The Northland leg of the Tux Yarding Challenge in Kaitaia last week proved particularly memorable thanks to record entries and a number of impressive performances on display from some of the best sheep dog triallists in the country with North Island championships up for grabs.
That winner of the North Island title in the main heading dog section went to the veteran pairing of Peter Green of Taihape with Teal.
Event spokesman Merv Cameron said the 82-year-old Green and his aged bitch locked in an impressive score in the final run-off.
"Age triumphed ... Even at his age, Green showed he could match the younger brigade by putting in a near faultless 95 pointed run. Truly amazing," said Cameron.
It was noted Robin Stephens of Te Kuiti had generously gifted Teal, "her best dog" to Green about 12 months ago "so he could keep going" after his top dog had to be put down.
Second and third placings were claimed by Graeme Northcott with Julz from Taranaki and Bob Bruce with Susan from Hawkes Bay respectively. Cameron himself just missed out on securing a top-five placing — and thus a berth at the nationals in January — by finishing 6th overall with Roy.
However, he was still pretty pleased that Roy was one of three brothers in the field of 15 contesting the North Island title; with all of the finalists competing strongly on relatively cooperative sheep.
The Northland leg of the Tux Yarding Challenge circuit at the Kaitaia A&P Showgrounds required a very full three days from Thursday to Saturday to complete with a total of 141 heading dogs entered in the yarding challenge and a further 40 huntaways in the various handy dog events.
First up was the Northland qualifying round of the yarding challenge on Thursday and Friday where the top six from both days qualified for the Saturday run-off. Coming out on top there were Leo Jecentho's Smoke and Laura Geering's Ella in 1st and 2nd, with both progressing into the North Island final.
The North Island maiden section was won by Dave Arnold with Ice. He was one of three smartly dressed Smedley Farm cadets at the challenge who impressed both competitors and onlookers with their attire, attitude and competitive nous.
The North Island final of the Handy Dog event was won by Gisborne's Noddy Halley and Jade, with Murray Child's experienced campaigner Frank and Jamie Shrubsall with Stag from the Wairarapa both pushing hard for the minor placings. Frank also placed second in the domestic Northland heat behind J Shrubsall and Stag.
Another highlight was the effort of Raetihi's Rangi Broad and his dog Scream in the North Island maiden event. The pair turned in a 95-point run to clearly win and then followed that up with another 95-point effort against the open class dogs to gain fifth place overall which Cameron noted was "pretty good for a maiden combination."
Elsewhere the hired security proved its worth with a person found amongst the sheep at 2am on Thursday morning in the oval. On behalf of the hosting Mangonui Sheep Dog Trial Club, Cameron gave many thanks to Landcorp Rangiputa for the use of the sheep, and a big thanks to all who helped make this year's trial a great success.
The Northland leg of the Tux Yarding Challenge series was held at the Kaitaia A&P Showgrounds — and run in conjunction with the North Island finals — from Thursday to Saturday, December 6-8. Results are as follows.
North Island final, top five: P Green and Teal 99 points, 1, G Northcott with Julz 98.5, 2, B Bruce with Susan 98.25, 3, N Child with Harry 98, 4, S Whiteman with Reign 97.75, 5; remaining placings were, M Cameron with Roy 96.5, 6, L Philburn with Meg 96.25, 7, N Halley with Deal 96, 8, P Evans with Richie 95, 9, J Shrubsall with Whip 92, 10, L Jecentho with Smoke 90.5, 11, N Halley with Lad 79, 12 [as seen in Tuesday's edition], L Geering with Ella 77, 13, B Bruce with Jacko 76.5, 14, B Milner with Spark 75, 15.North Island maiden run off: J Arnold, with Ice 95.5, 1, D Rosie with Girl 95, 2, M Bloxham with Stumpy 94, 3, J Bricknell with Rose 90, 4, J Joslin with Blaze 55.5, 5.Northland run off, top 5: L Jecentho with Smoke 98, 1, L Geering with Ella 97.5, 2, M Child with Nell 97.25, 3, L Gratton with Abby 97, 4, J Foss with Dell 96.75, 5; remaining placegetters were, M Cameron with Roy 95.75, 6, D Schaw with Pip 95.5, 7, S McRae with Cory 95, 8, R Stephens with Rod 93.5, 9, T Hargreaves with Tyga 93, 10, C Robertson with Ella 92, 11, P Green with Teal 90.5, 12.
And, Northland maiden: J Brinkley with Roy 89, 1, J Brinkley with Coup 79, 2.
The above events were all judged by Bob Berger.
North Island Open Final (Rex Hawkins): N Halley with Jade 98, 1, M Child with Frank 96.5, 2, J Shrubsall with Stag 96, 3, C Pearson with Ben 95.5, 4, R Broad with Scream 95, 5, A Exley with Coke 81, 6.
North Island maiden final: R Broad with Scream 95, 1, T Pikaahu with Zen 89, 2, C Bentley with Vizz 73.5, 3, S Makara with Titan 66, 4.
Northland final: J Shrubsall with Stag 97 .5, 1, M Child with Frank 96.5, 2, J Shrubsall with Torque 96, 3, R Broad with Scream 95.5, 4, C Pearson with Wilma 95, 5, C Pearson with Ted 94, 6; other placings were, J Shrubsall with Tar 7, N Halley with Funky 91.5, 8, M Child with Ralph 84, 9.
Northland maiden final: R Broad with Scream 95, 1, T Pikaahu with Zane 89, 2, C Bentley with Vizz 73.5, 3.
The above events were judged by R Hawkins.