September 26, 2014
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 third year in succession.
The 80-year-old and his six-year-old dog Wondara Drift outclassed a strong line-up of handlers and their dogs in the Pedigree Pal Sheep Dog Trial run over the three days of the field days on September 23-25.
Laurie, of Murrumbateman, also took second place with Memate Stormboy, while Greg Campbell, Sutherland’s Creek, Victoria, placed third with Trudy.
Ken Robinson, Quirindi, NSW, was fourth with his dog Lindsay’s Tiger, Charlie Cover, Yass, filled the fifth and seventh placings with Windeyer Guus and Windeyer Libby, and Brian Harrington, Deniliquin, was sixth with his dog Faybairn Mack.
The win for Laurie was made all the more remarkable as Drift is suffering from eyesight problems.
It capped a stellar year for the pair who won the Commonwealth Championships in Canberra and the NSW Championships in March.
This was backed by wins at Dubbo and Deniliquin before heading for Henty.
“It was bloody tough competition here at Henty,’’ Mr Slater said.
“Winning three years in a row is a big thing and a real feather in my cap.’’
Three out of his four dogs qualified for the finals at Henty, and he is unsure how much longer Drift can keep competing.
Organiser Paul Darmody paid tribute to Laurie as a “great bloke and competitor with a jovial attitude’’.
“Up until now the record had stood at two wins in a row – we thank Laurie for keeping on going for so many years.’’
Judge Phillip Swain, of Willowtree, NSW, said the standard was high despite “testing sheep’’.
“This is the first time I’ve been to Henty and it’s a pretty big trial on the calendar apart from the Nationals,’’ Mr Swain said.
Meanwhile, the Pedigree Murray Valley Yard Dog Championships were dominated by Peter Darmody, of Beckom, with his dog Wymbimbie Swig.
This gives Mr Darmody automatic entry to the NSW Championships at Jindabyne in February.
He said the Henty event drew 31 handlers and 130 dogs from NSW, South Australia, Victoria and Tasmania.
The open and improver class judge was Larry Wallace, Dalgety, NSW.
Matt Sherwood, Goulburn, won the maiden class with his dog Madgee, and placed second with Joel.
Bill Luff, Colac, won the novice with his dog Quinn, while Shane Maurer, Boorowa, was second with Victa.
Shane Maurer went on to win the improver class with Spider, and Alan Rutter, Tumut, was second with his dog Penny.
Mitch Duffy, Grenfell, and his dog Trip were runners-up in the Murray Valley championships, followed by Kevin Howell, Eugowra, with Karana Tige.
Equal fourth were Alan Rutter, and Penny, and Peter Darmody, and his dog Wymbimbie Butch.