With the North Island and New Zealand Sheep Dog Trial Championships looming at Te Ahuahu, near Kaikohe, on May 27-June 1, the big guns of the sport in Northland are tuning up their dogs with club competition to gain enough points to compete on the national stage.
Scott McRae, of Wellsford, scored 99 points with Corey to win the short head and yard second event in the Maungakaramea Sheep Dog Club trials on the Woolhouse family farm.
He just beat Neville Child, of Maungatapere, and Harry on 98.8 points with Neville's brother Murray Child, from Maungakaramea, shadowing them with Nell on 98.7 points, Boy on 98.6 and Dice on 98.5.
McRae and the Child brothers were the three Northland finalists who brought home the Cyril Perry Provincial Trophy from the national championships in Blenheim last year.
Neville Child and Dick took the short head and yard first intermediate at Maungakaramea with 98.2 points and Robert Hastie, of Kaiwaka, won first maiden with Jude on 94.
Neville Child won the long head with Harry on 98.5 points with Craig Lugtigheid, of Omamari, continued his fine recent form by placing second with Strike on 98.25 points and showing he could be a serious contender for national glory.
Murray Child was third with Boy on 98 points and fourth with Dice on 97.5. Barney Strong, from the Taupo region, was fifth with Queen on 96.
Lugtigheid and Strike won the long head first intermediate and Laura Geering and Ella, from Waikato, scored 89.5 points to win the first maiden.
Tony Comins, of Otamatea, won the zig zag hunt with Tote on 97.5 points, followed by Grant West, of Omana, and Swagga second with 96.5, Sean Roberts and Busy third with 95, Craig Pearson, from the Waikato, fourth with Ben on 94.5 and West in fifth place with Bonnie on 94.25.
West and Bonnie won the zig zag intermediate and D. Havord and Tui won first maiden with 93.5 points.
West and Swagga won the straight hunt with 97.5 points. Roger Davis, of Kerikeri, and Guy were second with 96. McRae and Toby were third on 95.5, Murray Child and Frank were fourth on 95 and Barney Robinson, of Taipa, was fifth with Rod on 94.
West and Bonnie had a second huntaway intermediate win with 92 points in the straight hunt, while Ben Haddon, of Pakiri, and Kirra picked up the first maiden with 83 points.
Judges were Brett Kirkland, Alistair Beckett and Mike Moody.