WINNER of the ABC’s Muster Dog series Frank Finger will feature at the 26th Annual Australian Kelpie Muster at Casterton in western Victoria this month.
The muster starts on Saturday 11 June with a series of novelty and working dog events, including the popular dog jump, Kelpie dash, hill climb and stockman’s challenge.
It will conclude on Sunday 12 June with the working dog auction at Island Park, with 53 dogs entered from New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania and South Australia.
Frank said he would be attending the muster as a guest of the Casterton Kelpie Association with his two dogs from the popular series, Annie and Lucifer, and with his son Scott. He was looking forward to catching up with Muster Dogs judge Neal McDonald and fellow competitor Rob Tuncks from Edenhope. He expects to do media interviews and some judging.
“I’ll just do whatever they want me to do,” he said.
The Queenslander said it would be his first trip to Casterton and after the muster he will be doing a dog training school with Mr McDonald in South Australia.
Frank said he has hosted dog schools run by Mr McDonald and others for 28 years at his home in Clermont, northern Queensland. After the first Muster Dogs series, Frank said he and his son had run their own schools every month since February.
“I just thought that everyone needs to learn how to work a dog properly,” he said.
“That’s what I hoped that Muster Dogs would do – show a kinder side to people working dogs.”
Commenting on the difference between his two dogs, Annie and Lucifer, Frank said he believed that brilliant dogs are born and not bred.
“You can’t breed them all the time, it’s just that they turn up.
“I just made up my mind to make a project of her (Annie.)”
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Huge early interest in the working dog auction
Working dog auction committee president Rob Pilmore said early interest in the sale catalogue has been strong, with about 1200 views within 24 hours of going online.
“It is smoking along.
“The dogs will sell really well this year; there has been plenty of interest in them right from the word go.”
Due to the COVID pandemic, the 2022 sale is the first live auction held at Casterton since 2019, he said.
In its 2021 virtual auction on AuctionsPlus, Casterton set the national record for a working dog of $35,200. Mr Pilmore said he would “never say never” that the record would be broken.
“It’s a big number, but there are some very handy dogs in the catalogue.”
The dog vendors included several trainers who have topped the sale in previous years, he said.
“I’m getting a lot of buyer interest out of New South Wales.”
Mr Pilmore said entries in the muster events on the Saturday are also strong and are now handled entirely online for the first time this year. The stockman’s challenge had probably one of the best lineups ever, including Queensland rider David Lee with his sale dog and top 10 Man From Snowy River stockhorse event competitor Matt Malinki and Scott Jones from Junee.