Apsley farm manager wins Casterton kelpie muster

STEADY Eddie the Kelpie and his workmate Tack nailed the opposition for Apsley farm manager James Ridgway in Australia's most expensive yard dog trial in Casterton on June 7.

James took home $6000 in prizemoney from the 2014 RMA Casterton Kelpie Association Working Dog Auction Futurity. 

"It's better than a bag of dog food," he said after winning first place and $4000 with three-year-old Hilton Park Eddie in the futurity trial, and $2000 for second place with Karana Tack.

CEO of RMA Michael O'Brien (left) congratulates James Ridgway of Apsley on his yard dog competition first and second with Eddie and Tack along with placegetters Ian O'Connell from Strathkellar, Peter and Beth Sandral of Springhurst - owners of fourth place-getter Nyngan Choker and handler Andrew Kennedy.

CEO of RMA Michael O'Brien (left) congratulates James Ridgway of Apsley on his yard dog competition first and second with Eddie and Tack along with placegetters Ian O'Connell from Strathkellar, Peter and Beth Sandral of Springhurst - owners of fourth place-getter Nyngan Choker and handler Andrew Kennedy.

Eddie was a steady performer throughout the trial, scoring 83 and 92 points in his first two runs, then 82 in the final, to edge out Tack with runs of 80, 80 and 90.

James said Eddie was pretty consistent and judge Lee Mickan said the dog was calm and well handled on the difficult Merino wethers.

"He didn't fire his sheep up and Tack also kept the sheep calm," he said.

Third place and $1000 cash went to Ian O'Connell with Carters Transport's Lessi's Charlie.

Despite two top runs of 91 and 89 points some difficult sheep pushed the pair overtime in the final to give a third run score of 60. 

James said Eddie was his main dog on "Llanthro", the mixed livestock and cropping property he manages at Apsley with his wife Katrina. 

Katrina said it was her idea to buy Eddie at the 2012 auction. 

"He was the only one that impressed me," she said. "When some sheep got cut out, he went back and picked them up."

In other events in the Clark Rubber Australian Kelpie Muster's festival the prestigious Stockman's Challenge was won by Henty's young 35-year-old Ian James, riding 19-year-old stockhorse Thistlehill Glensgem with 10-year-old kelpie Zapp.

It was Ian's third win in the challenge in seven attempts and his score of 442 points was well clear of second placegetter John Tanner from Glenthompson on Barnett's Commando with kelpie Gogetta Sue. 

Lucindale stockman and 2013 champion Rob Copping on Red Rogue and with kelpie Pomanda Zack was third with 368 points.

Robert told the Herald he was leading, "but then a sheep got out on me so I ended up in third, which I wasn't too happy about, but that happens."

Robert Copping with Red Rogue and Pomanda Zack. Copping won the horse section of the Stockman's Challenge, finishing third overall.

Robert Copping with Red Rogue and Pomanda Zack. Copping won the horse section of the Stockman's Challenge, finishing third overall.

Fellow Lucindale local Lauren Foster also competed in the challenge with dog Rocko and horse Buckley.

"I did well in the horse time trial section but not so good in the working dog section as I forgot Rocko's muzzle so had to borrow one," Lauren said.

"It was way too small so he was pretty distracted trying to get it off."

Lucindale's Lauren Foster with Buckley after competing in the Stockman's Challenge.

Lucindale's Lauren Foster with Buckley after competing in the Stockman's Challenge.

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