Dog trial legend gets life time award for excellence and longevity

Ginger Anderson and his heading dog Don. Anderson has been granted life membership to the New Zealand Sheep Dog Trial ...

Ginger Anderson and his heading dog Don. Anderson has been granted life membership to the New Zealand Sheep Dog Trial Association.


og trials legend Ginger Anderson of Omarama received the ultimate accolade from his peers when he was granted life membership to the New Zealand Sheep Dog Trial Association (NZSDTA).

Anderson received the award at the national dog trial championships held in Omarama last week and added to his collection of titles after winning the national short head and yard.

He was "warned" he might be getting the award a few days ago but prior to that had "no clue" it was coming, he said.

NZSDTA councillor and executive committee member Lloyd Smith said Anderson was a "hugely valuable" member of the association.

"He possesses an experience and understanding of the whole  game that is unsurpassed," he said. 

"This ranges from breeding dogs, to training them, and competing with them. He is relied upon for advice." 

The four-time New Zealand champion dog trialist was born and bred on Ben Omar Station in the upper Waitaki Basin, and still lives there.

He qualified for his first national dog trial championship 51 years ago, then, at 19, the youngest competitor to qualify, after winning the North Otago Centre and South Island championships. Since then he has won four national titles, was runner-up five times and has won six South Island and four North Island titles.

He has competed in more than 60 national or North and South Island finals and has only missed one event since that first championship final in 1965.

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Anderson has represented New Zealand eight times in trans-Tasman test matches and captained the New Zealand team six times. On one occasion he and his son Johnny were both in the same team, with dogs that were also father and son. The 70-year-old legend of the sport shows no sign of slowing down any time soon.

He is a keen duck shooter and has just returned from a bird-hunting trip to South America with a group of Kiwi mates. He also has a share in a launch based in Fiordland, so he has plenty of interests off the farm. Last week he was competing in his 51st New Zealand Dog Trial Championships, which was hosted by his own Omarama club. About 310 trialists and 550 dogs were in the event. After qualifying among the top seven for the run-off in the short head and yard he went on to win last Saturday. "Omarama is probably one of the best venues in New Zealand because the dog trial grounds are on the edge of town and you can walk there from your hotel," he said. He is patron of his club, which celebrated its centenary last year.

"The title only means I'm older than the rest," he quips.



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