Salina Kennel Club

Salina Kennel Club Herding Trial
September 16-17, 2006

By Carol Delsman, Field Director, At-Large Events

The Salina Kennel Club celebrated its 50th anniversary by hosting its first-ever herding trial Sept. 16-17 in Salina, Kan. The trial was held just down the road from the all-breed show site at the CP Ranch owned and operated by Cecil Pettit. Cecil and his committee put on splendid event with hospitality a primary concern. With the coffee pot on and food on the table, the trial had an on-time start.

Bobbi Crafts and Joyce Price stepped into the shoes of an absentee secretary and did a wonderful job of managing the paperwork, posting scores and presenting awards.

Kent Herbel and his Border Collie were the stock handlers for the arena trial. Run after run, they worked as a team to quietly set stock for all the exhibitors and picked up stock when necessary with the same effortless motion.

The sun warmed our backs the wind swirled around us with increasing force as the day progressed. This made the sheep all the more challenging to maneuver through the Course A arena trial and Course B open field trial. Officiating over this landmark event were Susan Abrams of Edmond, Okla., for Saturday's event and Lori Herbel of Putnam, Okla., for Sunday's runs.

Dogs of all breeds were put through their paces moving sheep freely over both Course A in the arena and Course B in the open field. Both courses were larger than normal, which gave the dogs plenty of room to get around their stock and work at the proper balance point. While not all were successful in completing the courses, all the dogs made a good honest effort. Saturday morning was filled with Course A runs. Australian Cattle Dogs, Bearded Collies, Belgian Tervurens, Border Collies, German Shepherds and Collies all gave their best effort. While not all exhibitors walked away with qualifying scores, they did gain experience for another day and another trial.

While club members busied themselves with serving platters of food, Hank Price fired up the grill and got the hot dogs and hamburgers sizzling. The good smells drifting in the wind brought hungry exhibitors, stock handlers, judges and spectators to the tables. The hour was filled with good food and stories of trials past.

With lunch completed, Hank switched caps from grill master to chauffer. He started up the tractor attached to the hay wagon and gave the all-aboard sign. With Course B a fairly good hike through the pasture, the club furnished this more primitive form of transportation to the delight of all involved.

The course was set up in a large bowl-shaped valley with rock piles trimming the top (Cecil issued a light-hearted warning of possible snake sightings, but other than a small turtle, the wildlife seemed to think it better to stay out of sight.) With no fences visible, Alise Dart made her way to the post for the first run. Her dog "Slyde" was all ready in contention for High in Trial with a stunning Course A advanced run in the morning. Now he was showing how good he was at this course too. While the run was enviable, the sheep at the shed got the better of them. They didn't get the green ribbon for the day, but they did have the admiration of their fellow competitors.

While Kent Herbel and his Border Collie set the sheep time and again on the top of the field, Cecil and his dogs "Meg" and "Key" had to work hard to pick the sheep up at the bottom of the course and load them into the trailer.

At day's end, High in Trial went to Alise Dart and her Border Collie, "HC Slyde" for their Course A advanced run. Reserve High in Trial went to Linda Holloway and her Border Collie, "Blaze," from the Course B Intermediate class.

Sunday brought with it cooler temperatures and fewer entries. The runs improved as dog/handler teams learned from their Saturday runs and the stock settled in. Judge Lori Herbel kept up a brisk pace, and exhibitors where ready to comply. For Sunday, High in Trial went to Marge Danielson and her Border Collie, "Holman's Bryn," and Reserve High in Trial went to Lori Pruett and Australian Cattle Dog, "Ch. River Forth Texanna Song."

The club and committee are to be commended for a job well done. This is certainly an event worthy of a place on next year's trialing circuit calendar.

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For more information on the club, please visit their website .