Working Cattle Dog of the Year, Nugget the kelpie, with his owner Dick Chapman of Stokers Siding.
Working Cattle Dog of the Year, Nugget the kelpie, with his owner Dick Chapman of Stokers Siding. Crystal Spencer

This Nugget is solid gold

SIX-year-old Nugget, a red and tan kelpie from Stokers Siding, is the Tweed’s latest national celebrity.

The hard-working cattle dog has just been awarded the title of Australian Open Working Cattle Dog of the Year for 2009.

His master, Dick Chapman, has been named NSW Handler of the Year after a string of wins in dog trails in both NSW and Queensland.

“He is a special little dog,” said a proud Mr Chapman yesterday after Nugget happily posed on a farm quad-bike.

“I bred him. Breeding is a big part of a working cattle dog. They are bred to work and they love doing it.”

Mr Chapman, who runs his own property at Stokers Siding and works for dairy farmer Bruce Baker at Byangum with Nugget, said his hobby was attending dog trials on weekends.

“To be able to have a working dog that can go to work each day then of a weekend have a bit of fun as well, that’s pretty special,” said Mr Chapman.

Not only have the two had fun on weekends this year, but they have chalked up an impressive list of championship wins at dog trials.

Two weekends ago they were presented with the Australian award by Australian Working Cattle Dog Society president Peter Finlay and secretary Stan Dunkley at a function near Glen Innes.

The wins throughout the past year produced points counting towards the final championship.

They included being the current NSW Cattle Dog of the Year, current North Coast Open Dog of the Year and North Coast Dog of the Year.

“He has won many open trials throughout NSW and Queensland and had many places in a short period of time,” said Mr Chapman.

Nugget and his master also represented NSW in a special “state of origin” match in which two teams, each with six dogs and six handlers competed at a major trial in August.

Nugget won his first open trial at the age of two-and-a-half.

Since then he has fathered pups which Mr Chapman also hopes will be champions.

“We’ve got some very nice offspring coming along,” said Mr Chapman. “I’m hopeful of them in the future.”

Mr Baker, who sees Mr Chapman and Nugget hone their skills among his dairy herd, is among those full of praise for their abilities.

“Dick is a wonderful dog handler,” said Mr Baker. “You wouldn’t get a better man with a dog. He’s a wonderful chap and he’s so modest.”

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