The Canadian Championship and Western Canadian Finals are being held this year in Cranbrook, BC at the beautiful Pine Butte Ranch. The scenery is breathtaking with mountains on all sides, not the least of which are the Rocky mountains on our right. We are running at a different angle this year than we did in 2005. It makes the terrain less dramatic, but that year the sheep were very cooperative. If you need dramatic this year, you need not look any farther than the sheep. They are fine wools from a local Hutterite colony that are used to being worked by dogs in large groups. If you rushed them, one would usually leave or run over the fence behind the post and off through the spectators and then the parking lot. If you were too kind, you might keep them together and on line, but they took it as a sign of weakness and got heavy. There were the rare dogs (namely Jean and Dennis Gelling's dogs, Star and Jan) who kept the sheep calm and moving.
My dogs were working well and in a rare occasion, I was also not doing too bad. Laddie had a good outrun to the right and overran just to where he needed to at the top - it was a lucky break as he usually pulls up short. The judge (Faansie Basson) had asked for the set out horse to back away from the sheep as the dog came around the top. Laddie followed the horse, assuming he had the sheep and when he noticed where they were, he was at a good spot. He needed a little coxing to bring them on but had a very good line to the fetch panels and looked like he was going to hit them but at the last minute they dashed around them. The rest of his run was nice but it was hard to get a flow and I was a little low across the crossdrive. He had a very nice pen, and shed and got an 81.
Scott and Maid were very mean and dashed my hopes for second place this afternoon with an 83 - his main problem was a high crossdrive and missing the crossdrive panels. He had a good finish and is sitting in a good spot for a double lift run.
Hemp ran when it was hot but I was lucky to have a cloud cover come over just as we went to the post. He was listening today and working with me and we had a nice run. There was one major wobble in front of the crossdrive panels. We were low but I had flanked him down to catch it when he took the wrong flank due to the pressure. The third leg of the drive is the typical place for him to grip so I decided to let the panel go and live to fight another day. He had a good shed and believe it or not, actually got a pen. He had two nice flanks at the pen to put them in the mouth and then I laid him down and did the rest myself so I could be sure he wouldn't mess up! He ended up with a 78, which was quite respectable.
Donnie ran towards the end of the day and drew a grumpy sheep. He missed the fetch panels, similarly to Laddie when the sheep dashed around at the last second. Scott had a difficult crossdrive and missed the panels high. He had a good shed but his leader sheep was not wanting to pen and kept dashing out. Donnie had to do some quick footwork to hold on to her and eventually got his pen. He tied Hemp with a 78 but likely lost on the outwork because he missed his fetch panels.
In the end, all the Alta-Pete dogs are sitting well to make a play for the double lift. Tomorrow they will be running open dogs 1-29 (this includes Laddie and Maid) on their second run and then will start and finish the first round of the nursery.
Pressure for me!
1. Jean Gellings and Star 87
2. Dennis Gellings and Jan 84
3. Scott Glen and Maid 83
4. Jennifer Glen and Lad 81
5. Brian Nelson and Sweep 79
6. Jennifer Glen and Hemp 78
7. Scott Glen and Don 78
8. Bev Lambert and Hemp 77
9., 10. (tie not broken)
Amanda Milliken and Clive 75
Wendy Schmaltz and Gin 75