class act. Riggs went our very wide and came back very deep and had to be whistled back to the sheep. He got behind the sheep and had a nice lift and took his flanks to start the dog leg fetch. They disappeared in the gully and came over the hill, right on line to the fetch panels and Riggs took an excellent turnback. His sheep that he had dropped ran down in front of the handler’s tent. Riggs had an excellent outrun and had a nice lift and they began to come down the course at a nice controlled pace. I can see why that Patrick is one of the top handlers on this run. They were tightly bunched and moving at a fast trot and Riggs had to flank hard but did a nice job to put them crisply through the fetch panels. The first set saw the second set and came galloping up to join them at the post. A flank by Riggs had them all tucked in and they were tightly bunched on the first leg and trotted smartly through the first panel. An extremely tight turn and still bunched together, they trotted like little soldiers across the cross drive. All made through the panels and another tight turn to the ring with 15:45 remaining. The gate opened and four ewes were cut out. They slipped back in so he opened the gate again and ten ewes were out. Patrick and Riggs began to do the dance in the ring, each leading on their side to hold the ewes and set up the next one to go through the gate. The last three ewes sprung the gate and it was slammed on the five red collared ewes. What a great shed to watch. The crowd roared with appreciation of job well done. He worked hard at trying to pen the ewes and they danced with protest and one bolted faster than Seabiscuit to join the uncollared ewes near the fetch panels at 6 minutes remaining. We all groaned!! Patrick quickly got the first cut, working well under pressure and (I am sure it was the Seabiscuit ewe) ran to join her uncollared buddies again. He quickly cut 11 ewes out at 2:55 remaining, then two more in the next 15 seconds, then one more and he had one uncollared ewe left. Seabiscuit made her run and beat Riggs back to the uncollared group. Patrick regathered the sheep, but timed out without getting the shed. Score is 465.
Ben returns and Diane leave to take pictures while Ben write the next run.
Tom Wilson and Sly had a fantastic outrun and lift to fetch the sheep straight to through the panels. After a bit of a look, Sly headed off wide around the second set of sheep for a nice lift and fetch. Her first set of sheep had drifted to the pen. Sly left her second set of sheep at the post, then Tom sent her out wide to bring the first set back. They had a beautiful drive with just one slight bobble, but Sly put all 20 sheep through the panels and made a tight, fast turn. The crossdrive was a bit low, and the sheep were heading below the panels, when Tom flanked Sly fast around to the heads and stopped the sheep before they’d all gone past the panels. The sheep turned back, Sly took another lightning fast flank, and every ewe went between the panels. In the penning ring, Tom and Sly were slowly working their uncollared sheep out, when several ewes bolted for the discard group. It looked like Sly was going to head off the one collared ewe, but the sheep made a mad dash, and the shed had to be restarted. They sorted off all but one of the unmarked ewes, then split off a pair. Tom and Sly managed to send the one unmarked ewe to the discards, and with 21 seconds left on the clock, the shed was called. They timed out before the pen. Score was 490.
Back from pictures, the next one is the tag team and then Ben had to leave. Thanks to Ben for his help. I love you!! Oh yes, Ben is a baker and brought his pastries to your trailer so we all adopted him!!
Allen Mills and Sis started with a very tight outrun, but Sis (who is just 3) kicked out at the end to come in well behind the sheep for a nice lift. Sis maintained a decent line to the panels, and just managed to send the sheep through to the post. She took her look back, but headed off in the come bye direction, then took her correct whistle and flew around behind her sheep, this time wide the whole way. Her second lift was also nice, although the sheep started off line to the right of the panels. Allen and Sis corrected, with Sis positively flying down the field, to put the sheep right through the middle of the panels. The sheep were heavy at the turn- going away from the exhaust- but this little dog is a powerhouse and sent the sheep on their way to the drive panels. The start of the drive was little slow- again, the draw to the exhaust behind-but the sheep were put back on line and all made it through the panels. Sis’s speed came in handy as she made a tight turn to the cross drive. They had a bit of a wobble on the cross drive- the sheep do want to string out there- but made the panels and had another tight turn to the shedding ring. Their first split in the ring left just six sheep, but Allen brought them all back. He could see, and we couldn’t, that one of the large group had a collar. It wasn’t long before they had a group of ewes shed off, leaving just 3 unmarked ewes in the ring. They split off a pair, held them close, then sent the last single to join them. Allen pushed the last few ewes out while Sis held the marked sheep, and the shed was complete. He had a nice, calm demeanor in the ring and Sis worked her heart out for him. With nearly 10 minutes to spare, they went to the pen. Sis only needed one attempt at the shed to be just the third dog today to finish the course. We’ll be seeing Sis on the course in the future- this is one heck of a nice dog! What a nice run from a Texan!! Sis is a daughter of Amelia Smith’s Price. In addition, Allen, keeps turning down my offer to trade Sis for the pink boa. It’s a fine pink boa and looked quite stunning on his cowboy hat but he decided to keep Sis. I think he would rather have a blue boa instead!! Score is 506.
Editors note: This is Allen’s first time to the Finals in the Open division. Last year, he was in the Nursery Finals with Sis!! What a way to go, not only the first time but leading at second at this point and a true gentlemen to boot. What a classy guy!!
Joe Haynes and Rain, one very nice young man went to the post. Rain went out tight and after a few redirects cast out smartly behind the first packet. We couldn’t tell if she crossed or not. The sheep came through the fetch panels and he turned her back. She flanked out but not wide enough and looked back to Joe for guidance. He gave a look back and she took it and crossed, still a bit confused, and then went back to the general area of where the first packet was set. Joe, being the true gentlemen, called her off and they walked off the course. We are proud of Joe and how far he had come!!
Scott Glen and Maid, a real crowd favorite, strode to the post, attired in a smart cap, crisp sports coat and with calmness, sent Maid. She needed a redirect and cast out wide, and came out neatly behind her sheep. She approached them quietly and they moved smoothly, maybe a bit offline. They dipped into the gully and we all waited for the packet to appear and they trotted out, with Maid flanking out wide, and they missed the fetch panels. They were offline to the drop off and went to the front of the handler’s tent, well past the drop off area and he had to work to get them back to the drop off. He brought the sheep back and she took the turnback. At the second packet, the outrun was nice, lift was fine, and part of the fetch was offline and the sheep entered the fetch panels at a nice trot. By this time, the first set was at the exhaust and Maid had to flank out wide to get them. He gathered both sets and they were in a nice bunch at the post for a nice turn. A bit offline but back online quickly and put through the first panels, quickly neatly and a nice tight turn. Maid looks to be a bit on the muscle but with Scott at the wheel, she relented. The sheep were lined out on the crossdrive and he had then put through the panels neatly again, and a tight turn to the ring. This time of the day, the sun is relentless and I am drinking my smoothies as fast as I can!! Maid and Scott in the ring will be a joy to watch. Scott strolled to the head of the ewes, stood there as if to give them a lecture, walked a step or two, and began his magic. The ewes, being apt students, did as he asked and the gate opened and eleven went through. The remaining students stood and moved as Scott asked and Maid held her side. Two more went through the gate and two uncollared were left and the Master spoke and the last two went via the gate. Scott drove off the uncollared ewes to the area of the crossdrive panel. Maid brought the five to the pen and they glanced at their buddies on the hill and one spilt to the back, then the others on the other side but Maid worked hard and got them back and then to the mouth of the gate again. With seven minutes remaining, the ewes stamped at Maid and turned and looked at Scott and heard the Master and went into the pen. All was quiet and the gate swung shut and the sky was filled with the noise of clapping. Note to me: do not clap while laptop is in your lap!! Score was 429.
Kathy Knox and Tweed went to the post at 1:10 p.m. Tweed burst out fast and was very tight and Kethy whistled hard and he crossed right in front of the first set, headed for the second packet (the area where they were all week). Tweed ran all the way up to the setout as they were taking out the second set and got behind them. Kathy retired when Tweed brought the second packet down. The judges called it a DQ.
Alasdair MacRae and Star,, another crowd favorite is number 13 in the run order. Star had a nice, thoughtful outrun, a nice lift and then they went offline. Alasdair stopped and flanked Star to get them back online to try to hit the fetch panels. With skillful whistling, the ewes poured through the panels, and the turnback was lightning quick. She flared out wide and then cut in and looked like she was going to cross but the redirects stopped her and she flared out deep. The lift was slow and controlled and they came straight to his feet. Star picked up the first packet that had wandered to the exhaust and he regrouped them tight for a sweet turn at the post. I could see 20 butts head down the hill to the first panel, a wisp of a Border Collie to the right and Alasdair standing tall at the post. There was a gentle trail of dust behind the sheep as they meandered through the panels and had a nice tight turn. The melody of the whistles lulled me but kept the sheep on the course and as they approached the second panel, the pace picked up but it was a nice drive and they made the panels. Star whipped to the side and brought them to the ring in a nice tight bunch and Alasdair calmly waited for the sheep. Alasdair is one of the Masters and his students listened well too. The first shed was a large group and he began to open the gate and then more went through. Oh no, as he was opening the gate for a few more, one red collar ewe made a fast jail break and joined several uncollared ewes. So, Alasdair had to regroup them at 12 minutes to spare. The master set up the gate, and began to school the students and the all marched out, leaving the last five. It was some brilliant execution on his part. At the pen, the sheep walked in, the quickest and crowd pleasing pen of the day. Perhaps a penning DVD would be in order? Score is 514.
I believe this just bumped Allen down to third.
Bud Boudreau and Sam arrived at the post at 1:50 p.m. Sam ran out wide and a whistle brought him back for a nice lift. The first part of the fetch was a bit offline and he got them back online before the fetch panels. A nice turn back and Sam began to bring the sheep at a fast pace, stirring up the mid day dust. He gathered the sheep and began to do the drive and was calm and quiet, made the first panels and had a sweet crossdrive, hit the second panels dean on and a nice turn to the ring. Bud nonchalantly walked about the ring, sorted a good bit, then strolled about, shed some more with Sam and then stopped a red collar from joining the uncollared. It seems like a casual walk in the park, quiet and unassuming but the job was getting done. The group that was being held tried to join the discards but they saw the gleam in Bud’s eye and stood still, as if made of granite. One large ewe, that seemed to be the size of a Shetland pony, wanted to joined the collar ewes and Bud and the ewe did a slow dance and since Bud was leading, he lead her back to the discards. Bud then did another waltz with a uncollared ewe that was with the collared ewes and he danced her to the discards. Bud looked at the ewes to do (hopefully) the final sort and San held his ground. Two more were sloughed off and three were left. Bud pushed the discards farther away while Sam dutifully held the ewes in the ring. Bud spilt one more ewe and she dashed to join her buddies over the hill, but Sam gathered her back no matter how hard Bud tried to call him back. Bud started to set up for another cut but time ran out. Score is 428.
Lavon Calzacorta and Tess, from Idaho came on at 2:22 p.m. Since Lavon has a dog named Tess, I am going to cheer for him. She started off wide then cut in and a good redirect got her to flare out and come out smartly behind her sheep. A bit offline then on and sheep came through the fetch panels and a few feet past the drop off point and stood still. Tess had a great turn back, and race to the top, nice and deep and I could see what the white on her front as she approached the second packet. A swirl of dust appeared behind the sheep and they came right on the fetch line to the panel. An excellent line to the second packet who hardly moved and they were cleverly pushed back online and to Lavon. Lavon is wearing a black vest and a bright blue shirt that made for a nice background as the sheep turned in front of him. A sweet turn at the post and they marched down the first leg of the drive. The crossdrive was nice and slow and sweet as sugar and they made the last panel and a nice turn and a bit offline before getting them back online. Lavon got the first cut rather quickly, then shed off a few more, and then the ewes tried to make a break for it but Tess stopped them. Tess is a tall, striking marked bitch that has tons of heart. The next few minutes were very tough as the discards wandered off and the remaining ewes had no draw, Lavon and Tess were very patient and took three more off who wanted to regroup and they stayed at the edge of the ring and stared at Lavon’s back. Tess gave them her eye and they wisely stood still and then poof, the last ewe was shed at 58 seconds. Lavon ran to the pen and opened the gate and the ewes were marching in but time ran out. A few more seconds and it looked like he could put them in. Lavon ran Tess up to the tub and we all gave a huge round of applause for this hard working duo!! Score is 494.
Haley Howards and Ross are second to last and she walked out in a stunning white cowboy hat and white shirt, Ross, the freckled face tri, stared up the field for the sheep. Ross maybe small but is big on sheep. He ran out fast, his feet kicking up small whirlpools of dust as he ran out wide and nice behind his sheep. He stopped at the top and had a soft lift and they disappeared in the gully as so many others had done all day. They came out online to fetch and held a nice pace to the gate and Ross dropped on command. The turnback was quick and he looked as if to cross and he dropped on her whistle as the crowd groaned. Ross kicked out wide and went back proper to the back of the second packet A bit offline and she flanked him and he got the sheep back online and they had a fast pace to the panels. The sheep went offline and Ross had to flank quickly to get them back online to make the panels. That Ross is a quick dog as they sheep were moving quickly. She combined the two packets and Ross stopped them from going to the exhaust when they were at the post. A nice line to the first panel and they made it through, a bit high but corrected quickly and a nice, controlled walk across the cross drive. A close save at the second panels as they were low but Ross turned them and a nice tight turn to the shed. The last leg was a bit off but Ross turned them to correct it. Haley walked quietly into the ring and Ross began to do his half of the work. She had 18 minutes going into the ring. The first cut had a handful and one red collared ewe who must have been related to Seabiscuit, the prior ewe kept trying to make a break. I will name her Ruffian as her wool was long. Ruffian tried again, her feet dancing in one spot, soon was stopped by the swift Ross. Again, Ruffian made her break and Haley tried to stop her but fell (unhurt) and Ross also tried but she won that race. Ross brought the ewes back into the ring while Haley patiently waited. Haley made a huge cut and then shed off another ewe. Ruffian tried again for the break but Haley was on to her antics and stopped her. Ten sheep left in the ring at 10 minutes and the crowd is quiet. Two more were shed but they wanted to join the collared ewes. More were shed and it was down to 2:30 with one unmarked and Ruffian joined the discards. Haley ran out of time and she got a great round of applause from the audience. Haley is a very polite handler who is very graceful and a nice person with a smile for all. I remember when she was 16 and she was very polite and she is still the same graceful person to this day. Score of 478.
Derek Fisher and Jen are the last competitor of the day. I am looking at Derek and he looks like he just stepped out of the GQ magazine. A sharp tie, black pants, a stylish vest, fancy shirt and a tweed cap gets the style points for the day. A nice wide outrun and the lift was off to one side and she took the sheep straight than the dog legs fetch at the top part of the fetch. Derek stopped Jen to try to get her to hold the flank but she was determined to bring them straight still. Finally, Jen began to bring the sheep properly and Derek worked hard to get the dog leg. Jen took the flanks and the fetch was nice to the panels. He had a bit of difficulty on the turnback and wanted to get the sheep in front of her. She did get the turnback and curled back. Derek stopped her and kept working it and she finally cast out for the second group of sheep, after numerous redirects. The lift was on and Derek worked on getting the sheep back online. The sheep went offline and Jen was wide and they missed the panels. Jen gathered the sheep and they worked hard to get them back online and to the post. Online to the first panel and Jen was pushing hard. The crossdrive was pretty nice with a few bobbles, hit the panels and smart turn to the shed with 13:18 to go. Derek stripped off his vest and I was awed by his bright yellow tie. Jen got a quick dip into the tub. Derek got the first cut and it looked like a pair of bookends, with both sets of sheep facing each other and Derek and Jen in the middle. They worked hard to shed off a few more and time ran out. Score was 308.
Congrats to Alasdair on First and Second place. Congrats to Allen on his third place.
No one had an aircard so this will be posted when we get to Dexter, which is 3 hours away. I had fun at the Finals and we, the blogging team, sure hope you enjoyed reading the blog.
Hopefully next year, I will be going to VA with Nan, Lucy or Roo and if so, I will be the blogging fiend!!