The trial at the Montpelier Fall Fiber Festival was a great success this year in my opinion. It was mostly new folks running the event for the VBCA and they did a terrific job. The sheep were commercial polypays rather than the usual dead broke hair sheep and great fun to work. The course was short but the challenge surely wasn't.
I was happy with the performances of both of my dogs. Bill seems to have really picked up a lot of knowledge and confidence from his experience on the western trip. I could feel the confidence in his work as he muscled the stroppy sheep around the field. The first day was especially fun for both of us as he had a ewe that kept trying to break off to the exhaust while leaving her friends behind. It made for a nice puzzle for us to work out. He ended up in 2nd place both days and was the overall Champ for the weekend. I ran Zeke since it was a small course and i'm still resting Zac, and he did very well himself. The first day he had a good enough run that he'd surely have placed well, but i just could not get the sheep to part on the shed. It was no fault of Zeke's, other than perhaps he'd muscled them around a bit hard and made them not want to separate. Not accomplishing the shed also cost the pen points. He ran very well the second day as well, finishing just out of the placings.
Montpelier is a special trial for me in many ways. The first trial i ever witnessed was at Montpelier, with my first little BC puppy Bailey when she was just a couple of months old. My mom and dad attended the trial once, camping with me there. I have many memories of attending the trial with Joan over the years. It's bittersweet to remember traveling to the trial together last year, with her passing only short time after. This year a new memory was added. I always see Pat and Steve at this trial, the people who i placed my first real Open dog Ben with many years ago, to help with their goat herd (they exhibit at the fiber festival). This year, Pat told me that Steve had passed away earlier in the year, and she told me a goosebump-worthy story. A few days before he died, she found Steve with a peaceful look on his face and he told Pat that he was sitting in a field with Ben, that Ben was happy and healthy and it was beautiful. One of their guard dogs was there too but he was so happy to see his Ben again. Of course we just bawled all over each other but wow, what a wonderful thing. Pat's always said i gave them the greatest gift, but i think truly i was the one given the gift, of knowing how happy they all were together. Isn't it amazing where these little black and white dogs can take you and who you meet? (photo of Ben at the Bluegrass by Denise Wall)