The open handler's post at the first Saguaro stockdog trial :0)
This is how the sky looked every night
The players. I'm not sure how many 100's of range sheep they had, but they were recently sheared and in excellent health.
The trial grounds. There was enough room to hold the Nationals here. Look at all of the campers. And, of course, the Arizona sky was just breath taking.
Just another glorious evening at sunset.
Yoko trying to keep her sheep on line after a 500 yard outrun. Day 2, she got zero off her outrun, 2 off her lift and then it fell apart. For some reason, she feels the need to hurry the late afternoon grazing range sheep and grabs a heel. Darn her anyways. I retired her both days, but I was in good company. It was okay. At least she knows to bring me sheep. Hey, get me some Garcinia Cambrogia or something to lose 20-25 lbs. Lordy,Lordy…I wish I was forty. LOL You can see one of the fetch panels in this photo. They had Saguaro cacti on each panel. Way too cute. Class act!
For my non sheep dog friends. This is a trailer the range sheep came in…..the trial organizers have to rent the sheep. It is a HUGE undertaking. People have to guard the sheep at night from predators, keep them happy and healthy with feed and fresh water.
Lots of fancy rigs pull in for the trial. Here is a horse trailer with living quartets and a side out.
Fancy dog rig…simplistic tent for the humans :0)
It wasn't all work. I finally gave in and let Champ play with a girl he was especially fond of :0) I tried to keep a tight rein on him since this was his first trial. I wanted him to keep good work ethics. But, after his first run and I knew he was listening well on the trial field, I relaxed and let him have some dog fun.
Yoko and Champ…half sister and brother. I actually tried to tone down this photo by decreasing the saturation. It can't be done. This is how the sky was.
There were a zillion acres for the dogs to play and potty away from the campers and trial fields. It doesn't get much nicer than this. Only one rattler was killed that I know of.
Ron and Jennifer brought a stove and cowboy camp fire pit to do their barbecuing each evening. Ron cooked a rib eye steak for me Friday night that was cooked to perfection. Saturday night their rig has an outdoor TV (Satellite) and we watched the animal show called Shear Madness on Wild Nat. Geo or something like that. Jennifer had sold a dog to the gal starring on the show. We sat by the fire, ate s'mores and watched TV. Such GREAT fun. Especially, since I had NO cell reception with ATT there. I had to borrow a phone from someone to call and wish Wayne a Happy Birthday on Saturday. I guess I owe him :0)
I trialed Champ 3 times. He got better and better with each run. He ended up 4th out of 18 in nursery dogs on day one. His best buddy, Jean Singer was holding the set out sheep. He came in flat on his outrun, bypassed the sheep and gave Jean a big tail wagging kiss. Then his brain switched back on and he picked up his sheep. I laughed. I knew what he was going to do before I sent him when I saw Jean was holding his sheep. I started whistling him down before he reached her to no avail. He was going to say hi and that was the way it was going down. He lost 6 points on his outrun and lift…just enough to knock him out of first place and put him fourth, but it still was a qualifying leg for the nursery finals.
I was so nervous for Champ, I left my crook at the cone when I went to the pen. We had this big high headed ewe and I'm like….oh Suzanne, you idiot. Just as I finally got her head turned to the inside of the pen, time was called.
Day two he had a 0/0/2 on his outrun, lift and fetch. I could have put a ruler on his fetch. I sent him left since he had the last packet of sheep from the set-out. They leaned on him all the way down the fetch wanting to get to the exhaust. He held the pressure fabulously. We lost 2 points on our turn around the post because they were wide and wanting to run to the exhaust. We made our pen and missed both of the drive panels, but ended up 2nd by a point I think for another qualifying leg. I really tried to remember Patrick's penning tape and thankfully, this time I remembered my crook.
The last day I ran Champ in pro-novice. They used the range sheep again. I thought they were going to use a farm flock, but I happy they were sticking with the ramboullets. We were first up and I sent Champ to the right. Beautiful outrun and lift again. Dead on straight. He held the fetch nicely, but when they came around the post they bolted. They wanted back to the set out with all of their friends. Champ caught them and turned them onto the first drive panel. Missed it and had a sloppy cross drive, but somehow made the panels and made the pen. Over half of Champ's classes retired because the dogs and sheep were all over the place. I believe we ended up 2nd with a 71. Sometimes it is hard to be first up, because the judge doesn't have anything to go by. But, since the judge was Terry Perrish for PN and she had judged the open on day one, she had a pretty good idea :0)
Lots to work on, that's for sure. We still have very little moderation and pace on our drive. We need shorter flanks on our drive. I will review my Patrick Shannahan notes from my clinic with him and get to work with The Champ.
All in all, even with a flat tire on the freeway on the way home, it was a good trial. NICE people, SMILING people, and ORGANIZED people made this a very fun trial for me. I'm going to put in my two cents here. There is no reason for outright rudeness at a trial. Mean people suck. It was so nice to see a trial of this size run so beautifully. Kudos to all of them for making it such a pleasurable event.