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, July 3, 2011

Kelly Creek Dog Trial

2010 Nat'l Champ, Patrick Shannahan at the post
Kelly Creek is a sheepdog fairyland with winding paths, bubbling brooks, grassy fields, deep, green ponds and a mountainous, snowcapped backdrop straight out of a Hollywood epic. Developed by an architect, and his now widowed wife, Patsy, it was masterfully designed for dogs. The sheepdog trial is several years old, and I have always heard good things about. The field is small, but challenging, with a short outrun, and a long cross-drive that simply laid us bare on day one. I ran 3 dogs, which means I had 6 attempts at the panels over 2 days. I think I was successful about 50% of the time. It was tough sledding, and it was hot.

Angling for foot-long cut-throat trout

The weather was a factor. It ranged from the mid 80's to the mid 90's, but the sheep seemed to feel it more than the dogs. We ran on fine-wool ewes that were strong, and unafraid to stand up to the dogs. Those touchy girls, the precipitous cross-drive and the heat made for low scores with 85 winning both days followed distantly by 70's and 60's that made up the top 5. Hats off to Shauna Gourley for trouncing us both days with her wee bitch Keli. Solid runs and repetitive scores of 85 took the big money, but she had to settle for 2nd place in a tie with Rob Miller and Rex on Sunday. The going was rocky except for those 3 runs.

Viewing Area
As if the trial wasn't good enough, Patsy arranged a band on Saturday nite, and we all kicked back in Adirondack chairs while the band played on, and uninhibited people showed us how to line dance. Not a bad way to spend an evening. A glass of grape, a recliner, some sing-along and fantastic company.

Very Entertaining on Saturday Night

Someone turned up the heat on day 2, but the sheep settled into the gig. The drive was reversed meaning that you cross-drove into the now familiar exhaust, and no matter how well the low side was protected, the ewes shuffled just in front of the panel, and juked us. At this trial, the trick was to get around without making too big of a mess, and finish. Shed, pen on the 1st day saw very few pens. Pen, single on the 2nd worked better, but not all that much. Out of 6 runs, I completed 1 with Mirk on Sunday, and it felt so damn good!

Likewise Entertaining (our Hostess Patsy in the sexy black dress)

Fresh from finals preparations on her family's Strang Ranch, Bridget came over and stayed with me to run good dog, Treat in the  nursery and got his 2nd, finals-qualifying nursery leg. Our judge, Lyle Lad spent the weekend in a treehouse, I mean platform suspended off the ground against a big tree. I kept looking for Tarzan to offset her Jane, but Lyle said she'd settle for Cheetah. That girl's an awful lot of fun to have around.

Bridget Strang & Lise Anderson entertaining Hawkeye, a Beagle puppy

I was pleased with all my dogs at one time or another throughout the weekend, which is really saying something. At this trial I was triple-entered running my Mirk and Star, and a student's dog named Buff. Star was 3rd on Saturday with Mirk and Buff finishing 5th and 8th on Sunday. After years of running lone-dog, Price, I cannot tell you how much fun, and how tiring it was running 3. I would just sit down after one run, and someone would say, "do you know you're  up in a few?" I liked it, and developed a real appreciation for hands who are always known to run multiple dogs in multiple divisions.

Mirk cooling off outside the exhaust
 When Kelly Creek was being developed I came up to work dogs one day with some friends. I came early to Salt Lake that year on my way to Soldier Hollow. What is now the trial field was the only thing completed at that time. From a hot shower in the barn to the fast-running ditch water for dog-cooling outside the exhaust, this place is ideal, and I hope they'll let me back in some day.

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