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Dear Doggers,

Last weekend at Dr Ben’s trial I reminisced with Ben and Hub Holmes, old friends who ran at the 91 Sheridan Finals. Ben came 2nd with Ann in Nursery and Hub was running (I think) Dan at the time. The trial field was a polo ground, flat as a pancake and it was very very difficult to know where your dog was relative to sheep and obstacles. It was my first finals and Gael ran poorly: 33 points. Although I wasn’t mucha handler I expect much of her poor showing was the defective mitral valve we identified later.

The Sheridan Chamber of Commerce (gents in red blazers and string ties) had a welcome reception for us and the basques held a festival (kins folk dancing) during the trial.

Spectators from all over the west in big American pickups.

It was the last time the USBCHA gave jackets to all the finalists. I still have mine.

Tommy Wilson’s Roy crossed over on the second outrun but when they got into the shedding ring, he and Roy were magic. Roy separated or held sheep with a glance. He never came through and Tommy just ghosted around. When they were finished, all fifteen sheep were still in that shedding ring band he took the five collared sheep to the pen. It brought tears to my eyes.

Dorrance Eikamp (sp?)’s Rex was the clappiest dog I’ve ever seen. Up and down like a dust mop. But he won and Hubert Bailey bought him on the spot.

Bruce Fogt’s Hope was 11. She was Bruce’s first great dog. As soon as her sheep missed the drive panel, Bruce retired Hope to never ran her again. It’s a painful decision but Bruce made the right one. I’ve always respected him for that.

All these years and lives shaped by sheepdogs, sheepdog friends, trials, awe and laughter . . .


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