The Kingston Sheepdog Trials has always been an annual event for me - joining up with old friends, meeting new friends, and watching the dogs. Not a year goes by without memories (as long as not too much liquor is consumed) are made.
This year was the 25th year that the handlers and dogs came to Grass Creek.
We would celebrate this time in style. A truly fascinating event would take place.
In the words of Dr. Seuss..."Do you like my hat?"
The fashion police came out.
But no tickets were written.
The men would have their attire as well - flashy hats and ties.
And the games would go on (this was just like the Olympics - Olympic village and everything). The four days would be full of watching dogs..
..some watched really close...
...and the judges watched closer.
On the other side of the coin, we would run our dogs...
I thought Kristi had the fancy shoes to run Wick, but it was to run away from the fuzz after the car she and Lee Lumb were renting was part of a sting operation.
The parking police, tougher than the RCMP - they get their man.
But I digress. I ran my dogs, hoping to do better than at 80 acres, and the first day showed promise.
Nearly a pen was done, but again, time would be a factor. A 75 was the final outcome of Gin's run...and by the end, and 85 was what I would need to get into the Double Lift - and I was feeling confident. That soon would crash to the ground. Usually the morning runs are good, the sheep want to work well, it is cool, yada, yada. I was first up with Gin, she had a perfect outrun and lift, and then the fetch...and in the group was a ewe that her own pair of running shoes. Speedy made it around the post and then towards the drive panels she would go, missing them, taking her buddies, and then directly to the bush...where that would end our run. Lady Luck must have slept in.
With Floss, I had retired the first day - her being her fast self brought the best (of the worst) in her lot. The second run would be better.
Actually her run was going quite nicely, I had done the shed, and the two went over the hill, she brought back one. I decided to take the three over the hill, hopefully to join up with the other and bring them all back...but only three came back. By the time I realized it, the single had flocked off and went to the bush...yet another DQ...but I was pleased with Floss-there will be a lot more trials in her future.
The sheep always had a hand to deal. Some went into the judge's tent to inform the judge how many marks he should take off.
Others would count themselves to sleep.
After a day of running, the evenings were filled with good friends, good food and good times.
We tipped the waiters well.
(Don't spend the Canadian Tire Money all in one place Andrew.)
There was dancing in the streets.
One night was full of announcements and presentations.
And after the presentations were over, the party would continue.
Some of us made an ass of ourselves. (Shame on you Kate Ash.)
During the trial, the police had to be in to control the crowds.
This was mostly because of the illegal gambling done on the race track.
I had bet on Porky to win this one.
Porky had his bacon fried.
The exhibitors market had something for everyone.
The last day would come and the double lift would be done - some in the torrential rains - but the fascinators held up.
Warren Mick showed us that chivalry is not dead.
As the day wore on, the sun would come out, and the spectators would fill up the park.
The sheep had their own fascinators.
Presentations were made to the judges - Colin Gordon and Patrick Shanahan.
By the end of the day, Amanda Milliken and Rozz would be crowned 2012 Canadian Champions (and Kevin Gretton would become $430 richer, yes Ontario Lottery Commission, that is Kevin Gretton).
The next day I would fly out, not having to rush, I spent the morning with the Hale Women.
A drive back to Ottawa, and the girls and I were on our way back to Saskatchewan.
Once again, the Kingston Sheepdog Trials were memorable, and a fun time was had. For those that haven't experience, it you should. You won't be disappointed - I surely haven't been!