Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Hold My American Beer And Watch This

I had planned the tour to the USA to start Monday after the Canadian Border Collie Association and Western Canadian Championships. After I had dropped off the blood samples at a Cranbrook veterinary clinic, I made my way down to the states....I was going to meander through a part of the states I had yet to explore. I crossed at a station where I was the lucky one to get stopped. I waited inside hoping they wouldn't find the vaccine that I had left over, or the needles. They waved me though, and I thought they probably looked at the state of Dora and thought they didn't have enough time to spare to rummage through it. I stopped at Eureka for a fill up, and then got a call from the vet clinic. "You need a Customs number to ship the blood over." Well, I knew I had done it before without any such number, and asked if they had ever sent blood to the States before. The answer was no, and a bunch of apologies and I got the feeling I wasn't going to get any help whatsoever. "I'll come back for the blood", was my response. So, 10 minutes after crossing the border, I was crossing the border again. "How long were you in the States?" "Ten minutes, I forgot something in Cranbrook." I don't think he heard me, since he asked if I had any major vehicle repair while I was in the States. I wanted to say "No, you idiot." but I thought better of it. In any case, I got back into Canada and back to Cranbrook to get the blood back, and then phoned the clinic in Wetaskawin and found the proper courier to use. I phoned them (FedEx), to find a drop off point, and answered the invisible lady on the other end of the phone. "Would you like to find a location close to where you are calling from?" Since it is a Calgary based phone, I was expecting the answer from Eunice(which I call all pretend prompt people on the end of business phones) to be somewhere in Calgary. "Cranbrook, British Columbia." was her answer. As I screamed into the phone since I was by that time 3 hours from Cranbrook, Eunice prompted, "That is not the correct answer, please try again." Oh, I tried again. "AAARRRRGGGGHHHHHH!!" Funny, I had the same response from Eunice again.

In the end, I found a drop off place in Calgary, and after the morning of cleaning out my Dora so the border patrol wouldn't have a second chance of finding contraband articles, I set out for the Soldier Hollow trip. I stopped at Naomi and Bill Shields to work the dogs after I had dropped off the blood in Calgary....during rush hour. What a misnomer. By the time I had worked on the quirks in the dogs, it was 8:30, and I set out for the south. I drove until I ran out of gas (me, not Dora). After a few hours of sleep, I started out again. Hopefully we will find another library that will have a computer, and the ongoing beer saga will continue.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Hold My Beer And Watch This Tour

Okay, I have to put up a blog or people may think I have succumbed to the wild and woolly ways of sheep dog trialing. I am afraid I am too knackered to put all the photos patient my pretties....they will be up soon. So use your imagination, and I will give you blow by blow account of the week of dog trialing.
Picture this.... Shaunovan, Saskatchewan.....flat field.....platform for one to look down the field...Stormy Winters on a platform....need I say more. Okay, nothing bad happened, but it had the potential of a catastrophe erupting. Jamie VanRyn hosted a great trial, and I had fun. I also discovered that Gin will try to crossover on my left side when I send her. No worries, I would fix her at the next trial heading west. I had a little more fun at the Maple Creek Sheepdog Classic...Chris's mom wasn't there so I could start my Hold My Beer And Watch This Tour. Faansi Basson was the judge for both of these trials...quick witted, but not as quick as I (quickest witt in the west). Now Maple Creek trial is a tough course, BIG hill and there is a cliff or two a dog may topple over. An afternoon get together with the Sommers, Gonnets (pronounced Gonay...who knew?), Jay (I forget his last name), Faansie and Ellmarie, Stormy Winters, Dale Montgomery and Wayne Roberts was done, and I crossed one more thing off my bucket list...chewing snuff. It was Wintergreen Mint.....very refreshing, and a great way to produce a cheap drunk! Ran the old hounds, and the young ones were not that bad...once in awhile. I thought I would send Gin on the left, and after asking Faansie to hold my beer, proceeded to watch my dog do the widest outrun I have ever seen her done. In spite of this, we tied for first and Norm Sommers and Lexie won the prize due to his outfield work.
Dale Montgomery was the overall winner with Zip (with Gin and I a close second) for the accumulated prize. Chris packed up his horses and his dogs, and I packed up my dogs (sidenote: we had left the terriers and some young border collies to be looked after by the neighbors teenage daughter while we were we were travelling light) and headed of to Chris Jobe's for the night for some quick tuning up and visiting. Some quick training was done, and the rest of the night involved some light hearted conversation with Chris Jobe, Faansie and Ellmarie Basson...and a 24 pack of Alberta Draft Beer. The killer was the coffee and Baileys...well actually Baileys and coffee.
The next day we packed up, and we headed off to Cranbrook for the Canadian and Western Canadian Championships. I immediately obtained a visit to the policeman's ball in the form of a speeding ticket about 20 minutes into the trip. I and Chris trickled in about 5:30 and had supper with Ray (the owner of PineButte Ranch) and Hugh, his right hand man. The going was tough the first day, but managed to tie for 1oth position in the open with Gin. I sent her to the right and had a Oh My God Will You Not Run So Wide outrun, but cleaned up the rest of the run. All I had to do was to do another run and I would be able to play again. However, this was not to be the case. I ran her from my right, and she had another orbiting outrun, but this time I couldn't pull up my britches and keep the rest of the points. We missed getting in by 10 points. Hell, it may as well as been 100 points. That day was to prove to be a testing day, I had mucked up a run with Gin, had pulled Floss out of nursery due to a limping leg , and got bit by a dog . Would have sent a sane man over the edge. Nope, not me....I just drank the pain away.
I helped set out on top with Chris so he could run as well. When the days were done, we usually ended up going to bed late after talking to Faansi and Ellmarie about their lives in South Africa. I think Chris wants to go find himself a jackal now.
So the last day, the big wigs got to do the double lift...with the likes of Scott and Jenny Glen, Jean and Denis Gellings, Amanda Milliken, Bevery Lambert, Gayle Cochlan, Randy Dye, George (soon to be Daddy) Stambulic, Ian Zoerb and Lisa Wright. The big Weener of the day was Scott and his dog Don and Denis Gellings and Jan. Scott collected a few more awards (including from the night prior when Reba won the nursery), but Don got the biggest reward. Possibly in 64 more days there will be a litter of pups from Gin.
So with my swollen arm I conclude the Canadian portion of the Hold My Beer And Watch This Tour...keep watch for the American tour as a trip to Utah is in the near future to Soldier Hollow.

Why Is Trialing So Exhausting

Could it be the early mornings? Perhaps the hours of driving to get to the trial. Nope, I know, it is the vast quantity of beverage consumed and a not so perfect liver needed to filter it. Wonder if I could find one on Kijiji.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

My Sheepish Friends.

So before I went on the worldwind of trips (Shaunovan Classic, Maple Creek Sheepdog classic, the Canadian and Western Canadian Championships, Soldier Hollow and the Worlds), there was a few jobs to do with the girls before we said our farewells.

The girls were packed into the barn, and then were given their Caseous Lymphadenitis vaccine. This is a disease that causes pussy lumps (there is no mewing involved for those who are unfamiliar with sheep).

Jenny the Donkey was none to happy about the arrangement. She really wanted to stay with her sheepish relatives.

The Watch Donkey watched as her sheep were dealt with.

Some people don't believe that a donkey can look after flocks - well, this year, we have not lost any lambs or sheep to the coyotes. Perhaps they don't like her singing and stay away. She sings in alto, alto loud and annoying to some.....but music to my ears!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Pinch Me...I Forgot Pincher Creek!!

Let us step back in time, to the Friday following the Stampede in Calgary. I took the day off from work so once again I could play with the dogs and have some time with my niece and nephew. Shawn Wells phoned some people up and invited us down to Pincher Creek, Alberta for a trial. The first go round would be on sheep, and then the second go round (for the top 5) would go on cattle.

I packed up Joey and his dog Joy and Hanna and went on Thursday night and slept at a motel - a little holiday in the eyes of the little ones.

As you can see, the stands were full of spectators. Shawn and his dog Jeff were the first ones to go.

Bill Reid and his dog also went through the paces.

Shawna Burton brought her dog Kate.
Dale Montgomery also came out with his Spot and Ben. Once again he showed he is the master of the pen. God I wish someone would stop inviting him to trials.

Dale and Ben showed their prowess in doing the arena trial.

Joey and Joy did their thing. Dale, watch out. One day this fellow will knock you off your pedestal!

Hannah made sure she had her dog trialling stick with her.

Hanna and Joey then borrowed my camera and took some candid shots.

Creed had a watchful eye on the proceedings.

Joey did some close up work of Gin...who needs a professional photographer...Joey will work for Jube Jubes.

The early morning trial time proved to be wearing on some of the competitors.

After the sheep arena, then the 5 top dogs went forward. It was Dale and his two dogs Ben and Spot, Shawna Burton and Kate, and me and Creed and Gin.

For the cattle arena sudden death, the stands filled up three-fold. Gin moved the doggies well. There was some splitting up during the run, and all obstacles weren't done by Gin.

Shawna and Kate went through the paces.

Dale and Spot showed the rest of us how to do it. In the end Dale won both 1st and 2nd, Kate won 3rd and Gin and Creed rounded off the top. Of course, they only paid to 3 spots, but it was fun nonetheless. One day day.

On our way home, we spotted some tee pees. I thought there was a pow wow on the reserve, so the kids and I took an unauthorized travel down a road. We found a yard on the reserve with a porche and a new camper (hard Canadian taxpayers monies at work), but we never did find the road to the tee pees. Found a road to the casino however.

Knowing how well Hannah and Joey can do the hula hoop, I thought I could drop them off at the reserve to pick up some dancing tips....they didn't think it was a good idea.

We ended up stopping in Nanton, Alberta for the best ice cream ever (highly recommended). I dropped my two fares off at their home, and then I went up to Wetaskawin up to work that night. I believe there was a total of 6 hours driving that day.....singing to Sugarland most of the money won...but memories made. Totally worth the trip.

Wild, Wet and Wooly Trialing!

After the Bow Classic Trial, we packed up (most of the dogs went with Chris to Mankota) and headed for home. Hanna informed me that she will be going to the next dog trial, and Matthew said he would be coming as well to Shaunavon - either to help set again or just to watch (may be another trialer in the midst!) Warren Mick stayed overnight at our place in Beiseker (sorry Warren for not being the hostess with the mostest). I kind of left Warren to his own devices as I got ready for the trip out to Ontario. We were taken to the airport, and Warren helped me get all my paraphernalia to the checkout counter.

I got Gin and Creed on the plane (Creed's first flight), and collected them at the other end in Ottawa. As I was waiting, who do I run into (almost literally) is Ken and Erin Price, flying in from Dawson Creek. They were to get their rented wheels outside of the airport, so we (being frugal) packed up everything (4 crates, 3 people and all the luggage) into my rental Sierra (good choice) and I dropped them off to get their van. We were supposed to drive out together, but they got lost somewhere, and I got into Kingston about 2 hours later. I had supper with the Hale family - my family away from home. This has turned out to be our mini-family reunion every year - me sacking out at their place, and barely seeing each other since it is all about dog trialing!

Creed and Gin settled in well at the Hale residence. This is the picture of their well kept lawn in Napanee, Ontario. Early next day the trial started, and I there early like everyone else, walking the lines.

These flowers were right on line for the crossdrive. An easy crossdrive to get (not!)

As you can see, the field was full of the flowers, gone was the backstop from the field, so some of the sheep ran quickly back to the setout. Ken and Creed were one of the early runners that day. The young Micheal Gallagher was the judge for the first two days, asking for a shed, pen and single. I ran later with my Creed (no I did not steal the name from Ken) in the afternoon. For being his 2nd open trial, he did pretty good - got a score, not letters!! For not getting a pen and single, I thought a 51 was not too bad.

The next day, I brought out Laura Hale and found this wild bird in the trial field.

Christine Koval christened the bird Isabella that night - after Carol Guy got personal and sexed the bird. No, it wasn't R rated activity.
Later that day, I sat with my class and watched the trial from the sidelines.

Creed was very stressed about the entire thing.

Creed ran pretty good both times, getting a score in the 50's, completing his sheds, but not getting the pens. I think I will bring him back again. Micheal's father Aiden judged the next two days, only wanting a shed and a pen out of the dogs.

I ran Gin (no pictures of that run), and got a 58 the first go round. It remained to be seen what would get into the double lift, and I predicted it to be about 144. A stellar run would have to be done to get into Sunday's festivities.

So that Friday night, I stayed over to watch the movie "Babe" which was going to be shown at dusk outside. Funny, I never did see the movie. There was a large dinner party held outside Viki Kidd's camper, there was a goose involved, a lady (tongue in cheek) named Linda Tesdahl (oh, my burning ears) and a lot of Sangria, and a lot of me telling them to turn down the movie. Robin French had the pleasure of me sleeping on her couch. My allergies acted up (please God, please tell me I am not allergic to Sangria) during the night, and I was up during the middle of the night, scratching away. Robin thought I was one of the dogs, and she whistled to keep them quiet. I thought she was running dogs in her sleep.

The next day was one of the biggest days for spectators (about 2200 people came on Saturday). A horse and wagon was used to bring the spectators from their cars to the action on the field. The action on the field was almost stopped due to nobody telling this driver not to drive on the trial field!

As Saturday progressed, the crowds got bigger, taking in all the action involved.

I ran towards the end of the day, knowing I had to have a 90 plus score to get into the double lift. I set up Gin on the left side, she saw the sheep, and I let her go........and she proceeded to try to crossover 7 feet in front of me (cha-ching, cha-ching goes the points). A quick flank and she went on the correct side.
By that time of the day, the girls were all fed up with the dogs, I don't think Gin helped any on the top, they came down fast, and missed the fetched panels. Maybe the judge wouldn't notice - I think he wore glasses.

The girls ran like they were in the Preakness. The crossdrive was quickly done and they ended up in the bush.

Aiden came down and told me to get my sorry excuse for a dog off the field (the bush was out of bounds). I wonder if I had hugged the post whether I could have stayed longer....I was having soooo much fun with that run!

That night, all runs completed, the famous handlers supper was done. This year's entertainment brought class in the form of opera singers.

I am not sure what they were singing about, but they sure had a set of lungs...approximately a C cup I believe.

And for some class in this blog....enjoy this musical interlude.

So the supper was done, and most people went home to lay there little heads on their pillows. Some of us remained and had a wee little party into the wee little hours. Aiden talked about his 17 hand horse at home, and we found this 17 hand steed in the back (17 hands in term of leprechaun measurements). I had planned to go home to Napanee, but someone had spiked the wine and I was in no shape to drive, however, I was in great party shape. I apologize to all if I said anything out of line...but then, suck it up princesses, if you can't party it up then go home to your mommas!! I am in training for the World Trial you know!!

Amanda started off the Double Lift the next day, and led most of the day with Rozz and a score of 144.

The judges were introduced to the crowd.

The City of Kingston gave the Gallaghers jackets for the occasion.

Besides watching the trial, there were the other sights to see as well, including the Birds of Prey. The police was in full force to keep the crowds in line.

The police dogs were out as well. Bite him George!

And the drug sniffing dog found the marijuana...medical grade of course.
I, being not in the double lift, helped out setting. There was a set that had a lame ewe, and a 20 point shed later, the ewe was replaced and a new one placed in its spot.

Jeanine Van der Mere and Jade (aka Jake) in the shedding ring - the dark horse!!

There wasn't any room on the walls of Amanda's house for pictures anyways!

My hero...still looking for an autograph Jeanine! Come on, throw me a bone...anything!

Well, 2011 Kingston Sheepdog Trial put in the history books again. Another fine time had by all. WestJet, look out, booking again for next year!

Now it is a short work period, my next few days will be vet related, then the next trial will be in Shaunavon and Maple Creek, Saskatchewan (the homeland), and then the Canadian/Western Canadian Championships in Cranbrook. Old Dora the Explorer, you had better be ready!!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Wild And Wooly Trialing!

Finally the blog for The Bow River Classic! I had worked like I was in a sweatshop for the past few months so I could have my down time with the dogs. So I left work, and then the next day, I packed up the dogs (9 border collies, and 7 jack russells) and my niece Hannah and her brothers Mathew and Joey in Dora the Explorer. I really wished I took a picture of our circus - I told Mathew it was like a big puzzle - to get all the dogs in and the kids and the kennels packed in, since Chris was going to take the dogs back to Mankota so I could do my next leg of my travels from Bassano.

We got to Bassano and found Ian and JoAnn Zoerb, Warren Mick (the judge) and Leeanne Huber at the local watering hole having supper. I and the kids were quickly asked to leave the premises - even when I noted the kids were just midgets - nonetheless children and liquor are not allowed in the same vicinity.

We got settled in our hotel room, and the mornings started early.

The dogs liked stretching their legs in the large lot that was outside the hotel.

The first day of trialing went off well, not sure where my camera was, but no pictures of that day. We (Chris and I) ended up putting the kids to bed that night-leaving their older brother in charge, and then having a nightcap with Stormy and his wife Pat, Jerry (the chef) and his better half Billie, Leanne (the super scribe) and Grant Armstrong - the owner of the trial field. Jack Daniels was also in attendance for the evening.

The next morning, Grant Armstrong flew in with Warren Mick to the trial field.

He then took Mathew and flew him to the set out pen where Mathew spent all weekend working the sheep.

Grant took him for a quick tour before he landed at the set out.

Chris made sure the first set was on the field by 7 am - taking his job very seriously. The horses we brought were broke to another thing - planes.

Partying was too much for some.

Chris and I did most of the setting, Mathew worked the pens. Thad Buckler, Peter Gonnet and Louanne Twa did a little cowboying as well during the weekend.

Joey took some of the pictures - I had run Creed (in his first open trial) and Floss during the weekend. Surprisingly, Creed did not too badly -completing the sheds I asked of him. Cripes, I may have another open dog in the making after all!

I even got to the pen with Floss - finishing 3rd in the nursery! Will wonders never cease.

No crossing over for Floss this weekend - she wouldn't dare!

Joey and Joy did their trialing as well - and got some competition from Hannah and Gin (who she says is her dog now).

Joey showed the rest of the handlers how a proper drive should be.

The team came very close in penning the old goats.

It was a scorching hot weekend, but visiting was still done. Jerry and Billie made a spectacular meal for us on Friday night -but we are still waiting for the corn.

I helped with the set out with Chris as well. No double lift for me and Gin, so it was an opportunity to bring the young dogs out to work off a horse.

The view from up top. Joanne and Mik working (at least I think that was Mik).

Milton and Bud helped to take the collars off the sheep - out of the 14 double lift dogs - I think there was only 1 that didn't complete the shed - says a lot for the western handlers!!

Scott and Maid won first, and his Don came in second.

Ian and JoAnn were the best hosts, and Warren did a great job judging.

The highlight for Joey was getting to ride with Grant in his plane (next to winning his cap for Junior Handler of course).

Then I got to ride in the plane (a winning raffle ticket!!) What a way to end the weekend!!

Grant Armstrong the pilot.

He took me for a tour over the countryside.

I am not sure how much he had drank - lots of times the plane wasn't level.

I asked where the barf bags were, but there were none to be had!

We flew over the Bassano Dam and searched for floaters - none were to be seen. A few fishermen unfortunately seem to end down stream every year.

One would have never known the scenery. Good way to check the cows.

Start of the badlands.

And the first time in this blogs history - video!! You have my blessing to live vicariously though me!!