One of the many tables at Amanda and Howell’s celebratory dinner. They won going away with a nearly flawless run. Howell took charge of the sheep and never accepted anything but perfect obedience from them. It was excellent.
Barbara ran well also but had a little trouble with Stella’s turnback. Derek was second with another really good go.
It was an excellent final with the sheep being very sheddable, resulting in many completed runs, unusual for Meeker.
I have one more practice on the morning and then we are all off to Carbondale for the finals.
Thursday was a down day for me. Went to the practice field on the morning to work all the dogs very briefly. Half an hour spread over three dogs goes very fast. Spent the rest of the day watching the runs and reading.
The running was either much better or there were much better handlers running. Many, many scores over the 60 point cutoff. Amanda especially got on very well, winning the day with Dorey.
Today turned out to be very tough running, with only one score in the 80s and one in the 70s. The worse day yet. Happily for me, running late in the day Joe proved up to the work and had a really good late afternoon run, winning the trial. Happy day for me.
Had a lovely handler’s banquet hosted by the Meeker committee. It was Mexican and delicious. After the trial they did the running order for tomorrow. Amanda is up early with Howell. The remainder of our dogs run after lunch. Wish us luck. 30 dogs will run with marked sheds and 12 dogs getting into the final
First day of running was tough. The sheep were happy to run in just about any direction. Some dogs struggled with the outrun, but mostly it was difficult sheep that destroyed hopes.
It took about a 60 to make the top eight cut for automatic inclusion in the semifinal. Shauna Gourley set an early high bar with an 80 that wasn’t met all day. Terry Warner got a 77 midday and at the end of the day Ron Burkey and his nursery dog, Rocky, scored a 74.
I had no luck with Nan, running a dismal 50. We missed every obstacle in a spectacular show of incompetence on both our parts. Oh well, tomorrow’s another day, I hope.
Is anyone actually reading this besides Heather??
(Editor’s Note: Does that really matter? Who is more important than I?)
Today was the big arrival day at Meeker. When I got here last night the parking area looked full, and another 30-40 rigs arrived today. We’re seriously packed in here now.
Not much happening. Did laundry. Had a nice long dog walk in the morning. Mary Minor and I went over and worked on the practice sheep. They mostly ran all the time except when they were standing next to the exhaust gate. I’m not sure anyone learned anything. I got to give my nursery dog, Lee, the first work since we left Dennis’s over a week ago. That alone seemed worthwhile. These trips are very hard on the young dogs. I’m going to try and get her over there a few more times this week.
The trial field looks great, a lot of grass. The infield from behind the fetch gates in is mowed and green. The rest is tall yellow grass. Will make spotting the sheep hard.
I run Nan tomorrow. Amanda and Barbara are also both running. They’re before me so I get to see what they do. Always good to get the take of some skilled handlers before attacking the course, especially one as tough as this one.
Didn’t have quite the day I’d hoped in the finals. Both dogs handled their outruns and turnbacks well, but Joe and I couldn’t manage to hold our she sheep and so never finished. Nan had a fighter in her first group and managed to completely lose her head on the fetches. Not like her and unfortunate, but that’s life.
I missed Amanda and Dorey’s triumphant run as I left during the lunch break and drove to Meeker. It’s about a 5 1/2 hour drive best done in either daylight or the dark because of all the deer and elk. I opted for daylight.
It’s a lively crispy morning here and we have a day to rest and do laundry and get ready to try and make another final. At least at Meeker there is room for many small successes, unlike Soldier Hollow. Meeker pays day money and pays all the finalists a fair share of the purse. I think that makes the trial much more enjoyable for everyone lucky enough to get in. It seems as if it’s getting as hard to get into trials as it is to win them
The quality of this day was fully revealed to me at its conclusion, when I had a really good run with Nan to qualify her for the final. It’s tough waiting until the end of the day to run, but it gave me an opportunity to watch many strategies on the course and make my own plans. Happily, it worked out.
Amanda ran early in the day and had a great run but no pen. Barbara ran in the mid-afternoon and did great, managing a perfect pen for an 85. Scott and Don won the day with 91. Ron Enzeroth and Mick had a good go they didn’t need, since they were already in, coming second. Nan was third. Dennis Gellings and Tess were the fifth team to qualify.
We’re all dinner now at the Zermatt. The running starts at 8:00 tomorrow. I can hardly wait. Good times.
Disappointing day for me and a few other people. Nan was up first and was great. Alas, she had a sheep that wanted to fight and kept attacking her. In spite of this we managed to get everything but only scored a 72 for 7th place. Nan was sure good. I’m really proud of her.
Amanda had more luck with Howell drawing a reasonable group and doing a good job with them.
Ran Joe at the end of the day and the best we could manage was a 74 for 5th place.
So that’s Amanda and me, each in with one. We will get another chance to get our second dogs in tomorrow. Amanda runs in the morning and I run near the end.
Exhausting day. I think the combination of altitude, heat, and tension, and I’m worn out.
The running was pretty good all day, although heat and wind diminished success during chunks of the day. We ran until almost 7:00 and the sheep seemed very sweet in the still, cool of the early evening. Of course, the sheep always look better for everyone else.
Bill Berhow started the day with quite a good run, scoring 74 and ultimately becoming the 5th place qualifier. The top five from each day qualify for the double lift. In the middle of the day I had a good run with Joe, scoring 79. My triumph was short lived though, as Tom Wilson with Meg and Luanne Twa with Gus both quickly bested me with 83s.
This remained the leader board until Ron Enzeroth and Mick had a smoking run, scoring 80 with no pen.
Barb Ray and Maverick ran very well but failed to pen out of the placings by a point. Amanda and Dorey got on well but missed a drive panel when her sheep took off running after the turn. That coupled with a failed pen just barely kept them off the leader board. They will both get another try and their dogs are running well, so they should have no problem next time.
I’m really pleased to have a dog through to the final. I’m up first in the morning with Nan. I hope it works for us.
Dennis and I got an early start working our dogs this morning, beating the heat. Open dogs worked terribly. I was ready to head home until my young dog cheered me up. Good to get the bad work out of the way before the main event.
Left Dennis’s at 9:09 intending to spend the night in western Wyoming. However, when I got to Utah there was plenty of daylight left and I drove on to Soldier Hollow.
Good to get where I was going. The parking is already half full with friends. Did some visiting and dog walking. Nothing too exciting. Mostly a day of driving with another 650 miles under our wheels. I have all day tomorrow to rest up before the running begins Friday. Very hot here when I arrived, in the 90s. I sure hope it cools off.
Editor’s Note: Welcome back, Bev!
Days of driving, best forgotten if I’m ever to make the trip again, have finally brought me to my friend’s home in Sundance, Wyoming. Dennis and Marlene Edwards have kindly put me up for the day to allow my dogs and me to adjust to both the increased altitude and the western sheep before we arrive at Soldier Hollow for the first competition of this adventure.
I’ve brought four dogs with me. I have Nan and Joe entered in all of the Open trials. My very young, 17 months, nursery dog Lee is along as well for some learning and a try at the nursery finals. The fourth dog on the trip is River, my third Open dog, an emergency back up in case something awful happens and I can’t run one of my principle dogs.
Dennis kindly rounded up some sheep for us in the morning, and we worked dogs for a couple of hours. Dennis has some great dogs, well accustomed to western sheep and able to handle any old ewe who comes their way. As an easterner, I much admire both his skill and his dog’s nonchalant approach to the western range ewes. I love working these big challenging sheep, but every time I come out here my dogs and I need a refresh on dog trailing western style. So lucky for us that Dennis offered one.
I was last here in May when Lee was running in her first trials. We stopped here and along with other friends all worked our young dogs. It was wonderful to see how much Lee has learned in the intervening three months. She’s still making mistakes but now looks like a real dog.
I love how I can drive 2,000 miles and my dogs still make the same mistakes! Oh well, I’ll work them again tomorrow before we go on to Utah and hope that in the night all their shortcomings miraculously disappeared.