Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Can We Top This?

Well, after a potlicker type of day, the third day of the extravaganza was yet to take place.  Yes, I was ready, surely the trial gods would not mock me yet a third day. Oh, but they can!  Yet another trip to the Dairy Queen for Floss (and the ice cream (ice queen) melted), and another few letters for Mitch for his alphabet type of weekend and I could sense once again, this wasn't going to be a great day. There was a glimmer of hope when I ran Gin - until I forgot how to shed, and the pen was a foreign concept to me - I do believe I got Hilltopped!  To have two potlicker days in a row - perhaps I should have bought a lottery ticket. A silent gather was done at the end of the day (by this time I was glad not to have to say anything), and the icing on the perverbial cake was placed on the day - yup, I seriously considered in taking up knitting.  Tabulations done, the top ten dogs for the double lift were determined.  Peter Gonnet had to be convinced to drive back after having left thinking he would not be getting into the fourth day.  Peter, would we play such a cruel joke to say you got in when you didn't - well yes, we would, but not on this day. 
Now, for some pictures of the day.
The fine details of dog trialing were explained to the spectators present.  The term "getting Hilltopped" will be in the new glossary in the near future.
The third day ended with a silent gather - I believe Joann Zoerb had to duct tape Ian's mouth closed for this event!
A potluck supper followed my potlicker day.

The handlers chowed down.
Awards were given out.
Dale showing off his Overall Open award for Ben.  
Stormy Winters stunned in winning overall Pro-Novice with Kate (just wait, he looks like that all of the time).
If your happy and you know it....
...clap your hands.
A few of the attentive judges that were there.  They were also attentive when they judged.
The potluck was done and bedtime came slightly earlier (because I collapsed and couldn't get up).  The next day would be the double lift - and there was much to do.  But I didn't plan for this.
It appeared something had its own potluck over the night.
We cleaned that up quickly, and Chris set off for work.
We had one more day of nursery runs, and I briefly thought I would pull Mitch out. I decided not to, placed on my crocks, put my cowboy hat on my head (which was kindly corrected by Peter since I had put it on backwards - come on, I was tired, give me a break) and set out to run Mitch.  I think the potlicker days were licked - I got a pen with Mitch.  Who would have thought?!?!  Perhaps I should run in my crocks from now on!  In the end, Norm Close won the day with his Craig, finishing second overall.  This guy called Scott Glen and Bliss won the whole kitten caboodle (what the hell is that anyways?)
Norm Close and I set up the double lift course, and jumped (okay, crawled slowly) onto Toad, my trusty steed, and set out to set out the first lot of sheep for all.  I did get some pictures that were taken by the talented Bev Sommer as she scribed for Norm Close (thanks Bev).
Dale and Ben's winning streak would end - (oh, yeah, Dale, can a borrow a couple of bucks since you won the Calgary Stampede?  I also hear he is going to judge it next year to give the rest of us a chance).
Peter and Taff ended up second with a score of 143.  Now aren't you glad you came back Peter?
Scott and Don would run a score of 150 and win the kitten caboodle (once again, what the hell is that!)
The day ended off with a driving competition.  Bev and Jock did a grand job!
Norm and Lexi would win it, and wait for it.....Floss won second (by 2 points down).  Now, if a certain dog by the name of Creed did not hear my whistles and start heading to the sheep, causing Chris to whistle, and then cause Floss to take his whistle, which had a direct negative effect on the sheep and their direction, I could have been a little bit richer.  Ah well, how do they say, that's dog trialing!
The stragglers at the end of the trial.
The pen of death would be defeated.
And, that was the end of the trial. (thanks J. Glen for picture)
Since we were in our garb, I asked Jenny to take a picture of Chris and I for our Christmas photo.
  Merry Christmas!  Only 150 days left before Christmas. (Okay, I digress, but it is 3 am in the morning as I am writing this, and my coffee is cold).
We got a few chores done, and then it was time to relax.  Being a hot weekend, all the ice melted (okay, I lied, I forgot to get some).  Chris, desperately for a drink (Chris Jobe that is), got her ice.  Chris (my Chris) - the host with the most (but least hair), made the ice. 
Step 1 - smash frozen water bottle on cement.
 Step 2.  Carve the end off. (as an aside, look at his Hawaii shirt - I heard him humming Some Beach, Some Where at the setout).
 Step 3. Place in bowl.
 Step 4. Enjoy!
I won't lie, we were dog tired. And so were our dogs.

By all accounts, everyone enjoyed the first Annual Hilltop Sheepdog Trial held in sunny McCord, Saskatchewan (did I say Annual - I must be nuts!)  Go ahead, mark it on your calendars.  Bet you can be Hilltopped and still smile about it - I am! 

Sunday, July 29, 2012

This Ain't Any Old Stinkin' Trial!

Well, only trial hosts will sympathize with me with this blog.  We get everything organized, make sure everything is in place and then we run the trial with no hitches right?  Then we run our own dogs, and really, when you think about it, there should be an "advantage" since they see the same piece of ground multiple times during the year.  However, and I know it to be true, somewhere during the trial there will be a pot licker type of day.  July 28th, was my pot licker day.  It started out with an encounter with a black and white kitty when the morning romp was done with the dogs.  Thankfully, only one of the hounds was hit, but the smell of Pepe La Pew was definitely in the air - and on Willy the JRT. Soon it would be time to start the second day of runs (for the non-dog trialing people this is the course runs for the dogs, not a medical condition).  Scores were better, which made for happier handlers - however I was not to be one of them.  First I ran Mitch, and the second run was to have letters, much like the day before.  No problem, the older dogs should do better - they know better.  Obviously Floss did not know better - some more letters put down.  I expect when I send my dogs that they will bring the sheep to me - a simple request.  Gin's ears will have to be checked since this request was ignored. Yet more letters - and they did  not spell fun.  After bad runs, there is the obligatory half hour where you go through all the emotions - disbelief, sadness, a sudden desire to jump off a bridge, a desire to take up bridge, and then a vow to fix things at the next training sessions.  Oh yes, another thing you plan is what you will drink later on to help with the pain.
Jaimie would become my assistant for the procedure - not the first time when she would be a medical assistant (note syringe).
As the watermelon was being filled, the trial still went on.  The day would end up to be a two tent type of day - it felt like the mercury was melting.
The runs carried on, and good runs would be seen.  Peter Gonnet was having a decent run, but in the end, he too was looking for a bridge, and someone to play cribbage with.
I helped to scribe a bit.  The judge's post was our Freightliner, and would like to explain this device that I am sure all truckers require.

A Bootie Brush - when you are on the road (or trials) for many days in a row without showering, you can rub your back end and remove any Klingon's present.  One size fits all.
But I digress.
I still would have one more run to do - with Floss.  Still, the cross drive panels would still be a challenge - and even though the $50 Peter Gonnet Cross Drive Award was not in effect-we all still tried to make those panels.  I am proud to say Floss made those panels - twice.  Once going through (or almost through), and then coming back.  How I see it, I should have $100 in my pocket for doing it twice.
During the trial, I had to take my assistant Jaimie to the vet clinic and treat a dog whose hip was displaced.  There was a little tug o'war involved, and the hip was back where it was supposed to be.  When we got back, the trial was done - it was nice to see that a trial can still go on without the host.
Dog chores were done, and then supper was done.
My friend Holly made a Caesar that would make Caesar roll in his grave.
Holly must be Catholic - Peace be with you!
I ate my supper - a high protein diet.
Eventually the watermelon arrived, and it was devoured (mostly by me).  Fruit is an integral part of any balanced diet.
Fed up, as in food intake, we all went our merry way to our beds.  Tomorrow would be another day. Hopefully not a pot licker day. 

Friday, July 27, 2012

Cowboy Up!!

Big girl panties on now....the first day of Hilltop Trial has been completed, and some should have possibly worn Depends - some for laughing until they peed themselves, and others for crapping their pants when the sheep had their way with them.  You know the sheep are winning when a score of 24 puts you in the top half of a class. 
I guess I had better start at the beginning.  After a couple of weeks of getting the trial ready - hay made and moved off, lawn mowed, prizes all obtained, making the running order, re-making the running order, re-making the running order again, the day was upon us and the Hilltop Trial was in full swing.  The last 24 hours was a blur - perhaps I should go to the optometrist!  The last thing I did before my head hit the pillow was to watch Coronation Street, and make sure we had enough steak for supper the next night for the judges.  Five-thirty in the morning came pretty early (that in itself is obvious), and last minute touches were done.  Knowing that Kingston has always dolled up their pen with flowers, I thought I would do the same with our pen.  Alas, the sheep ate all the flowers, so old Ferninad would have to do - he did not complain.
As some called it, it has been known the pen of death - the sheep would not be caught dead going into it.  Although the handler's died trying.
Chris got the flock of Ramboullets and made sure he had a good crew to help.  Scott and Fiona.
We all got together for a quick handler's meeting with Dale Montgomery - 11 minutes, back two on the head, pen. 
Some of us prayed, like Jennifer Glen. 
I had a little spiel said, and the Italian in me came out-Mamma Mia!

Cowboy up, this was going to be a ride!
I started out the trial with Floss, and in the end, a score of 47 wouldn't be all that bad.  As the day wore on, things would become even more western!
(don't worry, no animals were hurt in the making of this blog.)
All the handlers were in the same boat, hiking up their Depends, and seeing what the sheep gods would dish out.  I believe lamb stew should be served.
The water cooler would be a popular site during the day.
The day went by, and like all fun trials - bantering was done.  It was soon to be seen that the drive panels were going to be missed.  Peter Gonnet was heard to say (although he denies this - perhaps Pam should get him checked out) that he would give $50 to the first guy to make the drive panels.  However, full disclosure was not done.  I was running Floss in the Pro-Novice - and...yes, I am as suprised as many...she made the panels!  That 50 dollar bill soon melted when Floss flossed her teeth.  Bad doggy, no buscuit!
Apparently I had promised $50 for the first pen (since that obstacle was being a big obstacle).  The famous Ian Zoerb got her done with Zen. That was all you needed - some meditation.
The day went by, and we discussed the finer points....no we didn't.  Really it is like a family reunion of sorts.
One by one the dogs came and went.

And one by one, the sheep came and went.
Perhaps with a good sleep, their frame of mind will be better tomorrow. 
We got done, and Chris and I made supper (with the spectacular help from Jaimie VanRhyn) for the judges of the trial - Dale Montgomery, Scott (and Jenny) Glen, Peter Gonnet and Chris Jobe.  Corey Perry was on route, and would be here the next day to judge.  I think he may sharpen a pencil - lots of lead is left on the paper after a run.
Whoever said dog trialing was easy must have been on bad crack (and remember kids, say no to crack - pull up those pants!)