Sunday, June 27, 2010

Summer Festivals - parades, demos and ribbon pulls

This past weekend we were invited to produce demonstrations at the Ellsworth Iowa Extravaganza. We packed up Jake, JJ, Weasel, Ricky, the sheep and the ducks and we were off.

The day began with a parade, here's Jake driving the sheep down the parade route.

Wayne then showed the crowd our Indian Runner ducks, fences...

We then had a ribbon pull for the kids. About 30 kids decended onto our sheep, in smaller groups divided up into age groups to race for a ribbon. We started with the little ones, figuring that the sheep would be calm.

This little guy was just thrilled to get a ribbon

We had a heck of a time getting these two close enough to pull a ribbon

A bit later the older kids took a turn, their enthusiasm got the best of the sheep, the snow fence could not hold them and off across the park they ran heading for the hills. But...Jake was there, off he went on a big out run gathering the sheep back up and returning them to their confines, to deal with the kids again.

Later in the day I demonstrating starting young dogs on stock. We had a great day and met lots of wonderful people that were amazed by what a well trained stock dog can do.
I have more pictures posted over at our website:

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Great Weekend of Cattle Dog Trials

Bob Johnson's Torrie at Elliott, IA

Wayne and Jake traveled down to Southern Iowa this past weekend for three days of cattledog trials that conclude with a invitation shoot out final that handlers have to qualify for. They take the top 4 Open dogs, top 2 Nursery dogs and the top 2 Pro/Novice dogs.

The first trial was held near Elliott, IA and produced by Jeff Mundorf. There were many top handlers and dogs in attendence including Bob Johnson with Ruby the current USBCHA Nursery Champion, who is also a littermate to our Bea (CR Leia Reed) and Juan Reyes with his dogs which hold the title of the USBCHA National Champion and Reserve Nursery Champion. Pete Carmichael, Jake's breeder was also there running Moon, Liz and Colt all of dogs that we saw work 3 1/2 years ago when we were up at Pete's place to pick Jake up as a pup.

Jake earned a 3rd place finish, a healthy payout check and our first USBCHA points, with any luck he will get qualified for the National Cattle Dog Finals this year. He is also trying to secure enough points to earn a slot in the Iowa Stock Dog Assoc. Open Handlers Finals. The top ten sheep dog and cattle dog handlers will be invited to a trial that will be held on September 11th in conjunction with the Iowa Rodeo Cowboys Assoc. Finals.

The next day they moved to the opposite side of the state, Keosauqua, IA for the second trial. This trial is normally held in Moravia but due to the all the rain it was relocated to the same facility as the Sunday trial. Saturday brought a 5th place finish along with a fraction of a USBCHA point and another check, every little bit helps.

Sunday was a tough day, Wayne was told that he was a shoe in on the finals, he just needed to complete as many obstacles as he could. He and Jake drew up a set that included a steer that didn't want to play, Jake spent quite a bit of time get it to think different. Finally the cattle were on there way through the course but unfortunatly they ran out of time just as the first steer was stepping onto the trailer (final obstacle). This landed them soundly in 7th place, out of the money and points but soundly in the finals.

Jake in the Finals Run

Mary Bolton wrote the following post on another discussion board, her's is a first hand account since I could not be there:

"I thought the "Grand Finale" of the weekend, the Shoot-Out competition at Gary's a most memorable event! The top two Nursery dogs, and the top two Pro/Novice dogs were pitted against the five top "Open" dogs for nine runs. $400 added money made the purse a whopping $850!!!

The course was interesting with five obstacles ending in a pen at the end of a stock trailer. Fourth obstacle being the pen and fifth the trailer. The handler could block the pen entrance but not go inside so the dog had to do the actual loading itself.

Bob Johnson had three of the nine dogs in this final test; a testament to his successful training/trialing over the weekend! (I expected he might well walk away with the winner and reserve both!) However, I found myself quietly routing for the other handler's who only had one shot each...;-)

Bob's first up with Tory(P/N) and laid down a smooth run of under five minutes with the course completed. The next few handler's can't quite get the job done even with heroic efforts! One more team completes the course, but, not beating Tory's time....she's leading the pack heading into the final two runs....Wayne and Jake run 8th followed by Bob with his "open" dog, Ruby.

Wayne and Jake quietly walk their stock around the course completing each obstacle calmly. The intensity picks up a bit as they complete the "Y" chute that flustered so many.They head to the pen and walk right in and the cattle start to mill a bit and a few well timed heels, by Jake, load the trailer in 4:30 to take the lead!( Bob's last run with Ruby is good,but, not quite fast enough...)Wayne and Jake are the WINNERS!!!! HUGE CONGRATS!!!"

Thank you Mary the great commentary,

Kicking around to change their direction

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Meet the new additions...sorry not puppies

JJ bringing the calves up from the pasture

Now that they are stopped, get them turned to go the other way

So, now you know what has been keeping me busy for the last month plus, bottle calves. They are Jersey and Jersey/Holstein Crosses. We get them in from Wisconsin when they are a day or so old. It's great fun keeping them healthy and getting through the first 2 weeks, but it's been worth it. The dogs are getting alot out of them, we will raise these up well into fall, and bring a new set in in a few weeks with the plan of eventually having 3-4 sets all at different ages.

BTW, JJ is for sale, JJ is a started dog that has a pretty good grasp of his directions and a stop. He is a natural head dog, not apt to heel but will if he has too. He has a great personality, loves being out in public and has shown a desire to work what ever you put him front of him, but I would not call him a super strong dog, he is not in a hurry to bite, but will and can when needed. He does get strong when teamed with a second dog. Give us a call if you think you can use him or if you know of anyone that can. 515-854-2060 or 608-334-4203, we are asking $800.00 for him (he is unregistered)

Time Heals All

My appoligies for being off line for so long. We have a bit of sad news to pass on, Vicki the retired female that we took in last year, who taught me some valuable lessons and also blessed us with a fine male pup named Ricky has passed on. It's been about a month and I just now can sit down and write about it. Vicki had a mass on her flank, we took her to the vet who felt that it was not in her best interest to operate, so, that same day we set her free. Just two days before she was out showing off for Stephanie, the livestock inspector impressing her with her ability to handle sheep and do it her way, totally blowing off my commands and corrections...ok I went soft on the old girl. I felt it was best to send her one before her body broke down any further, as it was she was beginning to have difficulties making it through the night and ever now and then was having difficulties getting up and lying down, depending on the weather.

Here's one of my favorite shots of Vicki that was taken last year when I ran her Pro-Novice at the Great Western Sheep Dog Challange, she was peaking around the hay bale trying to spot the sheep, to me she did not look like a 11 year old dog in this shot:

Rest in peace Vicki, and thank you for giving us one lone pup Ricky, he's a real fire cracker.