Sheepdog News

Lori: the big finish

Day 3 & finals – both Will and Matt had their second runs on Sun. Matt had a good top and had a nice fetch going until we had weird miscommunication at the fetch panels when I thought I blew a small prophylactic comebye and he clearly heard an away for a shave miss around the panels. Drive was good until I had a split just before the cross drive panels and couldn’t see where two sheep were thru the little pines on that side of the course. Guessed wrong and missed the cross drive. Crap. Finished with a good shed and a tidy pen but too much handler error = 76. Needed mid 80s to get in I think. Still, I was feeling lucky to have Will already in.

Had a very nice handler dinner at a local resort.

Drew up #2 for the double lift, exactly what I hoped for. Double lift had a tricky right first outrun which Will handled without a redirect. Good first fetch. Unfortunately, when I stopped him at the drop off point, he was totally behind another clump of pines. Neither one of us is proficient enough at turn backs, so confusion ensued. He did end up going back on the correct side but after sacrificing a cross to reposition him. Good second gather and really nice drive. The international shed was a mess. I was confused with the concept of having eight collared sheep, needing to get rid of three. Should have been simple math, but in the heat of the moment, it wasn’t. Dumb. Will wasn’t very helpful either, frankly. He was pushy and he can’t do math either. We got down to one, but had a last minute escapee rejoin and timed out.

In the end, our 101 was good for seventh place.

We start for home tomorrow. Another week off not in the cards. Huge thanks to everyone for the well wishes. Really meant a lot!

Lori: William’s revenge

Day 2: had a bad storm last night, spectacular lightning show and horizontal rain. Bad time to be tenting. Most of the day was overcast and threatening rain. These spectators are a loyal bunch though, and the stands were full all day. The trial did shut down in the afternoon when another lightning band moved through. Warmed up afterwards, but not to the killer temps I was expecting out here. Matt ran after the rain delay, following a smoking run by Bev & her young Joe: 95 to take the lead. Matt, on the other hand, did not cover himself in glory. He stopped short, had a bad top, missed our first drive panel and argued with a sheep most of the way around the course, eating up time. Timed out at the pen. William thought it was very funny. We will try to prove tomorrow.

Lori: good boy, Will!

Day 1 of Soldier Hollow- anxious to finally get started. William was up 6th so I only watched a few runs before I had to walk back to the hsndlers’ area to get him. The course time is 13 min on a packet of 5 sheep. Nearly everyone sends left & the dogs have to negotiate some scrubby terrain to get up to the sheep. Will didn’t listen well at the top– where listening well is fairly critical as the sheep try various tricks like splitting, swirling back to the set out, and breaking for the ruins of an old abandoned cabin. Many stop whistles & verbal threats later, we got our group back on line to make the fetch panels. Our turn & drive out went smoothly & although I had to grouse at Will more than my normal amount of yelling at him to get a steady, our cross drive line was good. Had a little bobble just in front of the cross drive panels, but saved it. Quick shed & surprisingly, got a pen after some work. Our 78 held up for quite awhile until Amanda had a very smooth run with Monty for an 88, which Virgil Holland tied late in the day.

So, William advances to Monday’s double lift. I am thrilled with my boy.

Went out to dinner with a fun group. Really nice to put names with faces.

Will have nearly the whole day off tomorrow as Matt doesn’t have his first run until the end of the day. I’ll look forward to checking out the many vendors and other festival goings on.

Lori: home sweet camper

Sure enjoyed the time in Colorado. Capped off last night w/ dinner at Nancy’s, watching three bull elk hang out and spar on a hill very near her house. Elk in the backyard. How cool is that?

Last leg of the trip from Colorado to Utah today. I had never driven further West than Denver . Going over the Rockies was eye candy. Wyoming too. Then Utah, with these crazy mountains and more color. My iPhone pictures just don’t cut it.

Picked up the rental RV, which is small and basic, but fine for just the two dogs and me, and drove the last hour to Soldier Hollow. Wow. Spent the afternoon unpacking the ridiculous amount of stuff I hauled across the country. At least the rental wagon sort of feels like home now. Dogs had a couple nice walks on the maze of trails on the mountain behind the handlers parking area. Tomorrow morning I’ll hit a grocery to stock the fridge and then head over to work the dogs on the designated practice field. Hope to get in some sight seeing before the trial begins on Friday.

Lori: making merry in Colorado

Arrived in Loveland, CO on Monday afternoon. There was a huge line of people (mostly crew cut men) waiting to check in the hotel. As it was too hot to leave the dogs in the truck, the boys came along and waited in line with me. Turns out, I was in the midst of the President’s Secret Service detail who were preparing for a presidential campaign stop in Fort Collins the next day. The dogs were a hit and were well protected as we checked in.

I am so grateful for the opportunity of this 2 night respite mid-trip, and my hostess, Nancy Penley could not have been more gracious. Had a great dinner last night at a local micro-brew pub. Two other sheepdog travelers, Maureen Robinson and Sharon Northrup, both Meeker bound, joined in the dinner, and we had a wonderful time, lively dog conversation.

This morning, Nancy, Maureen and I headed out to work the dogs. The scenery is amazing. Easy to get lost staring at the mountains so near by. Hot day, but the dogs & sheep held up well. William took two works and considerably threatening to remember what a stop whistle was. At least for today, Matt remembered that look back actually means to go get another group of sheep, not madly chase after the first group. Progress.

Chilling out at the hotel for a few hours before heading back to Nancy’s for a home cooked meal. Colorado hospitality at its best. I hope I can get her to come East and repay the favor!

Will leave early tomorrow to drive to Salt Lake City and pick up my rental RV, and head over to the trial venue.

Lori: On the Road

After a quick over night in Nebraska, we’re mobilizing to get on the road for a relatively short driving day, 8 hours or so, into Loveland, CO, where I’m spending two nights & will be able to work the dogs in altitude similar to SH. Matt & William are ready to do something other than sleep.

Matt and William say sleep is fine with them.

I read that Amanda had mechnical problems & sure feel for her. I hope they are resolved. It was a rainy driving day most of yesterday through all the I-States = Indiana, Illinois & Iowa. At some point, I glanced in my rear view mirror and was quite sure that Mish Ferraro may have been immediately behind me. Saw NY plates on a truck towing a drop-shaped camper like she has. Just as I was to drift back to confirm, the vehicle exited off so either she was rain weary or was actively trying to avoid contact : ) I’ll be eager to ask if it was her. What are the chances on busy I-80 in the middle of Illinois? Don’t know if she is traveling in caravan with Amanda, but hope I didn’t drive off if they were having probems.

Lori: hunger games

Got on the road to Utah to Soldier Hollow this morning. After spending the last three weekends trialing, I was left to try to coordinate packing for this trip this past week, after work, exercising the dogs, chores, etc. I will be surprised when I get to Utah to see what I have actually brought with me. It’s been a blur. Only my two open dogs, William & Matt, are along. Thankfully, both are seasoned & easy travelers and I enjoy their company. I am thrilled to have the opportunity to attend Soldier Hollow. I always told myself I would go if I got the chance so off we go.

I am adverse to flying my dogs, so in planning the long drive, I decided to leave the RV at home & just take the truck. I’m renting an RV unit in Salt Lake City instead of staying in a hotel. More fun to stay on site and cheaper than booking at one of the local ski resorts marketing themselves as a summer destination. Just a bear to think of all the things I am spoiled to have at hand in my own RV. I’m sure I will survive & there will be ample shopping choices for forgotten stuff. On the plus, I can travel much faster each way & save some gas $$. As a veteran of multiple RV mechanical snafus (I think I might be able to apply to be a NASCAR tire changer) I won’t miss it on the drive. Don’t mind hoteling it along the way for a few nights. We are spending our first night just outside of South Bend, Indiana. Got lucky & found the Notre Dame football parking fields are near the hotel. Great to give the dogs a good walk. Will stop someplace in Nebraska tomorrow.

I am very grateful to have been offered some good opportunities to stop and work the dogs on the trip tho that’s a couple days & a lot of miles ahead. Listening to The Hunger Games trilogy audio book…33 hrs worth!