The Real Time Canine II

After spending 2 years writing the Real Time Canine, the adventure continues with The Real Time Canine II. Read along as I look for just the right puppy to continue the experience. After false starts with Tim and Jed, I am currently training young Tam, and Spot, which are both off to a strong start. Please visit the RTC II to read about training sessions as they occur.

Sunday, August 24, 2008


Willie Nelson refers to it as GTT or gone to Texas, which is what I was in the winter of 2004. I had always wanted to go to the Texas Winter Olympics, a series of sheepdog trials in the heart of Texas ..... in the middle of winter. Now you might wonder why I would want to do that, but I had heard about the tremendous hospitality, tough competition, tricky sheep, all night poker games and great food. Frankly, I couldn't resist. In this picture, taken at Butch Larson's trial in Del Rio, I'm standing beside a bon fire in about 7 layers of clothes (no, i'm not pregnant) trying and failing to stay warm with from left, Earnest Coggins, Bev Lambert, Hub Holmes, the late Ralph Pulfer, and my fellow road warrior, Chris Jobe with her little dog Lena. This is the road to Hub and Allison Holmes' ranch and one of 4 trials we went to. It's about 16 miles from the highway, on this road, to their ranch and you have to negotiate an utterly Texas invention called the "bump gate" in route. Actually you have to negotiate about 6 of them. They are huge, weighted, monstrous contraptions designed to be bumped by your pickup, to open and close automatically. No bumping for us as we were pulling an RV trailer, so I had to muscle each and every one by hand and the trip took us about 2 hours. I can tell you, though, that the trial, my favorite by far, was more than worth the effort. This photo shows me with Lalo at the set out pen. Lalo and his family live a few miles from the Holmes ranch across the border in Mexico, but Hub sometimes hires him to help on the ranch and, in this case, to do set out. We took turns helping him and when Hub wanted him to put out another set, he would say "catchy sheep", which apparently is Lalo-speak for more sheep please. As the trial was nearing an end, Lalo asked Hub if I might hire him to help me with my livestock in California. I guess Lalo has itchy feet and I made a friend in Texas. Chris Jobe and I are again trying to stay warm and watch the Holmes trial at the same time. This was the morning after the handler's dinner held in a wooden out building next to another wooden outbuilding where we adjourned after dinner for all night poker, whiskey and BS. This is one of my favorite trialing memories and I cannot recommend this series of trials enough if you want to test your dogs against the very best on tricky sheep in the heart of Texas. Please click here to visit the Texas Sheepdog Association for more information.

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