The annual Tux Yarding Challenge was held a month earlier than usual when the top 15 finalists contested the run-off at the Ohingaiti Sports grounds last week.
Normally held early August, the event was brought forward by club president Paul Evans to fit in with land and sheep owners the Henderson family's changes to their farming policy, with the dog trial held at a time to fit in with the new farming schedule.
The Ohingaiti Tux Yarding Challenge has, since its inception many years ago, been fortunate to have use of the Hendersons' sheep and facilities, the family supporting the event by putting their stock, yards and paddocks at the club's disposal.
With a good number of entries - more than 200 dogs - it was a very busy few days. The weather was kind but cold, and the sheep worked well over the four days, resulting in some very high qualifying points.
The Hawke's Bay centre was well represented in the run-off, with five dogs.
The run-off of finalists was a true test of dog and man, with fresh sheep - and all but one completed the course.
In his first Tux Yarding Challenge run-off, Jamie Shrubsall, who has been in the Wanganui centre for nearly five years - working for the first four years at Tunapara Station under the watchful eye of Bruce Parkinson and now managing a344ha property at Mataroa - put up a cool, calm and oh-so-smooth driving display with his dog Whip to take top honours with a 99-point run.
In 2017 Shrubsall, a member of the Mataroa club, did the Young Gun circuit, winning the huntaway section with Stag, and this season Whip was the top heading dog in the Wanganui Centre with 18 points.
Bob Bruce and the well-performed Susan took second spot and 2016 and 2017 winner with Bryte, Paul Evans, had to settle for third with his dog Richie.
Laura Geering and Prince, finalists three years in a row, made a valiant effort for ninth spot, while Brenda O'Leary and Tote, from the Parapara/Makirikiri club, was the only other woman to make the run-off.
1, J Shrubsall & Whip 99; 2, B Bruce & Susan 98.75; 3, P Evans & Richie 98; 4, B Arends & Roy 97; 5, C Redmond & Watch 96.5; 6, C Lee & Shelia 95; 7, B O'Leary & Tote 93.5; 8, P Williams & Trump 92; 9, L Geering & Prince 90; 10, B Berger & Rose 87.5; 11, P Evans & Bryte 85; 12, B Strong & Queen 83.5; 13, B Bruce & Jaco 81; 14, C Baker & Eve 80; 15, P Campbell & Pace 45.5.
The maiden/novice competitor to go through to finals later in the year was Michael Bloxham and his dog Stump from Smedley Station, Hawke's Bay.
A separate transtasman event was held on three days in conjunction with the Tux Yarding Challenge.
Thursday: 1, G Drake & Clyde 96; 2, P Evans & Richie 95; W Falkner & Silk 92. Maiden: S Martin & Stretch.
Friday: 1, K Oliver & Shy 95; 2, J Foss & Dell 91.5; 3, G Northcott & Amy 90.5. Maiden: R McCormack & Hayes.
Saturday: B Bruce & Susan 94.5; 2, B Strong & Queen 90.5; 3, M Cameron & Grace 90. Maiden: C Robertson & Ella.