Dean to host annual sheepdog trials this weekend

DOG DAY OUT: Event sponsor Steven Crane from Elders Insurance, dog trainer Jemima Christie and president of Dean Recreation Reserve, Brian Maher with Zee the dog. Photo: Luka Kauzlaric

DOG DAY OUT: Event sponsor Steven Crane from Elders Insurance, dog trainer Jemima Christie and president of Dean Recreation Reserve, Brian Maher with Zee the dog. Photo: Luka Kauzlaric

It’s that time of year again, with the most intelligent and well-trained dogs from all over Victoria set to descend on Dean to take part in the town’s annual sheepdog trials. 

The Dean and District Sheepdog Trials event was created six years ago as a means to get keep the Dean Recreation Reserve in the hands of the community.

The Dean Recreation Reserve Committee was formed after its members became aware that the American Motorcycle Club had plans to take over the reserve, after it applied to lease the reserve’s club rooms from Hepburn Shire Council to use as a meeting point for members when they were hosting rides in the region. 

Since then, the committee has created and run a number of annual events at the reserve, including the recent kite festival and upcoming sheep dog trials.

The Dean and District Sheepdog Trials have grown exponentially since 2013 and have become renowned as one of the best run sheepdog trials in the state.

This year will see people travel from all over Victoria to compete for one of six prized places. 

Dean Recreation Reserve Committee president Brian Maher said over the past couple of years he had been inundated with calls from people from across the state who wanted to travel to the town to experience a sheep dog trial for the first time. 

“I introduce them to a trainer, explain the rules and once they get on to it, they just love it. Last year the crowds were clapping and cheering on the trainers,” he said.

“Some of the seasoned trainers had never seen anything like it.”

Dog trainer Jemima Christie said training a dog to to round up sheep involved a lot of training, time and effort. 

“But the event is about more than just the trials, it’s a great community day out as well. People can come and watch, there is lots of good food and plenty of interesting people to talk to,” she said. 

The sheepdog trials are the first major event to be hosted at the reserve since it had a verandah installed with $15,000 of funding from the council to improve the reserve’s facilities. 

Mr Maher said the construction of a verandah made the reserve much more attractive and user-friendly as there was now a place to sit in the shade during events.

The event is sponsored by major sponsor Elders insurance, Hepburn Shire Council and Greg Slade Transport, with all proceeds made on the day donated to the Ballarat Soup Bus. 

The Dean and District Sheepdog Trials will be held at the Dean Recreation Reserve, 1370 Daylesford-Ballarat Road, from 7.00am on Sunday October 14.