What a ride. I'm still pinching myself to be sure it was real. Or maybe just so i can stay awake now that we're home - it was quite the trip to come down from!
Bill drew up 15th and Zac 31st in the semifinals round. We were running 5 sheep, 2 with collars. The course was a little bigger than in the preliminary round, with slightly longer drives and a 450 yard outrun. I worried with the earlier draw that Bill might be at a disadvantage since the afternoon sheep seemed generally better, but i needn't have. He ran beautifully, settling his sheep and mastering them, keeping them calm and cooperative. We were to shed off 2 plain, then pen and then single a collared ewe. We were very clean around the course with reasonable lines, shed and pen went well. We again had a missed attempt on the single but did get it. I'm not surprised Bill had trouble with the singles, he's still not completely solid on the shedding so we haven't done much singling yet, trying to remember that he is still a youngster. Final score was 174 and he ended up in 13th place, qualifying for the big show - the top 17 double lift Finals!
Zac ran later and like in the first round, had a real smoker going. He had a difficult ewe in the bunch but really mastered her around the course, showing great confidence and poise, and listening really well. He was totally on his game for the trial. We got around cleanly and into the shedding ring, and i just couldn't get the sheep to line up as i needed. The collared ewes kept staying in with the uncollared, and i couldn't get 2 plain ones together. I stayed smart to start with but then got caught up in pushing them onto Zac. I should have known better and kept things looser as we'd done in the first round. Finally the ewe that had been eying up Zac and giving him grief broke off and he nailed her for a DQ. Heartbreak as i was so looking forward to running him in the top 17 as well. I know he'd have done well, even with that nasty turnback, because we practice it. It was very disappointing but we'll just have to work on that gripping and plan to be back next year.
It was a bit of a nerve wracking day waiting to see if Bill would make it through. I thought he probably would but you never know, and there were some great teams running at the end. A really cool thing was that the semifinals were being webcast. I heard from friends and family all over the country who were watching it all in real time. How amazing is that?
Next post is on the Top 17...