Saturday I was the judge for ProNovice, Nursery and two rounds of Novice. Geri Byrne was my course director and she was fabulous. Donna Donahue and Ernesta were my scribes. The weather was nice, then it turned windy and chilly in mid afternoon which really affected the sheep. Geri kept the runs going one after another and she gets 5 stars for her tireless work. My scribes braved the wind and cold and were excellent!
ProNovice ran first followed by Nursery and then two rounds of Novice. The course was about 250 yards and the sheep had to go through a bowl and then up a hill to the post. The drive was to the right, through a gully which also had the exhaust further down and the sheep tried their best to bust back to it. The handler got one chance to pick the sheep off the exhaust if that occurred and everyone did it successfully. The first panel was halfway up the hill, then a tight turn, down the hill, across the flat then up a hill to the second panel. Then to the pen.
At the handler’s meeting I told folks to make sure the last leg was dead on to the pen as I had seen quite a few runs the days before swing wide while the handler turned their back to the dog to go to the pen. We had around 30 dogs in this class. There were some notable runs with a four way tie for first place with Karen, Bill, Bob and Norm. Bob and Norm had to do a runoff and Norm won with Bob hot on his heels. Ernesta ran floss and did stellar outwork and they looked great as a team. Erica and Tater had one of the best outwork of the day. They were a very smooth team and one that will be hard to beat. Jody and Reggie were another smooth team. Jerry and his Kelpie, Jed had been setting all day, then came down, put together a sweet run and then headed back up to set for the rest of the day. Elizabeth ran her Craig and he is going to be one that will be hard to beat. Jaenne and Mo were a good team to watch and Mo has keenness with her great stock sense. She is a cute red merle and she sure can handle the sheep. They are quite impressive as a team. Karen took time out from tallying score to run her Maverick and you can tell they really love each other on the field. Karen ran Beau and I was so impressed with him so I asked her about his breeding. It turns out that he is a grandson of my Nan! How wild!
Nursery had a great run by Bill and Roy with a score of 82. They missed the fetch panels and that was their only fault of the run. Ron got his second leg with Chavo and a second place. Nursery ran the same course as ProNovice.
Novice was about a 100 yard outrun, and short drive up the hill. The handler had the option of walking along the drive and the pen. The first round had a left turn drive and most of the handlers did well. Jill and Jack won it with a score of 68 and either lost one or two points on the drive. On the second run, Molly and HubCeeCee won it with a score of 72. There were 80 points possible. What was nice to see was the handlers did quite well and the teamwork was a pleasure to watch.
We got done and by the time we got back to the Open field, they were done. It was a long but a fun day and I really enjoyed judging everyone. I could see the improvement from last year and there are some great upcoming handlers!
We went out to dinner at Tate's Umapine Mercantile and they had delish ribs, red potatoes, lasagna, bread and other items. We were stuffed and of course, I had to order their crème Brûlée. I got it last year and it was just as good. After dinner, I spent the night at Karen and Meredith’s trailer. We watched the new DVD featuring Patrick Shannahan and apparently I passed out halfway since I was so tired. Nan and Rainey snuggled next to me all night and I woke up to hot coffee and a tasty breakfast from Karen. I want to thank Karen and Meredith for their generous hospitality and kindness. They just rock and are some of my favorite people!
Since I didn’t make it into the Double Lift, I volunteered to hold the sheep off the exhaust when the handler dropped them off at the drop off on the fetch and then exhaust the sheep after the run. I used Rainey as she had put the sheep out each night for their nightly feeding and had to push them off the stubble. She really enjoyed pushing the 350 or so ewes and when one took a charge at her, she met her with a nose grip. The first set tried to go to the exhaust and Rainey gave them the keen eye so they listened, and soon they were scooped up by the trial dog. After our session, we all hopped in the truck and made the trek back to home. We got home and Getty had dinner and unloaded the truck and soon I passed out on the couch. I really enjoyed the trial, the esteemed Open judge Wilda Bahr, the PN judges of Karen Mahoney and Lynn Johnston. Of course, Melinda, her husband and her support staff put on a top notch trial with tough range ewes, a equally challenging course, a great judge, wonderful dinner and cool awards. Melinda gave me a bottle of wine from the grapes they raise and we drank it and it was superb! This trial is a great trial and I highly recommend it. I plan on going back next year and hope we can get back into the double Lift!