THE State-of-Origin competition for farm working dogs – the Cobber Challenge – has attracted 12 competitors from six states this year.
Southern states are again dominating the entries for the third year of the challenge, that involves dogs with GPS trackers being compared for the distance, speed and duration they travel during their working days over three weeks next month.
Home of last year’s winner, Tasmania, has two entries — Bridport’s Molly Cornish and two-year-old Hooch, and Bree-Elle How’s Clyde from Tunbridge. Both are counting on the need to regularly move large numbers of sheep through a rotational grazing system to rack up the kilometres.
New South Wales will be represented this year by Glenda Rogan and her Kelpie Jess, from Copmanhurst, and Boorowa’s Oliver Adlington and Fly.
Two competitors from Western Australia are keen to see how the distances in the largest state stack up against their eastern counterparts. Rebecca Martin and her kelpie Tiges from New Norcia, 130 kilometres north of Perth, and Darkan’s Karyn Buller and her Rosie, both work large acreages each day.
Property size might also help Queensland competitors, Moura’s Simon Clarke and his cattle dog Ernie, and contract musterer Christian Bjelke-Petersen and his Kelpie-Collie cross Storm, who regularly travel long distances each day.
Two Kelpies from large scale sheep properties will represent South Australia. These are Matthew Scharkie and Mitch, a four-year-old dog from Terowie in the state’s mid North, and Luke Farrell and Barbie, from Greenways, on the Limestone Coast.
Victorian competitors include Fly Harrison and his owner Ben, from Molka in the state’s central north, and Winchelsea’s Henry Lawrence and six-year-old Boof.
Cobber Brand Manager Marika O’Leary said the number of nominations demonstrates just how keen Australian farmers are to see their dogs recognised for the work they do.
“Each weekend we see our favourite footballers don GPS trackers and it is fascinating to see just how that compares with the working dogs that are such an important part of the farm team.
“We had nominations from across the country and you could clearly see how everyone values their dogs, the part they play in the farm business, and their mateship,” Marika said.
The competition will run for three weeks from Monday, 13 August to Sunday, 2 September. The competitors will be scored based on distance, speed and duration of work per day with points accumulated based on daily activity to determine the winner of the Cobber Challenge trophy.
Interested working dog owners can follow the performance of the entrants at www.cobberchallenge.com.au
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