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.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Meeker Time

Jed loves children

A dog trial is never without controversy, and this year's at Meeker is the timing. In years past it's always been a 13 minute course. After the first run, which I am told timed out at the pen, our judge, Haley Howard shortened the clock to 11 minutes. That timing is the reason you are seeing such low scores. Almost no one is getting penned, few are getting a shed, and there are many hands who are barely making it to the shed ring where they are awarded their drive points. Just about everyone is having to step on the gas at some point and play beat the clock by throwing good stockmanship/handling out the window.

I have seen a few who had smooth runs, such as Karen Child, Amanda Milliken, Dennis Gellings, and I've heard about a few more, like Tommy Wilson and Sly and Chuck Riley. These good folks managed their way around efficiently to accomplish the shed, but still no pen. There just isn't enough time. If you fight a panel or two, you're likely out of luck, and I have seen many, many runs that used up half their time on the outrun, lift, and fetch only to time out without their drive points, or at least without their shed/pen. When you mix-sashimi the clock with the weather and the sheep, it's even tougher than usual here, and it's never been easy.

Last night was the art judging with wine and food for the taking. The art to be used for next years souveniers was chosen, as well as the people's choice award decided by the crowd. We used to go to a gallery in town for the event, but now it's held in a historic cabin that was moved onto the trial field some years back. Very rustic, very charming, and it looks so nice filled with light, musid and this year's submitted art. All previous year's posters are framed and hanging on the wall. That was a fun deal.

Guess what his name is...Can-do, aka doie. He was born front-legless

Since arriving here in Meeker, my timing has been off. It seems like if it could go wrong, it did, and I'm not talking about my running. In fact, even with a dismal score, that has been the highlight for me. My dog improved after SoHo, sometimes that's all you get, and I'm fairly content with it. Doesn't mean I'm happy about not advancing, but I always try to remember what we did right, and thankfully there's a bit of that.

I've been having other problems though that are mildly irritating. Yesterday got off to a bad start, then got worse. Jed woke up with the runs, and I waited too long to answer his whining. After cleaning his crate and food bowl, I started on my coffee. For some unknown reason, my generator wasn't charging my trailer batteries, and I could not get the coffee pot to perk. Eventually, I plugged it into my inverter which is positioned just high enough that I had to hold the coffee pot while it brewed. Awkward, but I finally got a cup of hot coffee. On my way out the door with my fresh brew, I remembered Jed was crated inside. I stupidly set my coffee go-cup on the floor and jumped him out. Evading my grasp he headed for the door and floored the coffee that I had just struggled to make. I don't understand the electrical problems I am having, but later when I checked, my batteries were drained despite the generator running for an hour. I chose to believe that all these challenges were an omen for a good run with Mirk in the afternoon. I was wrong.

I lost sleep last night over the prospect of running out of juice, but my friend, Ron Burkey, laid his hands on my generator this morning, and got some things straighened out. I still can't make coffee without holding the pot, but I was able to get the batteries charged on the trailer. I'll take it. Today was supposed to be Star's turn to shine at the exhaust. Again, my timing was off, and I missed our slot. I had 10:30am in my head, but we were scheduled for 7am. I was dealing with the generator around that time, and others were found to fill in. Star and I strolled over at what I thought was on time, only to be given the bad news. I just hate it when things don't go my way, but I can always accept it, even when I don't like it.

The clock is still short, so the scores continue to come in low. I'm pretty sure that even a low 50 will put you through, and we're about half-way through the last day of qualifying. Tommy Wilson added another 74 to the scoreboard, but there are still only three 70's. 30 dogs go through to the semi-finals tomorrow, then 12 to the final on Sunday. The wind has quieted today, it's cool with some high clouds. Good weather for the dogs, and the sheep seem more cooperative today. Meeker gives us fresh sheep for all 3 days of qualifying, and tomorrow will be the first day of re-run sheep. The sheep are usually better on Saturday.

1 comment:

  1. Looking back - it seems last year a score of 54 made it through and 52 did not. Projected cut line this year right now should be mid 40s to 50, so the scores are not far off of historical. Maybe a bit lower depending on the last few runs.

    There is a reason the whole sheepherding world knows the term "get Meekered". If it was easy it would not be the same.