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Preparations are well in hand for what promises to be an entertaining display of skills as the country's top triallists and their dogs try their best to outwit their ovine opponents.
The New Zealand Sheep Dog Trial Association (NZSDTA) Tux South Island and New Zealand Championship trial begins at Geraldine Collie Dog Club trial grounds at Waihi Station on May 26.
NZSDTA Canterbury Centre publicity officer Sally Mallinson said about 240 dogs were entered in each heading event and 280 in each huntaway - about 300 competitors all up - with equal numbers entered from the North and South islands.
Mrs Mallinson said the public was welcome to attend.
The run-offs for the New Zealand titles on the Friday and Saturday would be a ''great show'' for spectators.
There were no favourites as such, she said.
Every competitor started out on an equal footing.
''Success all comes down to the sheep you draw on the day.''
To qualify for entry, dogs must have gained six qualification points in 2014.
Judges for the championships are: are Event I, long head, Ben Manson, Canterbury; Event II, short head and yard, Dave Davey, Wanganui; Event III, zigzag huntaway, Sam Manson, Canterbury; Event IV, straight huntaway, Mel Bolton, Wanganui.
- by Ruth Grundy