‘‘It’s been a long process to get here. It’s good to get it going.’’
North Otago dog trial centre president Robbie Calder was referring to the South Island sheep dog trial championships, which began at Earnscleugh Station, near Alexandra, on Monday.
More than two years had been spent preparing for it — Covid-19 put it back a year — and to finally be able to host the championships was ‘‘huge’’, both for the area and those involved, he said.
The four courses, on the Campbell family’s vast station, were ‘‘unique’’, and quite different from what competitors from the North Island were used to. Merino sheep were also being used on all courses and it was a good challenge, he said.
Mr Calder, who farms at Lauder Station, near Becks, was grateful to the Campbell family for providing both the property and all the sheep required.
The North Otago centre has 13 clubs, including Omakau-Earnscleugh where the championships are being held. Mr Calder said said as president, his job was to help co-ordinate the event and make sure all the clubs involved with running it knew what they were doing.
‘‘I just cruise in and make sure everything’s running smoothly.’’
Both Mr Calder and his father Grant were on the straight hunt leaderboard on the first day — Robbie with Angus and Grant with Apps, which was ‘‘quite cool’’. Their dogs were also related — Apps was the mother of Angus.
Once the championships were over, Robbie was looking forward to duck-
shooting on Saturday before taking three dogs to the North Island in a few weeks for the New Zealand championships.