Tuesday, May 28, 2013

2013 North Carolina State Championships

The North Carolina State Championships, also known as Dr. Ben's is one of our favorite trials every year.  It's a place of good people, good food and, good runs. This year is the 29th year of the trial and you bet we'll be there for the 30th. It's a family trial put on by Dr. Ben and Emily Ousley in Lawndale, North Carolina.  Normally we fear the weather at this trial.  It's usually hot and humid but this year, it was a pleasant surprise to have the humidity blown away with a nice breeze and it topped out at 82F.  We got there thursday afternoon and parked on the hill under the tree and plugged in to the outlets provided for the campers.  We didn't need our air conditioning but it was still nice to have electricity and water for the whole weekend. Parked next to RC Tomlinson we, along with Debbie and Harold Bailey and Bobby Ford enjoyed the benefit of RC's breakfasts and deserts of berry dumplings with ice cream and strawberry shortcake.  Saturday and Sunday night we had  suppers made by the local church and the Ousley family and neighbors along with a bonfire.  Good country home cooking and desserts.  Yum!
Friday night we started with a nursery class and Scott used it as an opportunity to train on Skip and Alice.  Skip was having some trouble with his flanks and didn't bend out on his outrun and crossed so Scott retired him to make him take it but Alice did a nice job.  Scott wasn't happy that her stops weren't looking as good, but she still managed to win the class.  Ford had been working on his outrun this past week and I had plans to retire as soon as his run went bad but he was the only nursery dog to get out to the sheep nicely and without any help from me.  He started his lift well and although he missed his fetch gates he was under control on the fetch so I decided to go on in case we could get a leg. The drive on this course is difficult (the nursery runs the same course - outrun and drive as the open) but Ford is getting the hang of it and made both his panels.  When we got to the pen, he pulled his old games and everytime I tried to shut the gate he ran around the back to push the sheep back out.  Eventually we got the gate closed and were happy to learn we got his first nursery leg but I was still peeved about the pen.
Saturday morning we all had to be up early to get going on the open class because we had more entries than usual.  Hemp ran in a good spot in the morning.  He continued his streak of good runs and other than a rough start to the fetch, his run was pretty good.  These sheep are hard to shed and the judge (Peter Gonnett) wanted the last two on the head.  Hemp did it spectacularly, and we received complements from the judge after the run.  He got a 90 and placed 3rd for the day.  Scott ran June shortly after and she laid one down and other than a rough shed, there wasn't much off her run and she got a 96 to win the class.
Donnie was also at the top of his game but had a missed attempt on his shed and one sheep popped out of the pen before she was repenned. So Donnie had to give the win to his daughter but was right behind her with a 92 to place second in the class.
Laddie ran in the afternoon and he had a good hang of how to bring the sheep down the steep, terraced hill but when I tried to help him with some sweet whistles, he wouldn't take them.  I gave him hard whistles but it was too late and too much and he overflanked to miss the fetch panels.  His drive started nicely again but the same thing happened.  As soon as he needed my help the little whistles didn't take and the big ones were too much and he missed the drive away panels.  There was no way that was going to place so I retired his run to save time for the rest of the runs.  I wasn't sure if Laddie was not working well or if the sound had changed as it warmed up.  In years past, with the extreme heat, the sound had been a factor and it appeared that at that time of day, that was what was going on since the next few runs following us had similar problems.
The next morning it was Lad who had the better time to run and we pushed and pulled each other around the course.  We just haven't been able to get together this season to get a good score but we got around the course and finished, but with a non competitive score.
This day the trial was ending with a shed pen single and Donnie had trouble with his single and never got it. Fortunately, around the course he was very good and he managed a 91 which hung in there to get him into the top 3 overall and let him run in the double lift the next morning.
Hemp ran in the late afternoon and it was a similar run to the day before.  Not so good at the start of the fetch but then he settled in and finished nicely with a 94 and was 6th for the day.  I had to work a little harder to keep him in line but these nice dog broke  Katahdins aren't really his kind of sheep.  His overall score put him tied for first with Linda Fogt and her nice little, Jill bitch and earned him a spot in the double lift the next day.
Scott ended the day with June and we were all hoping she'd win again, and her fetch was making it look like they could but Scott said he forgot that the sound dropped off down in the hollow before the drive gates.  It only seems to happen when it warms up and most of the runs that day hadn't had the problem but as it warmed, it started to cause missed gates. The sheep got a little off line and Scott needed a flank to the comebye.  June didn't hear it right and not only took an away, she couldn't hear his stop whistle.  June is a fast little dog and before you knew it, she had headed the sheep and was bringing them back to Scott. Knowing there was no way of saving that run, he retired.
So the next morning we had a double lift of Linda Fogt and Jill, Scott and Don and Me and Hemp.
Linda ran first and made it look easy.  Perfect turn back, nice lines with all panels made and finished her shed and pen.  Scott started nice and Don was great on his turnback but the sheep were low and running on the crossdrive and 3 of them missed it.  In the shed, Scott said he couldn't get any flow and never got going much on it so rather than continue to struggle and frustrate Don, he retired.
Hemp and I ran last.  I didn't expect much because like I said at the Bluegrass double lift, he has been injured since last August and other than the turn back in Kentucky, he hasn't heard it in a year, let alone had a chance to practice the international shed. (which he doesn't really "get" anyway, and unfortunately he had a broken foot during our shedding clinic).  His first outrun was good but he was pushing hard and it was difficult controlling his aim.  We missed the first fetch panels but fortunately, we missed them high so it put him in a good position to make a turn back and he went on the first command nicely.  As he got higher up the terrace hill, I gave him a bend that he didn't take because he couldn't see the sheep and didn't believe me so he was too tight on his lift.  He  straightened out though to make his fetch panels.  He was pretty much running them around the course but made his drive panels and then we attempted the shed.  We got about halfway done before time was called but Hemp needs work on the concept of the shed so I was pretty much on my own.  Since Scott retired, and it was obvious that Linda had won, it made Hemp the North Carolina State Reserve Champion.  I was very proud of him.
We moved on to the nursery class after that and Scott retired Skip on the crossdrive when he missed a couple of flanks.  He was making sure he knew that he had done wrong so that Skip would be ready for the Open Ranch class that was following.  Alice ran out on her first outurn and had the sheep run off before she got there.  She regathered them up but the judge gave her a rerun.  Her second run was better but she was wasn't stopping and Scott wasn't happy with her so he retired her.  He's hoping he'll have a chance to work on her before the next trial so that she remembers what it means to stop.  Ford stopped on his outrun and I decided to help him once and then he stopped short at the top.  However, after that, he was alot better around the course and even opened up around the pen, but my timing was a little off and we had the sheep circle the pen anyway.  We finally got them in, and he let me close the gate so I was much happier with him but it wasn't good enough to get a leg.
In the open ranch, he stopped twice on the outrun and he needs to know we aren't playing that lazy game so I called him off.  Scott substituted Bliss for Alice so that she wouldn't get to take advantage of Scott again.  She ran very well and got second place in the class.  Skippy had obviously learned his lesson from the nursery and ran well enough to win the class!
We had one last dog to run, and that was Diane Pagel's Ben.  Ben has been trialing a little bit to get experience this year so that when he has his main nursery year next year, he'll be ready.  So we were very happy when Ben won his first trial in the Pro Novice!
Next year is the 30th anniversary of the NC State Championship and they are already looking forward to it, and so are we!
Open 1 (66 dogs)
1. Scott Glen and June 96
2. Scott Glen and Don 92
3. Jennifer Glen and Hemp 90
4. Anita Young and Mitch 87
5. Ken Arrendale and Mairi 87
6. Tricia MacRae and Jim 87
7. Vicky Wilcox and Pat 84

Open 2 (70 dogs)
1. Linda Fogt and Jill 102
2. Dwight Parker and Craig 96
3. Alasdair MacRae and Sweep 96
4. Emily Falk and Spain 95
5. Bruce Fogt and Wyn 95
6. Jennifer Glen and Hemp 94
7. Bob Washer and Clare 93
8. Robin French and Bill 92
9. Scott Glen and Don 91
10. Bob Washer and Brigs 91

Nursery 1 (8 dogs)
1. Scott Glen and Alice
2. Jennifer Glen and Ford

Nursery 2 (13 dogs)
1. Dee Penatzer and Floss 62
2. Bruce Fogt and Kate 56
3. Barry Zimmerman and Jip 52

Open Ranch (17 dogs)
1. Scott Glen and Skip 79
2. Scott Glen and Bliss 77
3. Lauren Seabolt and Ben 66
4. Charlie Hurt and Shep 63
5. Marianna Schreeder and Jane 58
6. Dee Penazter and Floss 59
Don puts all his sheep together in the double lift
Don and Scott work on the International Shed
Setting up Hemp for the first outrun of the double lift - photo by Debbie Bailey
Working on the International shed- photo by Debbie Bailey
Hemp 2013 North Carolina State Reserve Champion

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