Reserve Champion is Vergil Holland and Brooke who happens to be a half sister to our Donnie (they share a father). 3rd place was the 2008 National Nursery Champions, Suzie Applegate and Buzz. Congratulations to all of them!
Donnie ended up in 4th place in the finals and made a heart stopping save in the shedding ring. His biggest shortcoming was his 2nd fetch. I had been praying for clouds to cover the sun since it was the warmest day of the whole finals. The thermometer would not have told you that it was very hot out but with the high elevation, that sun burned. The sheep didn't need excuses to be any heavier in the heat. My request was answered and just as Scott and Don took the field, it cooled down. Unfortunately, the clouds brought with them a wind that happened to be coming right from the 2nd lift point. Donnie couldn't hear Scott's whistles to stop or flank until he was well past the fetch gates. All he knew was that he had to bring them so he brought them - but on a very left hand fetch and lost all his points for that part of the run. On a good note, Donnie and Scott did a great shed and once again, Scott won the best shed trophy. He has now won it more times than anyone else starting in 2001 with Fly, 2002 with Cub, 2009 with Maid and now in 2011 with Don.
On the nursery field, the heavy sheep were the undoing of many of the youngsters. Many of them couldn't move them and it wasn't really a good time in their careers to come up against these kind of sheep. Traditionally, nursery is where you mold your future open dogs, not take away their confidence by putting them on sheep that can beat them. Nonetheless, some of them still got it done. Alasdair MacRae's Li showed particular strength in the first round and won it, but was called on a grip in the second round. Suzie Applegate's Tru (a big rough coated sable son of Alasdair's Nap) was third overall and showed great promise for the future. Bill Orr's Sly ended up as the Reserve Champion which wasn't a great surprise for us since we had seen him when we were last in Carbondale this past spring. He had ruled the sheep back then and did it again when it counted at the finals. The champion ended up being Amanda Milliken and Dorey. June moved them just fine but couldn't resist a chomp on a hock as she neared the post in her first run. Scott has plans for her this winter! Reba showed great heart and ended up in 11th place overall. You could tell these sheep were hard for her but every time Scott told her to get up and move them she did.
The town of Carbondale was charming and the people were welcoming. Everyone I met had been or was going to the trial and early estimates of the gate were 9,000 people and that was with a rain storm every afternoon! I heard several residents ask if we are coming back and I heard it is a possibility. I hope we do. Despite the troubles with the WiFi (which wasn't the fault of the hard working finals volunteers), it was a classy, quality finals that ranks right up there with Gettysburg (my favorite), Virginia and Klamath.
Scott and Reba get set for their first nursery run - they ended up 11th overall on very difficult sheep
In Don's qualifying run he had a lagging sheep that almost kept him out of the semi finals
Horses grazed on the top of the surrounding hills and had the best view of all - often they stopped eating to watch
Scott takes a risky shed with Maid in the semi finals - it didn't pay off as she gripped off right after the photo was taken
To the crowd's delight, (and Scott's) Donnie made a spectacular save and sent her back to the collared sheep
Donnie and Scott won the "Best Shed award". Scott has now won this award 4 times. More than anyone else.