Fast approaching his 90th birthday, Keith Satchwell is showing little sign of slowing down as he gets ready for the sheepdog trials at the Central Hawke's Bay A and P Show in Waipukurau tomorrow.
Mr Satchwell is set to run trusty canines Sue and Roy in the Purina Tux New Zealand Yarding Challenge, which has become one of the successes of the annual show.
Raised in Waipawa, from where he represented CHB in Ross Shield rugby in 1936, he later become a farmer at Tutira.
Speaking at his home near Hastings, he said that seven-year-old Sue and Roy, 6, are likely to be the last two dogs he will be trialing.
But with the CHB show out of the way, he expects to be at next month's Powdrell charity event near Wairoa. A regular at the CHB show, with numerous titles and a 1960 New Zealand championship to his name, Mr Satchwell is among many who've helped make it one of the biggest A and P Show dog trials in New Zealand. A total of 229 dogs are entered for the three-day event.
Veteran Fernhill trialist Don McLeod, Satchwell's chauffeur for the day, said that about a decade ago, the CHB Show trials were on the verge of folding.
"They've put a lot of work in," he said, noting how entries comfortably exceeded those of the Hawke's Bay Show a fortnight ago, when dog handlers were still in the midst of docking and other seasonal commitments.
CHB's timing is right, he said, and added: "Now it's huge. I can't think of any bigger."
The show, which finishes on Saturday, includes other events such as shearing and woolhandling championships and lawnmower racing, a popular spectator event in the oval, although struggling to maintain sufficient entries.