Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Mendocino Eliminations RESDA Trial

Not a form of digestive upset, except for some of  the handlers (grin), the RESDA eliminations trial last Saturday was a sort of "tryout" to narrow the field from 24 open dogs to 8 for the finals at the Mendocino County Fair sheepdog trial to be held on September 18th. Always a big draw for the sheepdog trial fans in Boonville, the eliminations is a hotly-contested race to see who can make it into that elite eight during the fair. A beautiful buckle and prize money and mainly bragging rights, are all at stake in September.

I have never made it into the Mendocino finals. Most years I have never even tried to enter this nearly-mythical race. This year I thought I should try as Coal is doing pretty well in the RESDA world, middle of the pack most times and would do better if I could clean up my perpetual handler errors. But on Saturday we had one of those magic runs that you dream about. Hardly a hoof or paw out of place.

Coal ran dog #9 out of 24 dogs so I had to wait all day to see his score and if his run would hold up. I was fairly certain it was good but I wasn't certain about how judge and longtime handler/rancher Nancy Todd would see it from up in her perch in the judge's stand.

When the trial was over, Coal was the eliminations trial winner. He got 57 points out of a possible 60! I was shocked and delighted. I about wore out my "thank you" responding to everyone's congratulations. It was just a great run and it was all the dog...and I didn't do anything stupid. I am really thankful for such a wonderful dog who clicked in at the right time on the wily Johnson ranch woolies. We were definitely in that elite eight for the first time. Wow! Photos by Teri Tucker - thank you!

Coal's lift - straight down the arena center towards me

Coal on the fetch on the Boonville Green
We have turned the post (pen) and completed our fetch, and started to the first panel
Thank you, Dee S., I am at this point channelling your long-ago advice, "defense, DEE-fense!" to the first panel.
And the second panel is neatly completed.

Coal bringing them steadily toward the chute
Thru the chute they go...like buttah!
At the pen, breathing...
And in! Yes!
And that's how we came to have a nearly-clean run.


Amy Coapman said...

FANTASTIC! Way to go, Billy and Coal. Isn't it nice when things just get magic? Congratulations on your well-deserved win, and good luck at the Fair!

Billy said...

Thanks, Amy! ;-)

livin life said...

Atta girl!!! You guys are looking GREAT! Love the pictures!

Billy said...

Thanks Lora! Had a small world conversation involving you last nite! Too extraordinary! ;-)