Whangamomona's Steve Murphy is a step ahead of Taranaki competitors after a win in the Waimarama dog trial in Hawke's Bay last weekend.
Murphy won the long head with his dog Treat, which was also the first intermediate placegetter. He was third in the same event with Kahu, a combination that won a fifth placing in the short head and yard.
Also competing at the weekend at the Feilding and Districts Sheep Dog Trial were Hawera's Lloyd Duffy and his dog Trump. They were second in the short head and yard and Trump was the event's top intermediate dog. The pair are just two of Taranaki's dog triallists gearing up for the new season.
Seasoned competitors likely to join Murphy and Duffy at the forefront of competition include Ken Lobb and Dan Murphy, of Whangamomona, Bryce Jensen, of Tarata, Graeme Dickson, of Ararata, Loyd Bishop, of Makahu, and Barry Thomson, of Waverley.
Among young triallists to keep an eye on are the Whangamomona pair of Zane Dobson and Leighton Bellringer.
The first Taranaki trial of 2013 will be hosted by the Whangamomona Dog Trial Club at Kohuratahi in eastern Taranaki on Wednesday and Thursday next week.
The Mangaehu-Stratford Sheep Dog Trial Club holds its trial at nearby Tututawa immediately afterwards, on Friday and Saturday. The two trials are expected to attract a strong Whanganui contingent who will go on to compete at Paparangi, northeast of Whanganui, on Sunday, February 17.
Competitors will have a short break before they head to the Egmont Sheep Dog Trial Club event at Ararata on February 21 and 22. Also on the Taranaki calendar are the Waverley- Waitotara trial on March 8 and 9, the Eltham-Takau event on March 14 and 15 and the Tarata contest on April 5 and 6.
The Taranaki centre championships will be hosted by the Waihi-Waitara club at Kaimata on April 12 and 13.
Less than three weeks later the Tux South Island championships will begin on May 6 in Blenheim, followed by the Tux North Island and New Zealand Championships at Taupo at the end of May.
Before the beginning of the season, Taranaki judges took the opportunity to hone their skills at a refresher course on the Mangamingi property of triallist Bernie Gower last month.
Heading and huntaway events featuring top competitors like Dan Murphy and Steve Murphy and their dogs were held for the judges.
- Taranaki Daily News
Was the weekend's rain welcome relief for your garden/farm?Related story: Yesterday's drizzle no drought breaker for Wellington, Hawke's Bay
Get Taranaki's frequent news and sport updates
Choose an iconic Taranaki photo as wallpaper for your computer
Astronomer Tom Whelan explains what is in the Taranaki heavens for each month.