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, September 12, 2010

Wanna Buy a Puppy?

Star watching from the exhaust

Not only is Jed the son of a former nursery champion, but as of today, he is the son of a Meeker champion as well. I figure that adds quite a bit to his value. Anyone want to buy a pup? Suzy Applegate and her stellar youngster, Buzz, were the clear winner with solid outwork, an effortless drive, and but for a few sheep out of the ring here and there, a smooth international shed and pen. Very well done. Very nice running.

Reserve champions, Emil Ludecke and Spot wasted no time getting both packets of sheep down the field. In his exuberance, Spot even circled them once on the first fetch, which likely cost him dearly. Spot also had a lengthy bobble at the drive away panels, but the team came together in the shedding ring for what was likely the smoothest international shed of the day. Emil took probably 8 or so head on his first cut, and it was fairly flawless after that followed by a quiet pen.

Karen Child (left) helping Chris Jobe with her duck demo

The sentimental award has to go to third place Berhow and Pete. At 11 years old, his experience showed and he got around with little fuss. It was in the shed where he slipped again, and just could not keep up with the Meeker sheep that got past him 3 times to re-join into one group, and Berhow timed out with completing the shed or the pen. Third place without either is a testament to that old dog's talent. I will miss seeing him run, as I'm sure he's headed into retirement sooner than later.

The heartbreak away goes to Mike Hanley and  Streak who were disqualified with a grip in the shed ring. That dog was diagnosed with significant hearing loss 2 days ago at a testing clinic given during the dog trial, and he made it all the way to the final anyway. Mike's wife, Laura stood by watching with a huge lump in her throat knowing that the dog was trying his best in spite of his handicap. In some ways it was heartbreaking to watch, but Streak ran out well, turned back but crossed on the second gather, then worked hard to get around the course. Laura assured us that Streak would be retireing to a warm place on her hearth.

Suzi and Buzz at the International Shed

Not everybody had such a great day. Bob Stephens retired on the drive away after his dog crossed over on the first gather, and continued to struggle thereafter. I had such high expectations for Lyle Lad after her first place finish in the semi-finals. I told her she's all tuned up for the finals now, and she's headed that way tomorrow. Beverly Lambert could only cajole Mirk to the top of the second gather. There he struggled and ended it with a grip. Tommy Wilson and Sly missed their fetch panels and part of one drive panel then timed out with 1 uncollared sheep left with the collars. Tommy is such a great sport, and a very funny man. As his sheep were being exhausted, he hooked an uncollared ewe with his crook, and the crowd went wild as he waved and smiled.

The last run of the day was Amanda Milliken and Clive, and there were many who expected her to take the lead. It was hot today, but there was some cloud cover and cooling when she went to the post. Clive ran out well, but would not listen to Amanda's flank whistles, and brought the sheep all the way down off line and below the fetch panel. Amanda had to flank him around to drive them back to the drop point before turning him back. Same story on the second fetch. She had precious little time in the shed ring, but I knew to watch carefully, because she is so sly at the shedding. I thanked her later for the clinic. Clive bumped then once at the pen, and I listened for Haley to comment, but Amanda went on to close the gate successfully being very careful with her dog who was quite hot and running out of patience.

...and penning

I got a bonus today too. Bruce Clatterbaugh, a Meeker Sheepdog board member, walked up, stuck his hand out and said "here's your money." I looked around to see who he was talking to, but then realized it was me. Completely unknown to me, I had won $60 for 4th place at the arena jackpot trial last night. I figure that brings me to about -$300 liftime in that event, because I have never so much as made a panel there before, and have always failed miserably. I wasn't even going to enter this year, because it's never been fun, and it turned out to be what I've done best on this trip. Mirky is an arena dog. Who knew?

The awards ceremony

Little Starman got the call today to exhaust for 3 of the finals runs, which meant he got to handle 20 head each time. Ellen Nieslanik had come to me and asked whether I thought my dog might grip. She was concerned about the spectators seeing unsportsmanlike conduct on the part of my dog. I commented that I wasn't sure he could move them, but I was sure he wouldn't grip. He's never seen these kind of big, mean sheep before, and certainly not in those numbers, so I had to help a bit. Bridget said he looked very stylish, and David Soppe tried to buy him. He made me an offer, and I replied that it wasn't enough. He said "I know." Then I told him that there was a number, but that wasn't it. He said "I know." Little Starman isn't for sale, and I'm sure he knows that as well.

The winners, organizers, bagpiper and set-out crew

On a melancholy note, Ellen Nieslanik, long time Meeker sheepdog board member, and veteran director retired this year. It's a lot to ask of a person to run this sheepdog institution year after year, and we gave her a good send off with much appreciation for what she brought to the event. Gus and Christine Halandras founded and ran the trial for many years before standing down. Ellen aptly filled those very big shoes while bringing admirable changes of her very own to the event. Her sister, Mary has stepped in, and will do a bang up job, but it won't be the same without Ellen.  

Tonight there are still a number of hands in the campground, which is unusal from my previous visits here. Usually it's just die-hards like me and Chris Jobe on the last night waiting for Monday morning to head out, which is exactly what I plan to do. Some are heading on to the finals in Virginia, others of us are heading home. Amanda Milliken isn't heading anywhere because the axels on her 1 year old Titanium 5th wheel are needing replacement. Major surgery not to be completed in this small town until tuesday giving her 3 precious days to haul ass half way across country and get to the finals. She's such a road warrior. Drive carefully beautiful.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for your updates on Meeker. Have enjoyed reading about the runs.