The NSW Working Cattle Dog Trials will to be held at Alstonville Showground on Friday, May 15, Saturday, May 16 and Sunday, May 17. The event is being hosted by the Alstonville Show Society.
Friday’s action gets under way at noon. Starting time on Saturday is 7am and will run until about 5pm and Sunday its 7.30am and is expected to windup about 3pm-4pm.
First event on the program will be maiden/novice which are run in conjunction and then the open, followed by finals in all three events. Finals will be held on Sunday.
Admission for spectators is free. Food and refreshments will be available at the showgrounds.
Competitors will travel from Goulburn, New England, south-east Queensland and the Northern Rivers and there will be about 140 cattle dogs competing over the three days.
Cattle dog trialing is similar to sheep dog trialing and was actually ‘born’ at Bonalbo about 55 years ago. Since then the ‘sport’ has spread across Australia although it is strongest in NSW and Queensland.
It aims to show off the skills of the highly-trained working cattle dogs as well as those of the handlers.
The handler and the dog must guide three cattle through a series of three obstacles in a five-minute period.
The handler must stand still at each obstacle and, using only hand singles, voice commands or whistles instruct the dog to guide the cattle through a gate, a race and into a holding pen.
Points are awarded for each obstacle achieved and deducted for indiscretions such as the cattle going off course, the dog tail turning or the dog crossing between the cattle and the handler (this is a major, major no no).
The pointscore is out of 100.
Judges for the event will be Lewis Molloy, of Grafton, and Allan Fletcher, of Glen Innes.
The NSW Working Stock Dog Association Inc will hold its AGM in Alstonville during the weekend’s event, as well as its annual awards presentation, on Saturday night.
Anyone wanting further information about the cattle dog trials can contact Geoff McLennan on 6664 1215 after hours.
PICTURE: Dog trialling action at last weekend’s Bonalbo Show. Picture by GEOFF BATEMAN.