A sheep dog trial which was to have opened the club trials season in Hawke's Bay has had to be cancelled because the property on which the two-day event was to be held has been sold.

The Waikoau trials were to have been held on Friday and Saturday next week, February 2-3, but the cancellation was announced last week by club and Hawke's Bay centre president Clark Chrystal.

The club had been told the property would no longer be available for the trials.

The first trial in the season-proper — with the Te Aute trials having been held in November to alleviate issues with the property where it will in May host the North Island championships — will now be at Omakere on February 8-9.

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The Wairarapa and Southern Hawke's Bay centre season opens next week at Tinui, east of Masterton, and the Poverty Bay season opens simultaneously at Whatatutu.

Mr Chrystal said it's thought to be more than 30 years since a Waikoau sheep dog trial was last cancelled.

"I think it was a flood or something like that," he said.

"We've done fairly well over the years, we seem to have weathered most of the droughts."

The club is looking for an alternative now that the property used for its trials for about the past six years is no longer available and at least one option is being looked at.

"But it's not going to happen this year," he said.

"So we've just got to move on."

There are now 11 club trials scheduled for the season in the Hawke's Bay centre, with trialists and their dogs also taking in trials in neighbouring centres Wairarapa SHB, Poverty Bay and Wanganui.

Mr Chrystal said that with about 157 clubs staging trials throughout the country it is inevitable some will go out of existence for a variety of reasons, including less sheep farming in their areas and as a result fewer sheepfarmers and shepherds to keep the clubs alive.

Some trialists have already had a busy start to the new year, with 99 contesting the Wairoa A and P Show trial on Friday and Saturday, won by Poverty Bay trialist Noddy Halley and Lad, and the one-day Putere local trial will be held this Saturday.

Among the vanquished was Te Aute club trialist and former Hawke's Bay centre president Bob Bruce who won the New Zealand championship's long head title yesterday with star performer Cheat.

There was no such success on Saturday, none of his three dogs at the show qualifying for the nine-dog runoff.

Hawke's Bay centre sheep dog trials this season are:
February 8-9, Omakere; February 9-10, Waimarama/Maraetotara; February 16-17, Te Pohue; February 23-24, Takapau; March 2-3, Patoka; March 8-9, Wairoa; March 17-18, Mohaka; March 22-23, Tikokino; April 6-7, Okawa; April 13-14, Taradale; April 20-21, Petane.
Neighbouring trials in Wairarapa and Southern Hawke's Bay are at Dannevirke on February 10-11, Weber March 4-5, Kumeroa March 16-17, Makotuku March 23-24, the East Coast club trials at Porangahau on April 6-7, in Poverty Bay centre at Ruakituri on March 9-10, and in the Wanganui centre the Moawhango trials on March 22-23.
Wairoa Show: Noddy Halley, Lad, 97.5pts, 1; Leo Jacentho, Smoke, 96pts, 2; Fraser Taylor, Syd, 94pts, 3; Larry Hoole, Dawn, 92.75pts, 4; Jamie Powdrell, Jet, 90.5pts, 5.