The 2017 New England Championship Trials were held at the Tenterfield Showground over the weekend, under threatening skies but the program was completed without drama.
Organiser Tony Mitchell said competitor numbers were down a little on previous years, probably due to a conflict with another major sheepdog trial in Victoria.
“We lost a few people, but there’s not normally a clash.”
He expects to see numbers rebound next year, but in the meantime he said all the competitors and spectators appeared to enjoy the event.
Joy Williams judged the New England Open Champion, which went to Maree Moran with Bailey on a total score of 116. She was followed by Garry Barker with Harley (80), Barry Knight with Hector (73), Ken Sykes with Joshua (55) and Dale Formosa with Freckle (45).
The Improver Trial was won by Garry Barker with Chase (85), ahead of John Crombie with Ben (70), and Barry Knight with Hector (57).
Jack Dwan judged the Novice Trial, also won by Garry Barker with Chase (170) ahead of Garry Barker this time with Rolly (158) then Eric Tighe with Sydney (155), Hughie Mitchell with Hobby (82) and Ken Sykes with Joshua (82).
In the Encourage Trial, judged by Barry Knight, Damien Veneris with Crush won on 137, followed by Cathy Gibson with Freckle (105) and Ken Gibson with Poppy (101).
The George and Joan Cooper Interstate Memorial Shield – a state-of-origin clash of teams made up of two open dogs and two novice dogs – was won by the Queensland team of Ken Sykes with Joshua, Michael Dungey with Hope, Barry Knight with Blondie and John Crombie with Ben.
The Ron Christie Memorial trophy was won by Dale Formosa with Freckle, for completing an open run in the fastest time of 12 minute, 11 seconds.
The Good Guy Trophy went to Maree Moran with Kildare Bailey, for the highest first round score in the open for a dog with a stud prefix.
Prizes were provided by major sponsor Coprice along with lots of support from local businesses.