Darling Downs farmer and dog join team Australia
A DARLING Downs local will represent not only the region but the nation when Australia faces off against New Zealand in the international sheep dog trial.
Oakey local Roy Potticary has competed at working sheepdog trials for eight years and was recently selected to join the Australian team after success representing Queensland.
Despite a long time on the land, he said he got his start in the sport while working at the local high school.
"I worked at Oakey High School as an ag assistant and one of my students had a dog and was competing at the time," he said.
"He suggested I give it a try so I decided to have a go.
"I've always had sheep and cattle - I breed a few dorpers for fat lambs and cut a bit of hay."
Mr Potticary, along with fellow Oakey competitor Brenkris Stumpy, last year represented Queensland in the National Finals in South Australia.
This year, he took a father-and-son pair of dogs to compete in Campbelltown, Tasmania, with the younger dog selected to compete with him in the Australian team.
"My dog's name is Delrae Eddie - he's just a lovely dog and at three years old he's quite young to be selected for the Australian team," Mr Potticary said.
"It can be easy enough to get into the sport if you have had stock especially.
"If you've had no experience on the land, you need to learn to read your stock and train each dog.
"Like any sport, some people are just natural at it and have a better chance of scoring well, though there's a bit of luck involved when the three sheep account for about 50% of your score."
Mr Potticary said the most important factor in training was loving your dog.
Delrae Eddie, like many of his other dogs, is a border collie - a breed Mr Potticary said he preferred to train.
"I will start training my dogs from three months old and begin to teach them sides after a while, and take them to their first trial after a year," he said.
"The most rewarding part of competing in dog trials is having a pup and getting him to the stage where he learns he's a sheepdog and really starts to improve."