It was a day for real veterans as retired farmer Rod Mead and trusty dog Lad won the Hawke's Bay A and P Show's annual dog trials.
Now retired with wife Donna to a lifestyle block near Te Karaka, north of Gisborne, Mead is 75 and Lad is 10.
Mead and Lad were among a possible record entry of about 190 for the Hawke's Bay show trials – almost 30 up on the 2019 show entry and among several show sports that highlighted the thirst for competition and fraternity among those shut-out of most of their sports since the Covid-19 pandemic alert levels peaked with the lockdown in late March.
Mead ran four dogs in the trials which spanned three days, and headed an all-visitors podium with fellow veterans, and well-known Bob Bryson, also from the Gisborne region, and Neville Child, from Northland, claiming second and third places respectively in the 15-dog runoff on Friday afternoon.
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Peter Williams, with Ike, headed the Hawke's Bay competitors in fourth place, centre president Scott Wedd made the cut-off and was placed seventh with Dell, and Mohaka triallist Sheena Martin qualified two dogs into the runoff but was unable to reach the top money.
Meanwhile, the Hawke's Bay centre club trials season will get off to an early start with the Petane trials on December 11-12, the remainder of the 13-trials season set to resume with traditional season-opener Waikoau at the end of January.