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A huge thanks to Dave and Cheryl...

Sue R

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The Middle Atlantic area has lost several major trials over the last half-dozen years or so - trials that really test and showcase the teams that are National Finals contenders. Oatlands, Blue Ridge, Seclusival. I know there are many people who would like to see this become an institution on the trial circuit - a trial that is a true test of the dogs and handlers, providing a difficult course, challenging sheep, and good food! Well, good food isn't a prerequisite but it sure makes it nice!


Please, this trial is about an hour from the DC area - don't miss it if you can drive on out. Also, enjoy the beautiful Belle Grove Plantation house, the self-guided tour of the historic grounds, and the really nice museum shop. Belle Grove has eagerly opened its doors to the National Finals and now the Belle Grove SDT, and we should all be very grateful.


My very little hat is off to David Clark and Cheryl Branibar for conceived this trial and devoting their time, effort, and resources to seeing it come to light. Also to the many, many people who helped them do so - Open judge Tom Lacy, Nursery I judge Linda Tesdahl, Novice field judge Lori Cunningham, ProNov II judge Dan King; Christine Koval, Dan King (again!), Jim Murphy, Evelyne Williams, Laura Hanley - and I know I'm forgetting or am not aware of many who helped behind the scenes. So many people helped at the top - the indomitable queen of the set-out pen, Debbie Crowder, and Mark and Renee Billadeau on the Open field. And I'm embarassed to say I didn't see who helped on the Nursery/Novice field other than knowing that Todd and Peggy Simpson and Pam Gardner worked hard there.


My special thanks go to my wonderful crew of ladies who sit and scribe - it sounds like an easy job but it isn't when it's cold and windy, or hot, and your bottom goes to sleep. You've got the official timer, paperwork, names and numbers to keep in order. And you can learn so much!


Hat's off to Diana Kelly, Sylvia King, Allyson Ripley, Deb Pelletier, Peggy Simpson, Lynn Roberts, Pam Helton, Myra Soden, Sue Asten, and Barb Klein. And I would never forget Laurie Anderson, who scribed each day but, more importantly, was always willing to pitch in and took over for me on Sunday when I couldn't be there - I know the scribing will run like clockwork with her supervision.


With Dave and Cheryl's vision and efforts, and the encouragement, help, and support of the Border Collie community, I hope this is only the first of many successful and very worthwhile trials at Belle Grove. I'd like to think of this one as the first annual Belle Grove Sheepdog Trial, and I know many others would agree.

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...and to Sue Rayburn, another person I hardly ever get to see even though we're always at the same address a LOT of the time! Her cheer and initiative to help is remarkable and her own distinctive trademark! I always get see you leave, Sue, hope you see me waving goodbye and Godspeed!


I hope it was all David and Cheryl wanted it to be, I think it was a massive undertaking, and likely not over by a mile for them, still. I was astounded to hear all the voices over channel 1, all looking for help and getting it. Good job, you guys. The trial community (working Border Collie) is not to be outdone in getting the trials to the handlers. Every trial I go to is like a little work from Heaven, all out of love for our dogs and our sheep.

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