September 27, 2015
Retired NSW sheep and beef farmer Laurie Slater established a new record at the Henty Machinery Field Days by taking out the three sheep field trial for the fourth year in succession.
The 81-year-old and his Border Collie Memate Stormy outclassed a strong line-up of handlers and their dogs in the Exelpet/Pedigree Pal Sheep Dog Trial run over the three days of the field days on September 22-24.
Laurie, of Murrumbateman, also filled third and fifth places place, stamping his dominance of the event over four years.
Filling the minor placings were John Perry, Bredbo, NSW, in second, Dave Sharp, Woodhill, Qld, fourth, Paul Elliott, Dubbo, NSW in sixth and Mick Hudson, Cobar, NSW, in seventh place.
Judging the event was Bill Paton, Koroit, Victoria.
Organiser Paul Darmody paid tribute to Laurie as a “great trialler and an ambassador for the sport’’.
“Laurie always takes the good with the bad,’’ Mr Darmody said.
Mr Slater paid tribute to his fellow competitors.
“They did a mighty job – I’m getting slower and I expect they will catch me eventually,’’ he said.
“I bought four dogs with me – Wondara Jules, Wondara River, Memate Stormy and Wondara Drift – and have a total of 12 in the team.
Mr Slater said winning Henty for the fourth time in a succession was a highlight of his career.
“Henty is one of the better competitions on the trialling calendar – they are all top competitors here and we are all good mates.
“I went a little bit better today as the sheep were touchy on Wednesday, I had to keep on the ball all the time.
“There is a lot involved in breaking in a dog and getting it up to that stage.’’
Meanwhile, the Exelpet/Pedigree Murray Valley Yard Dog Championships were dominated by Bill Luff, of Colac, with his dog Coopendale Floss.
This gives Mr Luff automatic entry to the NSW Championships in February.
Equal second was Peter Darmody, West Wyalong, with Strike, and Shane Maurer, Young, with Skipper.
Mr Maurer had also won the maiden trial with Victor, while Matt Lucas, Tumut, and Bully placed second.
Ben Johnston, Harden, and Wez won the novice with Michael Johnston, Woodstock, and Wally in second.
In the improver, Matt Sherwood, Goulburn, and Wonder, won the event, and Ben Johnston with Lucy in second.
Judge of the maiden event was Michael Johnston, Woodstock, Peter Darmody judged the novice class and Neil Taylor, Holbrook, the improver and open events.
The event, offering $4500 in prize money, drew entries from NSW, Victoria and South Australia.
Mr Darmody said the yard dog trials drew packed grand stands each day, with field day visitors asking plenty of questions.
“Competition was solid with the top pen of dogs scoring 90 and above, and the top six 93 and above,’’ he said.
“Bill Luff scored a 95 and 94 to win with the second places scores being 95 and 93.’’