The Central Otago club along with the North Otago branch of the NZ Sheep Dog Trials Association held this year’s South Island sheep dog trials in the steep and rocky outcrop country of Earnscleugh Station.

The five days of competition in perfect autumn weather attracted more than 200 trialists, about half from the North Island, and 500 dogs. An added challenge were the Merinos used across all events.

The short head and long head courses were no doubt a far cry from the first ever dog trial held near Wanaka in 1867. According to a newspaper report from the time displayed at this year’s event, the 15 trialists had to “drive three wild hill wethers” about a quarter of a mile, put them in a yard and return them to the starting place within 30 minutes.

As well as mentioning the “great spirit” of the triallists, the story notes a “few of the fair sex” were present.

Winners: Long Head – B Arends and Parker; Short Head & Yard – S McRae and Cory; Zig Zag Huntaway – S Kerr and Holly; Straight Huntaway – S Magee and Edge.