Sheepdog titles in Allora
THE Allora Showgrounds can boast the cream of Queensland sheepdog talent over this weekend, with dogs of kelpie and border collie extraction in numbers, along with more than 50 handlers and trainers battling it out in the 2011 Queensland Sheepdog Championships.
The handlers and dogs are among the most skilled in Australia, showing their prowess in 300 runs across the three days of the championships starting 7am tomorrow.
Now considered Australia’s best handler, Greg Prince from Dubbo will be in centre ring over the three days of the championships, defending the state title he won last year in Charleville.
Yangan handler Geoff Gibson will have his dog, Charlie’s Dusty, in Allora.
It is an exceptional performer and is Dog of the Year in Queensland this year.
Judges for the blue ribbon event are Gary Barker of Glen Innes, Oakey’s Roy Potticary and Gary Milgate of Yangan.
Mr Milgate, judge of the Novice section of the Championships, has officiated previously at state level, and has competed and won at state championship level.
Since becoming involved in training sheepdogs in 1982, Mr Milgate has gone on to win two Queensland titles – in 2007 and 2008.
In addition to these honours, he is the only Queensland resident to have won consecutive titles, and the first in 40 years to win with his favoured breed, the kelpie.
He will travel to New Zealand this year as judge/manager of the Australian side for the annual series against the “Kiwis” in Auckland.
The long-standing respected judge also officiated in an Australia/New Zealand televised challenge back in 1990.
New Zealand will return to Australia next year for the annual Trans Tasman series for the Wayleggo Cup.
The Wayleggo Cup was first presented by the New Zealand Sheep Dog Trial Association in 1994 for the Trans Tasman competition.
The New Zealanders currently hold the bragging rights after defeating the Aussies last year at Port Fairy in Victoria, after being defeated themselves on home soil at Taupo in 2009.
The Aussies have won the prestigious award on 11 occasions, to the Kiwis’ total of 14 titles.
Mr Milgate speaks highly of the Allora Showgrounds facility as a high-quality sheepdog trials venue.
“It is an excellent venue, the setting and main ring among the best you’ll see, always a convivial trial,” he said.
The 2011 Queensland Sheepdog Championships is a very special event to be hosted in Allora, and community members are encouraged to roll up at the showgrounds over the weekend and take in some of the action.
Admission is free and the event is catered for over the three days by the Allora Show Society.
The sheep in the centre of the Allora Show Ring on Friday, Saturday and Sunday may appear as nervous as a long-tailed dog in a room full of rocking chairs, but onlookers will see those sheep herded by some of our nation’s most outstanding dogs with the echoes of whistles and commands of some of Australia’s top sheep dog handlers sounding in the back ground.