M'bah is going to the dogs

THE Murwillumbah Showgrounds will go to the dogs with the running of the annual Murwillumbah Cattle Dog Trials this Saturday and Sunday.

The trials have grown in stature over the years, and some of the Tweed's best will go up against competitors from all over Queensland, the Hunter region, North Coast and the New England Tablelands.

Avid dog triallists view it as a must-attend event on the cattle dog trialling circuit.

Organiser Dick Chapman said the Maiden and Novice trials on Saturday would be followed by the local Bush Dog Trial (for Tweed dogs only) - an event sponsored by the Crosthwaite family.

“The Bush Dog Trial is open to all local people who would like to work their dog and is always keenly contested,” Chapman said.

“Last year's winner, Peter Baker, will return in the hope of retaining his title.

“On Sunday, the Open Dog Trial will begin and this will be followed in the afternoon by the finals of the Novice and Open Trials.”

Some of Australia's leading handlers will be in action at the showground over the weekend, and their control and teamwork with their dog is something to behold.

Among some of the handlers to watch are Ben Naughton, 16, from Walcha, who won the NSW Open trial at Alstonville; former Australian Open champions Jamie Shipman from Grafton and Allan Fletcher from Glen Innes; as well as the youngest local competitor at the trials, Murwillumbah's Mathew Knight.

Joining Knight in representing the Tweed will be Kevin McMahon and Ron Hopf, both experienced handlers and capable of securing a title for the locals.

With the trials drawing a strong interstate and intrastate contingent, the organisers wished to thanks the business sponsors and families who came to the party at the last minute to ensure the trials went ahead.

“Without the support of our sponsors such as the Murwillumbah Veterinary Clinic, A and B Meats, Shirley Streatfield, Norco, Campbells Produce, the Kane family and a special encouragement trophy donated by the Roach family, these trials wouldn't go ahead,” Chapman said.

Food and drinks will be available at the showground, and the public are welcome to come along and see just why these dogs are their handlers' best friends.

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