Stock Handling & Animal Welfare

Top working dogs to compete for $20,000 in Carcoar challenge

Sheep Central, October 5, 2021

Ben Coster is looking forward to running Coopendale Lucy in the Carcoar Working Dog Challenge.

AUSTRALIA’S top sheep and cattle working dog handlers will compete for the nation’s biggest prize purse of $20,000 in a series of trials at Carcoar in November.

Organisers said the trials and auction at the inaugural Central Tablelands Livestock Exchange (CTLX) Working Dog Challenge are poised to draw the nation’s best dogs to Carcoar from Friday 26 to Sunday 28, November.

Interest in the event has already been outstanding, with 50 dogs set to go under the hammer in the auction and 300 nominations in hand for the cattle, sheep and yard dog trials.

RLX regional manager for New South Wales, Brock Syphers, said the auction would help meet the growing demand for working dogs and it was hoped the three-day event would become a legacy event.

“The auction and trials are giving working-dog breeders the opportunity to promote their best genetics and showcase their well-trained dogs in both the competition and selling rings.

“It’s our intention the working dog challenge will become an annual event for CTLX, and producers can mark the date on their calendar as an opportunity to sell or secure excellent working dogs.”

Mr Syphers said they had received an incredible amount of interest for the Sire’s Shoot-out event, in which working dog stud sires would go head-to-head in a trial under lights on the Friday night.

“All studs competing in this will also be entering a dog in the sale.

“It’s not often you get to see the bloodlines that you want to bid on battle it out, so this will be a remarkable competition,” he said.

Wandabar Stockdogs principal Ben Coster at Yass, said the $20,000 prizemoney has made the event very exciting.

He uses Kelpies to manage 8000 breeding ewes and 800 cattle on ‘Brooklands’ and is preparing to compete in all three competition disciplines over the weekend.

“With that much money on offer, the cream will come to the top, and the best dogs and competitors will meet at CTLX.”

Looking across his eight-dog strong competition team, Mr Coster said he was most looking forward to trialling Coopendale Lucy, his eight-year-old Kelpie who has won open championships in the past.

“I compete in three sheep, yard trial and cattle trials.

“You do need a versatile and smart dog to compete in multiple disciplines,” he said.

“Achieving this all starts from their breeding, and I look for dogs which can be strong enough to work cattle, then soft and wide enough to smoothly work sheep too.”

Mr Coster said demand for trained working dogs has never been higher, as finding skilled staff can be a challenge.

“Two or three dogs can be an incredible help when you are short staffed on a property,” he said.

Given the buoyant livestock markets, Tom Card from the Bowyer and Livermore agency said he was predicting strong results from the auction, while the online selling facility offered by StockLive would attract a buying pool that would stretch nationwide.

“The Central Tablelands region is renowned for breeding quality and versatile dogs. This exciting new initiative RLX and B&L have taken on board will allow these breeders to showcase their dogs on a national stage,” Mr Card said.

“It’s a big selling point to producers to be able to secure a dog which can work cattle as well as sheep in the paddock and the yards.”

Mr Syphers said preparations were already underway at CTLX to accommodate the new event, with special competition yards being constructed.

“I foresee this being a great weekend for the community, as we will have food, drinks and music available on both evenings,” he said.

“Of course, the event will proceed under the necessary COVID-19 restrictions, as the safety of people attending our facility is our first priority.”

For more information, visit The Working Dog Challenge Trial and Sale Facebook page.


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  1. Bill Garnock, November 19, 2021

    What is the program? For more information, visit The Working Dog Challenge Trial and Sale Facebook page link

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