Well, another year has gone by and I have competed in another, the 2016, World Stockdog Championship at the Calgary Stampede. How did we do…. average. Yes, three years at this trial and we have yet to get out of the average run category… yet, somehow, it is one of my favorite trials of the year.
I entered two dogs this year, both Australian Kelpies. My older main dog, Kuawarris VV Aider (Vaider) and, my 3 year old, Watkinsons Chuck Cheemo (Chuck). Vaider has run at the Calgary Stampede the last 3 years. This was Chucks first year. I expected the sheep to like Chuck and for Vaider to hold them a little too tightly; I was wrong. This year the sheep at the World Stockdog Championships, liked Vaider and were a little wary of Chuck.
These two dogs work differently. Vaider, holds stock together and wants to control their every move. Chuck is a little more loose in his style; allowing for the stock to move a little more freely. Vaider has a calming effect on sheep while Chuck seems to help cattle relax. They are expected to work both cattle and sheep and have learned to deal with the stock presented.
I am happy to be able to partner up with both of these dogs. They teach me things each day ( sometimes it is teaching me my weaknesses). Someday I hope to be the handler they deserve.
I did not make it into the finals again this year but, George Walker with his Kelpie, Gus, did. Congratulations to George and all the other competitors, that made it to the finals. Congratulations to all the competitors for: being there, being great ambassadors of our sport and, for being models of sportsmanship. Thank You to the Calgary Stampede for hosting the World Stockdog Championships.
Win, Lose, or Draw; see you all next year at The Calgary Stamped, World Stockdog Championships… 2017
*photo credit: Keith Viklund