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.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Taking Shape

Work Party...Where's Emil?
I've never put on a National Finals, but I am witnessing the birth of one first hand, and it's an awfully big job. Yesterday this hearty bunch  of women, Sam Nieslanik, and Emil Ludecke, worked all day long and did everything in their power to bring you the very best National Finals possible. I am in awe of the amount of work that was completed.

Found him!
Almost 20 volunteers showed up at 9am and immediately set about filling ankle-twisting badger holes, removing old barbed wire fence, widening gates, installing borrowed snow fence to keep wayward dogs off the trial field, and generally toiling under high altitude sunshine to do whatever was necessary. No whining, no complaining, no snipping, just getting down and dirty, and making a job of it.

Bridget builds a boulevard
Truck loads of rock and sand were delivered to smooth out a rough ranch road, and improve ingress and egress for RV'ers. Careful consideration is being given to handler parking, and every effort has been made to accommodate the biggest rigs, special requests, weird requests, silly requests, stupid requests, and make room for what is the greatest number of trailers ever brought to a finals. At last count there were almost 90 heading this way.

Linda and Lisbeth map it out
 Hard at work, Linda and Lisbeth have drawn a map to scale and marked off RV parking spaces for those many campers. They have made the 10-hour round trip drive from Ft. Collins, hoteling it overnight, at least 2 times to complete this important task. Watching and listening to them, all I can tell you is that we are very lucky they volunteered for this particular job. I couldn't even have begun the logistical nightmare, and my opinion is there aren't many who could have done it so well. You might want to give them an atta-girl when you see them. Or save time, and send them an email. Lots of work, thankless job.

Ellen Nieslanik delivers the goods
Speaking of lots of work...Ellen Nieslanik! While Bridget is busy pulling it all together on the ranch, it is Ellen who rides point, makes the calls, reins in the factions, and is works 'round the clock as we near the end game. From my vantage point, this woman is a managerial mammoth, and she makes it look easy, but I absolutely know better. Ellen has a grasp on the big picture, every single detail, AND, you should see her coil rusted barbed wire!

Sam Nieslanik, Nancy Penley, & Bert Nieslanik filling holes
All the while, there is a thriving horse boarding and training business going on here. Without exaggeration, there are probably 20 kids, plus amateurs, who ride here regularly, mothers in and out, not to mention Pony Club, clinics and horse shows. In a stunning display of support and loyalty, boarders, students and parents have pitched in to help with our National Finals. They've been selling dog sponsorships, tickets to a finals fund-raising showing of SweetGrass, the movie, as well as rolling up their sleeves at the work party. The spirit and bon ami' of the Strang Gang is a testament to the quality of the Strang Ranch.

Kate, mother of Emily
In the middle of all this is Bridget Strang, whose idea this was to begin with. In the face of nay-sayers, warnings, unwarranted criticism, some of the stupidest, most unfounded, long-distance complaints you can imagine, bad ideas, great personal effort, long hours at now 2 jobs, and very little hands-on experience, she simply moves forward. From her I am learning to rise above with a smile and a purpose. Plus, I sneak over to the ring now and then trying to learn anything I can watching her teach riding lesson after riding lesson after riding lesson, and still she finds time to load up, haul out, and work dogs with me at 5:30am!

More hats?
The 2011 National Sheepdog Finals is rapidly approaching. In fact, it's  less than 30 days away. After 2 years of planning, fund-raising, anticipating, preparation, and sweating the minutae, we're down to the short hairs in Carbondale, and this dog trial is beginning to come together. The community is behind it without a doubt. There have been demos 3 times at the local rodeo, and last night at a Chamber of Commerce mixer. 1 more is planned at the high school on 8/29. There are table tents in every restaurant and business that would have them, posters everywhere we could hang them, ongoing newspaper coverage, and a radio interview. Big posters will go up soon, and the hype continues.

Pulling it together
I hope you'll be pleased. I hope your dogs run better than you wish for, and I hope this finals exceeds your expectations. I wish you safe travel to and from, and nothing but happy memories when it's over. I recommend broiled meatloaf at The Pour House, (be sure and thank Skip for his unflagging support,) and if you're looking for a house or condo to rent during the event, please tell Lyn Kirchner at Amore' Realty that I sent you.

I have Barry's card if you need one fine mechanic, call Monica at Sudio 2 to get your roots done, and I can't wait for you to meet Mike and Kit, Bridget's parents, and our unimaginably gracious hosts. I hope you sincerely appreciate the efforts being made here, and that you successfully avoid any badger holes we missed in the hand's camp. Don't worry about that one too much, because there's another work day planned soon.


  1. Nice Blog..thanks!! Pass on the thanks also please!

  2. Thank everyone for all their hard work. I'm sorry I won't be able to thank you all in person.
    Mark Billadeau