86th Sheep Dog Trials at Moyston this weekend

MOYSTON - Expert handlers from across Victoria and interstate will travel to Moyston this weekend for the 86th annual Sheep Dog Trials.

The three-day event showcases Moyston's proud farming heritage and always provides plenty of fun and entertainment.

This year's trial will begin this Thursday with the novice trials. There are 25 sheep dogs entered in the category, well up on last year's numbers.

Friday and Saturday will see improvers and open trials take place, with 60 dogs already entered.

The highlight of the weekend-long event will be the brace trials held on Friday night, commencing at 6.30pm following a barbecue dinner available to the crowd.

The Moyston clubrooms and function centre at the Moyston Recreation Reserve will be the location for the night's activities.

Open trials will begin on the night with a Brace (two dog) trial, with sheep dogs manoeuvring sheep through a set of obstacles. This very entertaining exhibition tests the dogs' and the handlers' finer skills in controlling the stock through the course.

This type of trial is a one off event in the Moyston trials. Other trials consist of one dog working three sheep through the obstacles.

Finals of both the novice and improvers/open events will take place on Saturday afternoon.

President of the Moyston Sheep Dog Club, Max McLean said the trials always attracted a crowd, whether it be locals or tourists in town for Ararat's Jailhouse Rock Festival on the same weekend.

"This year we have new entrants from Tasmania and New South Wales, along with regular workers and their dogs from South Australia and Victoria," he said.

"It is a gold coin donation for entry and the Friday night event always proves popular with the community.

The event has also been popular with the retirement villages in Stawell and Ararat over the last few years, particularly with the residents who used to live on farms.

Morning, afternoon tea and lunches will also be available at the trials, along with bar facilities on the Friday night.

The Moyston Sheep Dog Club's annual event is believed to be the longest consecutively run sheep dog trials in Australia, if not the Southern Hemisphere.

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