Thursday, October 11, 2012

USBCHA Sheepdog Finals Recap One

My recap for the USBCHA Sheepdog Final.  Obviously very late due to my laptop crashing and just getting back on board (mostly). I still have to recover a bunch of files but for the time being, I am online. Dell had to install a new motherboard and hard drive. The big debacle on Dell is another blog soon. The good thing about the Dell incident is they sent the same tech, Rick, from the last time. At least they have on competent person.
So back to the Finals. The camping was on forty flat acres and was watered down pretty much every day. They also sprayed for mosquitoes. There was a huge garbage dumpster for your ease. Lots of porta pottys to chose from and well stock and cleaned frequently. The handler tent was huge, well laid out with tons of drinks and food all during the day. There were lots of chairs too. They had a table with power for me at the front so we could blog. Ten steps behind me was a water cooler that I used a lot to fill my water bottle. The info booth had the items for sale and I snagged a brown Finals jackets and hats for the farm sitters. I also got the DVD package. I wanted to buy more but put myself on a budget. The jacket was the total budget; I had allotted $100 and the jacket was $99.
Ray Crabtree was the announcer and his smooth, silky voice keep us abreast of what was happening on the Nursery and Open fields, score wise, run order wise and anything that the spectators need to know about. Geri, Lana & Marty, Amy, Rick Mallouf, to name a few worked relentlessly to keep everything seamless. The sheep were provided by Don Gnos and were fat long yearling. There were North Country Cheviots, Suffolk, Coops and crosses. All with attitude and willing to take on anyone and anybody.  Push too hard and they ran like gazelle, no push and they would be stone. Give a little on the pressure and they would leaned hard on the dog and soon they took control. The different times of the day made a difference too. The day started off cool and crisp and finished that way also but in the middle, it was hot and the sun beat down on the landscape with no mercy.
We parked close to the Handler’s Tent since I had fracture my right arm in three places. I was the official blogger and had to carry my gear back and forth each day. Cheryl Necochea was wonderful and helped carry some of my gear and helped with my dogs. I owe her a big thanks.  The total runs blogged were 207 over six days and I also set up and pre-interviewed 60 handlers. I think I put in over 50 hours and wondered why I was so beat by 8 each night. Needless to say, it cut down on my socializing after hours at the Finals. Getty pulled the rig down for me as I can’t drive and let for a few days after my run. He went to Lake Tahoe to play some Frisbee golf. Cheryl and I hung out with each other pretty mush most of the week. It was great just hanging out with her and talking about dogs, life and airplanes.
 The Open field was about 450 yards and the last third of it was up a slope. Sheep were set and some blended in with the field so it was hard to see them sometimes. Most people sent to the away side as going on the come bye side was very wide and some dog went too wide. A few landed in the Nursery field.  The sheep pulled hard to the left and most of the fetches were offline. At the turn the sheep wanted to go to the exhaust which was directly behind them. The first line was in line of the setout pen and the cross turn proved difficult. The last turn got many people by surprise and many went low. The last leg was to the shedding ring and the sheep had no interest in shedding. Pens proved easy or difficult and a few marched them in. Usually there was one errant ewe that would slip to the backside of the pen and the dog and the ewe would do a little jig.
The judges were Alasdair MacRae, Michael Gallagher, Bevis Jordan and Bruce Fogt, Alasdair and Michael  judged the prelims of Open while Bruce and Bevis judged Nursery.
The Nursery field was up a gradual slope that caought many dogs unawares. The sheep would run and the dogs would work hard to cover. The post turn was close to the exhaust so the draw was enormous. The drive was long and very tough and sheep had no desire to go anywhere on the drive. It seemed like there was always an unruly ewe in each bunch who feared the pen and the team would time out. The course was quite tough.
I didn’t take many photos as I was blogging and my right arm was in a sling. I did take some and will post them later this week.  Janet Elliot of was the official photographer. I will be doing a feature on her too. My laptop died on Thursday so Getty took it to Klamath Falls to be fixed. Rick Mallouf loaned us his Mac so we stumbled around trying to figure out how to use it and blog. It was a real comedy of errors but we worked through it. You can read the prior blogs on this as well as the runs. I would dictate and the typist would type and then I would upload it. I really don’t remember any of the runs as I was concentrating on getting the information down. I had other folks help me blog and it gave me a break to take care of my dogs, watch my Nursery dog, Wynn be run by Scott or get some lunch. I appreciate all the people who stepped in to help as it takes a village to write a blog.
We  brought Tess, Maid and Nan along. Nan was the dog I was going to run. Tess needs help and she goes everywhere with me and Maid is moving up the ladder. I just got my new ruff tough kennels and they are superb. Look for a blog on those. I got them from Patrick Shannahan. I love my Outback trailer and especially so now that I got a new higher grade convertor so my batteries do not die during the night. I loved having the heat on and waking up  in a warm trailer. And then strolling to the Handler’s Tent for my hot coffee, snack and turn on the laptop to write the events of the day.
I got to see a bunch of old friends and meet new friends. I saw people that I met three years ago and came closer to them I got to meet new people from old friends, such as Lyle Lad who was introduced to me from Connie. Lyle and I had emailed back and forth but never meet until this year. Lyle won Nursery with her young Lucky. Lyle is down to earth to type of person and just a kind soul and I am happy she won.
Each night as I would walk back to my trailer, I would see rows of light, people laughing and black and white dogs running about.   It seemed each night there was some dinner event for the handlers and the wine flowed freely. I have some wine glass that are etched with the 2012 information and each time I drink a glass of wine, I will think fondly of this event. 
Tomorrow…more recaps.

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