Local characters Geoff Brown & Trevor Heaney along with their hard working dogs Fly, Meg, Rex and Fox. Photo Supplied

The organisers of the Lowburn Collie Dog Annual Trials were delighted that the event was able to proceed last Friday and Saturday, under the new Covid Red Traffic Light restrictions.

“It is especially important that we as a community keep our events going in these restricted times,” says committee member Kerry Chittock.

Under the restrictions, all competitors and staff needed to provide a vaccination pass on entry.

Secretary Pru Heaney says, “We are pretty lucky that we were not forced to cancel. We have about 40 entries, so we are very happy.

The cookhouse and bar have to remain closed to competitors and the public, and our usual barbecue and social night won’t go ahead, but we have to accept that.”

The trials are a test of the skills which are a part of the dogs’ normal working life.

Kerry explains that at each regional trials throughout New Zealand, competitors are able to gain points, necessary for entry to the South Island, North Island and National Championships.

A win in any event is worth five points, and the number of points earned diminishes to one point for a fifth place.

For this year, the South Island Championships are scheduled for Earnscleugh Station, and the North Island and Nationals will be held in the King Country.

Club Patron and Life Member, Richard Anderson, says, “We have hosted the South Island Championships four times – in 1962, 1972, 1982 and 2002.”

He is proud of the history of the club, which celebrated its centenary in 2014, and continues to support competitors to hone their dog training and handling skills.

Pru is especially grateful to the volunteers who assist with the preparation for the event, the ground stewards and helpers, the landowners and farmers who loaned their sheep for the event, and the many club sponsors – all of which make the trials possible.

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