Dogs’ day out at Agfest

A SMALL but enthusiastic pool of competitors competed in the sheep dog trials at Agfest this year with the youngest just 13 years old.

Bronte Jones, who only started working dogs when she was 11 years old, won the encouragement award at Agfest with her dog Zeefree Paris.

A few other competitors shone on the weekend with Lee Jamieson from Launceston taking home the Agfest trophy with a winning score of 178, 13 ahead of second place.

Tasmanian Sheep Dog Association president Vicki Jones said that this year was the smallest competitive base they had ever had with only 10 competitors.

“But all praise to all for such a great event,” she said.

“It was probably our smallest competitors base in many years,” she said.

“Some people were on the mainland, some were sick and some dogs had injuries, but it was still an excellent event,”

Ms Jones said. “All the competitors were pleased with how their dogs went.

“The sheep were cheeky but we were very lucky to have any.

“We got them from a farmer called Mr Peddie and we are very grateful for their support.”

Ms Jones said Lee Jamieson put on a show for everyone and worked his dog beautifully.

“His dog positioned the sheep and covered well,” he said.

“Mr Jamieson was pleased he was able to get his dog to this trial because he has been resting him since he injured a leg in March.”

After consistent performances over the past 12 months Mr Jamieson and his dog Shannondoah Steele, along with another competitor Martin Waddingham with his dog Nolans Digger will go on to represent Australia in South Australia later in year for the Australian Sheep Dog Trials.

“These two guys have accumulated the most points over the last 12 months which has put them in the right position,” Ms Jones said.

“They have both done very well, they are both so committed to their sport.

“Not at all like me who lets my dogs do what they want.

“Lee and Martin have got their dogs trained to perfection and they just do really well.”

Ms Jones said Agfest had always been a significant event for the Tasmanian Sheep Dog Association to showcase the sport and gather garner potential from patrons.

“Agfest is a prime location and we receive lots of public interest, people sit there for as long as they can just watching,” she said.

She said it has been important showing people that anyone can join in and it is a very inclusive sport.

“You get city and country people coming by watching and showing interest and it just shows that you don’t have to be from the country to work a dog.”

“We enjoyed Agfest immensely this year and every year and it’s nice to catch up with all the other dog people.”

Photo credit: Anna Haywood