I went to a trial just before the Finals. I never got around to writing about it due to work and trying to get ready for the Finals. But here it is…a wee bit late but nevertheless, the trial wrap-up. The trial name is Rocky Ewe and it has been going on in one shape or form for many years.
I pulled my trailer and got there early. Tess, Nan, and Roo were the dogs that I had. I had gotten there early and got a choice spot. The weather was cold, wet and rainy. I packed tons of warm gear so that was good. The heater worked great in the trailer!! In addition, snuggling with Tess and Nan kept me warm. Janet dropped off Rainey on Saturday so that was good.
Open and ProNovice ran on Sat and Sunday. I set with Tess much to her surprise. She was fast asleep when I pulled her out of the bed and put her to work. She thought she was retired but worked hard. The outrun was not very long but a bit tricky. On the away side, the dogs would be close at the top and come over a dip but most of them came short on the dip. On the comebye side, if the dogs came in flat, they sheep would run back to the setout. Nan was the first of my dogs to go and she was on the muscle. The sheep were super light hair sheep and she had to stay way off of them and since she is a fast dog, they reacted very quickly. We lost 6 off the outrun and most of our drive points as the sheep turn and skimmed the first panel and didn’t go through. She had a pen but we timed out on the shed. Roo was one of the last dogs to run, I whistled him out on the outrun, and the fetch was fast. He had a nice drive but was squirrely at the first panel, nice pen but no shed. Roo placed 7 out of 18 dogs. Roo and Nan are fast and go forward dogs and the light sheep just run when they are near them.
Jenny Coleman was tenting and I invited her to my trailer. It was very windy and cold. Therefore, right after the runs, Jenny and I went to Wal-Mart. She has never been to Wal-mart so that was a real revelation. First, we got a huge shopping cart. I got portable storage bins so I could put clothes in them and leave them in the trailer. We got camping plates, cups, and the set. Jenny was the QA and examined each one for chips and by the time, she was done, I had a nice set. We had fun and laughed the entire time. This was before we drank the hard lemonade. She is a riot to be with and I had a good time.
We had a nice handler’s dinner. Everyone brought a dish and there were tons of food. Jenny and I waddled back to the trailer. We had a few Mike’s hard lemonade and giggled quite a bit. If you read my earlier posts, I have been drinking the lemonade without realizing it was stronger than beer. Now, I have Jennifer hooked.
Sunday was wet and cold. They ran PN first. Janet arrived with Scott and Rainey. Scott had a wonderful outrun losing only one point. He was pushy on the drive and on the first leg, and then the sheep ran back to the setout so they lost almost all of their drive point but got the pen. I think they placed 9 out of 30 dogs. I don’t remember the other runs as it was a bit ago.
I ran Roo first and he was tight at the top and we fought down the fetch line but he finally listened. He did the same goofy error on the first panel but then I had notice quite a few dogs had the same issue so it had to be something with the hollow in front of the panel. He had a better drive, it was slow and controlled, and a sweet pen but no shed. The sheep were terrified of him and I couldn’t get close to the sheep. It was later in the day when I ran Nan. She ran sweet for me. ON her outrun, she went out and wide but by the time she got to the top, her sheep had bolted and were at the fetch panels. The setout crew didn’t hold them and she stopped and took my redirect. She lots four off her outrun work, even though the sheep were at the fetch gates and she never had a chance to get a hold of them. She go them through the fetch panels and had a nice turn at the post. He drive was controlled and steady and she lost 8 points, had a nice pen and textbook shed and lost four for that. She got 2nd and I was very happy with her work. Roo placed 9th out of 20 dogs. I set also and put Tess to work. She did double duty as our replacement crew forgot to come up. We worked until as late as we could, then I had to race to get a dog to run. Tess was pretty tired and no doubt was wondering why she was working hard when she was supposedly retired.
Monday, the Ranch and Novice classes were run. I was the judge for these classes. I have seen great improvement on some of the handlers. The night before Judy, Bob, Jane, Norm and me (and I can’t remember if there was anyone else) set up the course. I didn’t want to do the Open direction as the sheep would bolt past the post to the exhaust and I wanted the Novice and ranch folks have success. We ran a dog a couple of times so it was looking ok. We ended up tweaking it a bit in the morning and that made the classes run better. The weather go worse and the rain was going sideways. All of the Open handlers had left and we really didn’t have any Open dog to set so I had Janet pull Tess off my pillow (she was fast asleep) and use her to hold the sheep from bolting to the exhaust. Tess would run back and forth to stop the runaways but made it work for the Novice. We put up an orange fence later where the sheep were bolting and it worked out as the sheep help well.
Then Monique worked most of the day getting the sheep from the setout, holding the sheep and then exhausting the sheep. She used Tess for the rest of the day. Tess would have to outrun to the setout, pick the sheep up and bring them to the setout point, hold them with Monique and after the run, push them to the exhaust. The rain got harder, windier and more miserable. I could see her ears flattened down and her getting more tired. By the end of the day, she was totally exhausted and at the food trailer, I snatched a huge chunk of lunch meat for her and feed her. The setout crew worked long and hard and they did a great job. We all got drenched!!
The first class up was ranch. There were some great run. They had a small drive, crossdrive, and pen. The sheep, even though they were light, were not used to this section of the field and ran very well. Susan Crocker and rain won the class and had a nice controlled drive. Judy did great with Abby and Britt, her tow upcoming dogs. Monique ran Sava and they did well. Very nice outwork, a good rive and they placed 4th. The point spread between first and fourth was not very much, only four points. I was impressed on some of the good handling. On the second go round of Ranch, it was pretty much the same. The first place scores lost 4 points or 5 points. People worked on keeping the dog off the sheep, doing the proper turns at the panels and being calm. I was very impressed.
Novice class was one of the best that I have judged. Nora and her Lucy had a almost flawless run and lost one point. It was very good and controlled. Monique handler Sava great in both classes, winning the first one and placing second in the second run. Nora and Lucy traded spots with Monique and Lucy in the two classes. Janet ran Rainey and she was not too sure about picking sheep off the setout but did it and placed 6th out of 12 dogs. Jane Hickman ran for the first time with Rachel, placed 5th, and had excellent outwork. She also ran Ryder and placed 6th in the first run. Tanya ran Molly and did well for her first time out. Carolyn ran Beth and almost had the pen but had to retire.The quality of the Novice folks was nice to see.
After it was all done, we handed out awards and packed up to go home. I loaded up Sava, Roo, Rainey, Nan and Tess and turned on the heater. As I drove home, I noticed that Tess had crowed the other dogs to far side of the back seats and taken over half of it. Her tongue was hanging out, her paws were slowing moving and her snores would rival the jackhammers working on concrete. I whispered to her that she was a good girl, her eyes opened a little and she quickly fell fast asleep, her smile widened as if to say “you sat all day while I worked all day in the pouring rain and did all the sheep work”
Later that night when I was eating my steak dinner, Tess leaned against me and sighed. I fed her half and she fell asleep against my legs, her belly full and content to know she had been duly rewarded for her hard efforts.