Friday, August 24, 2012

The Cedarville Experience

We are in Northern California at Geri Byrne's place for Scott to do a clinic.  A couple of weeks ago, Geri asked us innocently if we'd like to go to a fun arena trial in Cedarville the night before the clinic.  Sure, I said.  I mean, Scott and I are pretty good at arena trials.  He won the Calgary Stampede twice and I was Reserve Champion once.  I was sure we could do a good showing at this little trial.  When I got there, I looked at the course drawing and said to someone, "Are we supposed to have the sheep go around the handler at the post?" 
I was told, "Whatever you want to do.  There are no rules." 
So then I asked someone else, "When does the time start?  When the gate closes or when you send your dog?" 
I was told, "When the gate closes.  Just kidding.  I'm making that up.  No one really knows." 
So this is just for fun then? 
There was a swell belt buckle up for the winners of each class.  Geri proudly showed me hers from last year with her Danny dog. 
I want that. 
No way was I getting that. 
Laddie had the best lines.  No sheep came off the lines.  The problem was that they didn't want to go anywhere.  Laddie would take a step forward and they'd take one step back.  Just one.  Only one.  We made two panels in 5 minutes and never made it over to the chute, let alone the pen (which I  have been informed has only been made about 3 times in the last 5 years)
Scott and Donnie went out to show us how it was done. 
Well, they showed us better than I did. 
They did actually make it to the pen but the sheep had no ideas about going in.  He had one Suffolk ewe who kept threatening to hit Donnie but she was all bluff.  Trouble was, when Don called her bluff, she kept trying it again and again.  She was very odd (to be nice).  There wasn't really supposed to be grips but if your dog was appropriate and hit a ewe that was looking at him and didn't hang on, you could stay on.  Donnie had a couple of hits.  I didn't let Laddie bite until we were informed we had only 30 seconds.  Then I told him to but it didn't make much of an impression on them. 
Weird sheep.
I'm sure you all know how June's run went.  I said "appropriate grips that didn't hang on".  June hit a shoulder, for a bit of a drag.  She moved on in the course and made her first couple of panels before the judge decided he just couldn't live with it and called her off.  Oh, well.  It was only $10 to enter. Scott and I were totally shut out of the prizes but our host Geri managed to run off with the second and 3rd place dog collars. 
Then 5 people were chosen for an extra run to try to put the sheep in a trailer at the end of the runs.  We had 3 minutes to do it.  Scott and I both got picked in the random draw.  Scott got them in the mouth with Don, and Laddie had them really looking in (I was running around alot to cover my side too - remember, there are no rules) but that was as far as it got.  Mike Hubbard took the no rules to a new level and grabbed a sheep and stuffed it in the back of the trailer and shut the door when he had 13 seconds left.  No one got the prize money  but they gave Mike a dollar for his effort and creativity.
We enjoyed the kids class quite a bit and there were several mini cowboys and girls there trying their hand at the sheep.  Some of them did better than me and Laddie.  Lana Rowley's daughter Katie was one of them and got second place in her class (Family friend Shawna went into the arena to help her but she didn't really need it).  She wasn't even nervous and will be one to watch out for in a couple of years.
This trial was a blast and taught me to not take every trial so seriously.  Some trials are just for fun.
I bet this guy could have done it better than Laddie and I!
Studying the competition
Katie Rowley confidently walks her dog to the post
Katie and Shawna move towards the chute
An early bluff on Donnie
Donnie makes the chute

Still trying to bluff Donnie at the pen, and now she's got her friends in on it
Geri Byrne pleading with her sheep to go in the pen
I'm sure you can guess how this confrontation ended with June

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