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Everything posted by bcollie

  1. I don't believe it is a good idea for the USBCHA to try and put on the Nationals. It has been tried before and they have lost a lot of money. I do, however, think it is a good idea for the USBCHA to subsidize an eastern Finals as long a a club or group of people show the desire to organize it and to do the work. If there is this much clamor for having an eastern finals, then there has to be someone willing to do it. After doing 2 finals and working on our third, I don't know how it would be possible to organize a finals long distance and be a success at it. If people in the east want a trial in their backyard, then they need to step up to the plate and offer to do it. It isn't that hard. It only takes a couple years out of your life, puts your life savings on the line, makes half the country mad at you and makes all your friends run and hide when they hear you say, "I have an idea..." Seriously though, we have had great support from friends and other members in our district and they are what make it possible to take on an event of this size. The Virginia group did a terrific job when they hosted the finals and surely they or another of the eastern groups could take it on again, especially with some financial help.
  2. Melanie, it will be great to meet you and welcome you to the Handler's Tent, West. The Ellis Motel is older but clean and run by very nice people. Just ignore the sign that says 'Please don't pluck ducks in the bathtub'. Did Amy recruit you yet to help with the Regionals? They are September 30-October 2 just across the line into Oregon. And then the 2006 Nationals. Be sure and put that on your calendar for next year in late September. You might want to join both NCWSA (Northern California club) and OSDS (Oregon Sheep Dog Society). California has great trials in early spring and Oregon in later spring and summer. See you next weekend! Geri
  3. I just heard from Chuck Howard. He missed Haley and Michele's call but he said they seemed very pleased. Haley and Spot ran really well today. If Haley can go half way around the world and do well with her mother's dog who she doesn't ever run, then the rest of us should just give up trialing. I wish her the best and hope to get some scores from Geri and the girls soon. Stay tuned. Mandy
  4. Yes, there is some regional bias giving the top spots to the top points getters but it also seems to me that you should be rewarded for being in the top 10 in the nation. And you must be a hot shot, Denise, to be 4th in the nation! I could actually support any of these options. I think we need to figure out which one will garner the most support from the membership and all unite behind one.
  5. If you were to give the first 10 or 20 spots at the Nationals to the top point getters in the country and then allocate the remaining to the three regionals, then you would solve the problem of having to compete for spots at the regional level from the hot shots. They would already be in from being in the top points. Currently 10% of the top 10 and 15% of the top 20 are from D1 which still indicates a somewhat unlevel playing field but having the rest of the spots coming from the regionals helps to level it out. Like Amy said, no system is completely without bias, but any system we design needs to give every good handler with a good dog an equal opportunity of being there.
  6. I think Amy's post was in response to Jenny's comment that the people in the west who do well at the regionals are not currently attending the finals. I think they are attending for the most part and in a year that the finals is out west, they will attend in even greater numbers. Although there are 10 districts, 26.8% of the HA reside in District 1, so actually District 1 is somewhat under represented at the Finals. I think the concern is that if you tighten up the Finals to the top 100 dogs, making it a more manageable event, it gets even more lopsided under the current system. There are only 17 District 1 members in the top 100 placings and quite a few of those traveled out of the west to bigger trials to get their points. Using a regional qualifying system helps take away this bias. Adding wild cards from the top points getters across the country who for one reason or another did not qualify through the regionals takes care of the fear of the bad draw keeping the national champion out of the finals. It sounds like a win win to me. Geri
  7. I could support a dual qualifying system as it sounds like it would make it more likely to pass. The only downside I see is if you allocated so many spots for each region and so many at large through qualifying points, you could theoretically end up going way down in the points before you got your 20 (or whatever number it was) that had not qualified at their region.
  8. My personal reasons for supporting this concept are two fold. 1) It makes for a more manageable event. As someone who has put on both regionals and nationals I can tell you that an event with less dogs and less days is much easier and much cheaper to put on. That's a no brainer. This will allow for more possibilities for trial hosts and sites. Since starting our regionals in 2000, we have had a different group put on the trial in a different area each year. From the handlers standpoint, yes they need to go to two events rather than one, but the regional one will generally be closer and since both events could be done in less days, it involves less week days away from work. It also gives more people the opportunity to compete at a finals type event with 100 (or whatever the number turns out to be) from each region qualifying for the region's championship. People who could not drive clear across the country to the finals could more likely drive to an event in their region. 2) It is a fairer method of qualifying. The geographical point bias under the present system is eliminated. If you were to just lower the finals to 100 dogs instead of the 150 to make the event more manageable, you would only be amplifying this point bias.
  9. I have heard the argument before about a bad draw at the regionals keeping someone out of the Nationals but a bad draw or a bad run could just as well happen at the prelims of the finals as well as at a regionals and for someone like Alasdair, it is not about getting to attend the finals but winning or placing high. At some point, someone could get a bad draw and there is no way to make that completely fair under any system, the current one included. The system under discussion is very similar to what they do in the UK where you have to do well at the Nationals to get to the International Supreme. We just need to think of our regionals as England's or Scotland's Nationals and our Nationals as the International Supreme. That is what it would more realistically represent if we make big deals out of our Western, Central and Eastern Championships. Maybe we should call them that instead of regionals.
  10. Robin, How is Belle doing? A friend has a bitch that has had a mysterious fever since Sunday. She has had her to the vet every day. They started her on tetracycline and then switched to baytril when the oxytet didn't seem to be working. After reading these boards, I gave her your phone number to call to see if you had any thoughts. The blood work won't be back until tomorrow.
  11. Thanks for the info.I am headed out to a trial in Oregon pretty quick but will check back for any other ideas when I get back.
  12. Thanks for the info, Mark. Is there a running order online anywhere where I could see who might be going to Dr Ben's?
  13. Is there an upcoming trial back east that several of the US World Team members will be attending? We have the jackets done we are donating for the World Team and I thought it might be easier to ship as many together as I could instead of shipping them individually. Unfortunately, they did not arrive in time for the Bluegrass. I am going to a trial this weekend in the west that I can deliver 6 of them to but there are 19 jackets in all. Thanks for any suggestions.
  14. This is the busiest time of year with our cattle. We are branding and turning out cows and receiving cows home from winter pasture and getting ready to A.I. heifers. We had a drought all winter and it finally started to rain about a week ago and it hasn't stopped since. We had a sheepdog trial on one of our cow wintering fields last weekend and we barely got the cows turned out in time for the trial. Scheduling a trial brought about the much needed rain so that was good.The older dogs get a lot of work this time of year but we don't use the young ones on the baby pairs. They will get a bunch of work this summer when the calves are a bit bigger and we have to move the cows from one allotment to another. We only have about 40 head of ewes, just to train the dogs on. We are having the woolies shorn today if they aren't too wet.This is when I appreciate my hair sheep! Most of my friends are off at a trial this weekend but I stayed home and am taking care of 6 of their extra dogs on top of my dozen. It has been a bit noisy around here with strange dogs but they are better settled in and were much quieter last night.
  15. I agree with Bill about paying set out. It makes for not only generally better set out but definitely more even set out. I would much rather take it from the purse or have a few dollars extra put on the entry fee to pay for set out. That insures way more consistency in the drops and gives everyone an even shot. My pet peeve is trials that randomly assign everyone to work set out without asking first if you are willing to set out or ascertaining whether the people are even competent to set out. (Not everyone is!) If you are going to demand set out time from everyone then you should put that on the entry form. I don't mind doing set out but I do like to be asked not told. That and treat your set out people good. Have an ice chest with water and soda and coffee in cold weather. Have a pen set up that works well. If you are using volunteers don't leave them at the top forever without replacements and remember to say please and thank you - not "if you don't work your allotted set out time, you will be yanked from the trial."
  16. I have to agree with Charlie on this one. As someone who puts on trials, why would I want to sanction lower classes? Just more headaches and more money and without a points system and a finals (which we sure don't want to go there!) what is in it for me as a trial host or for a novice entering? I know the HA has financial problems but I think the new president is getting a handle on it. As far as decreased membership there are ways to increase that. More responsiveness from the board and more member involvement will encourage people to rejoin. Added membership benefits such as member discounts to Border Collie related businesses and a more up to date active website with members only access to the main parts are two things that come to mind. These benefits could be offered to both voting members (open handlers) and associate members (novice handlers) without the added burden on trial hosts and on Francis to track points, etc. So as not to put too much work on Francis, a webmaster position could be added to make more frequent updates to the website, making it a place to go to get not only the info available now but contact info for members, actual entry forms, trial results, etc. I think the HA should do what it was designed to do and work at doing it better and leave the lower classes to the regional organizations. If we take this away from the regional organizations, we may be taking away their ability to attract members. Just my 2 cents! Geri
  17. National Finals Locations: 1982 Savannah, TN 1983 Ramer, AL 1984 Crawford, TX 1985 London, OH 1986 London, OH 1987 ?? 1988 Belleville, IL 1989 Belleville, IL 1990 Belleville, IL 1991 Sheridan, WY 1992 Fort Stockton, TX 1993 Meeker, CO 1994 Lexington, KY 1995 Sheridan, WY 1996 Lexington, KY 1997 Klamath Falls, OR 1998 El Reno, OK 1999 Middletown, VA 2000 El Reno, OK 2001 Klamath Falls, OR 2002 Lebanon, TN 2003-05 Sturgis, SD
  18. I started this discussion on the other boards but thought I would move it to here to get more input. Has anyone given a thought to the 2006 USBCHA National Sheepdog Finals and where it should be held or what you would like to see changed? We (Amy Coapman and myself) are probably going to put in a bid to host the 2006 Finals in Klamath Falls, OR. Call us crazy. We enjoy organizing big trials and we have heard from a lot of people out here that they would like to have it back on the west coast. We have access to the great sheep that we used in 1997 and 2001. (Who could forget Scott Glen's amazing International shed in 2001 and Bev Lambert's Lark's amazing finals run in 1997?) We have great big fields and a lot of local support. The downside is of course that it would be a long ways for those on the east coast but that is why I have always felt we should have an east, central, west, central rotation of the Finals. It makes it easier for more people to attend, gives a variety of sheep and courses and assures that we aren't breeding for a single type of dog that does well on a certain field on a certain kind of sheep. Sturgis has done a tremendous job the last 2 years and will do so again this year I am sure. I understand that Sturgis may be bidding for another 3 years. I do not know if any place else is thinking of bidding. We feel it would be best for the sport if it were to move around as long as the HA doesn't lose money in the process. We have done the Finals twice with very little financial help from the HA and would propose doing that again. As a matter of fact, in 1997, the HA made quite a tidy profit from the Klamath Finals and given their current financial situation, it sounds like they need to do this again. It is a lot of work to raise the $60,000 it cost us to put the event on but we feel confident we could do this once again. Any one have any suggestions or comments? Any thing they would like to see changed in how it is set up? How about the idea of running Open and Nursery concurrently in order to lower the number of days from 8 to 5? This could be done by starting the Open on Wednesday and starting the Nursery on Thursday, using Wednesday's Open sheep for Thursday's Nursery and so on. We are in the midst of putting together our bid and we would like to hear your thoughts. Thanks Geri
  19. I personlly think they learn best when they are young. They learn better to get out of the way of flying hooves and learn faster to bite on the nose or the heel, not the belly. In Mike Hubbard's Training Your Dog For Cattle video, he has a section on teaching the dogs to flank correctly on cattle and bite correctly on cattle. It might be of interest to you. In my exerience, like with the two dogs you quoted me about above, it is harder to teach them later, but not impossible. I don't know if it is because when they are older they are braver or less agile or what but the older dogs when first exposed to cattle seem to have more chance of getting hurt. The best is to start them on yearlings or dry cows, preferably on something that is somewhat dog broke. I took Lyn on a couple of cattle drives with dry cows and after she got tired, she was much smarter about how she handled the cows. We used her to help dog break some heifers for a trial and she actually did a pretty good job. Here is a photo of her on the heifers and she never worked a cow until she was 4 or so.
  20. We sold a pup to a sheep ranch. She worked there for 4 years, the people sold their sheep and we got the dog back. She is the best cow dog my husband has. Granted, the first year she was a bit suicidal, but after surviving the first year, she has been a great asset. I had a sheep bred bitch, totally trained on sheep that I have been trying to trial and have decided it is too hard. I took her to cows at 5 years old and if she survives the same initial stupidity the other one went through, she will make a pretty nice cow dog. We start all our cow dogs on sheep but usually expose them to cattle around a year or so. It is just easier for us to train on sheep. Our cattle are all in big groups and any training done on cattle is usually on the job training. There are better trainers than us and people with better trained cow dogs but we probably get as much work out of our dogs as anyone. We run quite a few cows on 100 square miles of grazing leases in the summer and it takes dogs with a lot of heart and stamina and the ability to think as much as formal training. I do have trial trained sheep dogs and appreciate the level of formal training they have but also appreciate my husband's 'ranch trained' dogs for what they do.
  21. Sam, congrats on your new place. I can't even imagine moving. I have always said the only way we would move is if the place burned down. Way too much junk! Hope lots of your friends are helping. As far east as I am getting in the near future is Reno, and that isn't even dog related. I only have one open dog and a big trip isn't worth it for just one dog. Maybe if my young dog turns out... Hey Amy, you up for a big road trip? It sounds like they have a lot of fun and better weather back east. Good thing our trial was yesterday and not today as it snowed all morning and we would not have been able to even see the sheep.
  22. Eileen- It is the State of Jefferson because in 1941 a movement was started for Northern California and Southern Oregon to split off and become the 49th state. Being independent farmers, loggers and fisherman, locals did not appreciate what Sacamento and Salem were doing. I believe it actually was headed to the congress as a serious issue but then Pearl Harbor was bombed and the State of Jefferson rebellion came to an end. You can see more of the history at http://jeffersonstate.com. We in the mountain border counties are still unhappy with Sacramento and Salem (the state capitols) and like to pretend we have our own state. The state of denial.
  23. Amy and Marti did a great job. They just got stubborn ones in the shedding ring. Unlike mine that were split into two groups of two for the entire course and could have been shed if the handler were blindfolded. Of course with my shedding skills, blindfolded might be better. So Sam, when are you coming out west to trial? Entries open tomorrow for the Sonoma Wine Country trial. It isn't margaritas but the wine from wine country is excellent and they have a huge raffle with lots of wine and prizes include wine. Geri
  24. OK, you guys are really cruel. Short sleeves and sunshine! California may be all sunshine and beaches but we try to pretend we aren't part of California up here in the State of Jefferson. I have attached a photo (I hope) that should show you what die hards we are. I am thinking that we should go after Carhartt for sponsorship.
  25. Thought it was time those of us on the left coast contributed something to this thread. I read about New Year's Day trials being cancelled different places but I have to brag about how tough (crazy) we are out here. The thermometer never got above freezing and with the 25 mile an hour winds it felt much colder than that but we built a big bon fire and toughed it out. 13 brave souls ran a total of 21 dogs and finished in time to devour an 18-1/2 pound prime rib along with great side dishes and scrumptious deserts. I think we do these trials for the good food that everyone brings! Despite a few mishaps like me locking my keys in the pickup while doing set out, one dog taking a scenic tour of the Tulelake Basin (off a cliff), and two young dogs 'helping' on the field, we managed to survive the second in the State of Jefferson Winter series. Remember polar bear swims when we were young? Well this was definitely the polar bear trial! Haley Howard made her debut as judge and did a terrific job and I am not just saying that because I won either! My dog definitely managed it without my help as I could barely whistle as my lips were frozen. Should have tried the brandy in the coffee before I ran, not after I got back to the warm house! Geri
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