Trial is off to a strong, dusty start. The sheep are tough to get off the top–quite a few dogs failed to lift or lost their sheep back to the set out.Once they get going they are pretty light and not too hard to get along with.
Amanda found her run with Clive "very disappointing." She got a 142, so Clive should have a chance to redeem himself in the semi-finals on Saturday. I too found my run very disappointing, but with a score of 135 there is much less chance of any redemption for Hemp at this trial.
The top scoring run of the day was a very tidy run by Candy Kennedy and Moss scoring 165.
We ran 38 dogs today getting done at at 4:00ish.
Canadian directors at the USBCHA directors meeting
I'm at the USBCHA Directors meeting now with Amanda and about 15 other people. Foods arriving, so that's the blog for today.
You all know by this point in my blog how fond I am of Walmarts as overnight stops on my travels. Well, I am here to tell you that Cabelas has got them beat. I'm currently residing at the Cabelas in Mitchell, SD,300 miles east of Sturgis. They have a parking area set aside for RVs, complete with a big two- or three-acre dog walk area. Now that's what I call hospitality.
The view from Cabelas
We had perfect weather for the last day of the finals. Very little wind, lovely clear skies, and while it got warmer as the day progressed, most of us were comfortable in a light jacket all day.
I'm sure by this time anyone interested in reading this knows the outcome of the trial. Bill had trouble with both of his outruns. Nothing serious, but he needed help. Most of the dogs found the outruns hard, although several handlers made them look easy, our winner, Ian Zoreb, among them. Along with Tricia MacRae and Dennis Gellings, he had nearly perfect outwork and won the best gather trophy as well as the National Finals.
Except for the outruns and some confusion at the beginning of the second fetch, a problem most of the dogs evidenced, leading us to suppose the hearing there to be poor, Bill worked exactly as I wanted. Any failings on the rest of our performance are my responsibility, not his. He was a champ, alas, a Reserve Champ. I believe I am now the undisputed USBCHA Reserve Champion, having proved I can almost win the Finals more times than anyone else.
In the afternoon Mirk, Herbert and I got a chance to trail 250 of the ewes from their feedlot up to the setout. Pushing the fairly reluctant big group up a big hill was nice work for Mirk. Every little bit helps make him the dog I hope he will be by next year.
We finished the awards by 5:00, and we were all pulling out by 5:30 just as the big semis came in to load the ewes. Another year gone and nothing left of my trip but the long drive home. On the whole I'm pleased with company in my truck. Mostly my guys did pretty well.Where we failed there was blame enough for the whole team. Next year we'll all do better, I hope.
Sheep being loaded as the trailer pulls out–an attempt at an artsy shot with the Iphone camera.
The main thing I remember from trips like this isn't the momentary bite of disappointment or the slightly longer lasting euphoria of success, it's the rest. Tubing with Marie and Amanda while our dogs tried to climb up our heads to avoid getting wet, BSing and exhausting sheep at the Finals, trailing sheep through the woods and (alas!) driving and driving and driving.
Lovely day, at least when I ran. Day started out slightly overcast and still. I ran sixth and it was very nice. Later in the day the wind came up, but since it blew pretty steady, if a bit hard, at the handler's backs or slightly off that it didn't interfere too much with the ability of folks to get around well. It blew pretty hard against the pen gate and definitely caused some problems there, though. For the most part, the sheep were very nice all day. They have all been run twice now and are much easier to handle. The will stop and look at the dog, but except for being a bit heavy didn't challenge nearly as much as previous go rounds.
Bill ran great. Perfect outrun. Good lift. Then we couldn't get the suckers back on line for the fetch. Fought them all the way to the panel and they never bent. Had Bill in front of them at one point and was afraid of causing him to go all the way around. So in the end I missed the fetch gate–a nearly unforgivable sin as anyone who has had a lesson with me knows. This served to really concentrate my attention, as I knew with a mistake this severe I couldn't afford another error.
We were in luck. The sheep walked the rest of the fetch and the drive like "old Jersey cows". Bill was great at the finish, saving us from my beginning mistake.
Libby Neider won the go around with a perfect run, one point better than Jim Valley's perfect run. Amanda is in as well with a great run in the wind. Herbert also ran in the difficult afternoon and scored well enough to get through. By the end of the day the wind was blowing hard and it was raining and very ugly out.
Running in a double lift final is such a treat you sure hate to be freezing half to death the whole time your out there.
I drew up 4th on the morning. I think a good draw. The course is very big and difficult, as it should be. The two groups of sheep will be spotted about 400 yards apart. Scary.
8:00 now. Just got back from dinner out with Alison Holmes and Sara Boudreau. It's not blowing as hard as it was, but it's blowing and raining. The dogs and I are all in the camper with the heat on. First time for the heat this season. Alas, I still need to walk them one more time.
One of the trial's hard-working cowboys
I sure hate running at the end of a big elimination trial like this.
So many bad runs, it's hard to visualize success.
Bill ran 146 out of 150 dogs. He was great. Nice outrun. I gave him an insurance whistle when he hit the tall grass, envisioning another crossover, but he didn't need it and my faintheartedness caused him to overrun. We had an adequate, not great, fetch: we got the panel, but the line was a bit wavy. Hard turn around the post. They never broke away as many groups have, but they sure did do some spinning and stamping. Good drive until the second drive gate. The sheep were leaning very hard upfield and the hearing was poor, so we ended up missing it. Good shed and a nice pen were a big help to our final score, 146, which gets us into the semi-finals.
Amanda wasn't as lucky with Clive; the sheep fought him hard at the turn, eating up time, and she didn't have time to pen. Her score with Clive did not get in, but she was firmly in with Ethel.
End of a long day
After the Nursery prizes, including the new Walt Jagger Memorial Trophy, the order for tomorrow's semi-finals was drawn. I drew up 5th. We are supposed to get high winds tomorrow afternoon, so in spite of the early runs being poor at Meeker I persist in hoping that I have drawn up well. Amanda and Herbert both drew up in the thirties. At least this way I won't have to wait so long to know my fate.
I'm waiting in my camper now for everyone to get ready. We are all headed out for dinner in the big city, Sturgis.
Not much to report today. More nice weather with a bit of wind. I ran Huck in Nursery. He did ok up to the turn, when one of the ewes went after him. He held his own, but he couldn't get her going again, and we retired.
Mirk waiting to exhaust
The Open running was the best yet. Many good scores and retire/DQs. The best score of the day was the second to last run by Herbert and Juno, which is high at 168.
Day started off cool and overcast. We had a few heavy rain showers during the day and even thunder this evening.
While several people had some good runs today, including our highest score thus far by Scott Glen and Maid, my day didn't go so well. Hemp crossed on his outrun in front of the sheep. The grass is mowed most of the way up the field except the last 50 yards or so. Hemp just decided the sheep weren't in the tall grass, and when I realized that he had made this stupid decision I wasn't fast enough with my redirect to prevent his acting upon it. The rest of our run was pretty good, but not nearly enough score to make up the lost ground.
The Nursery began around 10:00, run on yesterday's sheep. The going is pretty tough there. The sheep are still very hard in spite of the education they received on the Open field. There are about as many runs without scores as with. Huck runs 4th in the morning.
Amanda's almost-brand-new camper, post disaster.
Amanda is back in residence. Several handlers worked on her badly damaged camper off and on during the day and appear to have it at least sealed against the elements. I will allow her to relate her adventures on her own.
I don't know how any of us are ever going to get any work done, with the Finals and the World Trial running simultaneously, and literate bloggers posting information from all over the globe. I just wanted everyone to make sure to read Pearse Ward's great blog from the Finals site in Sturgis–reading his updates is the next best thing to being there!