Dog trial takes on life of its own

Charity Hill Dog Trial organisers Cam Bainand AJ Aitken say they have been overwhelmed by...
Charity Hill Dog Trial organisers Cam Bainand AJ Aitken say they have been overwhelmed by generosity from businesses in Otago and Southland keen to sponsor the event. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
What was initially going to be a "muck-around maiden day" dog trial has quickly taken on a life of its own, and all for a good cause.

The idea of a social dog trial had been lingering in the back of Cam Bain’s mind since lockdown restrictions lifted, and after "chewing the fat" with some mates, a competition day has been organised by the Moa Flat farmer and his mate AJ Aitken.

"Initially, it was just going to be a pretty quiet, muck-around sort of maiden day. We thought if we got 50 dogs we would be stoked," Mr Bain said.

"But it’s all become pretty out of hand as word has got around.

"There’s a lot of people keen on a dog trial and to support a good cause."

Known as the 2020 Charity Hill Dog Trial, the event will take place on November 28 and 29 at Brad Dawson’s farm, known as Island Block, at Millers Flat. Proceeds from the event will go towards the Southland Charity Hospital.

"All of us have been affected by someone with cancer. It is just as much about the cause as it is about the event," Mr Bain said.

A large number of sponsors had come on board, he said.

"Aaron Apii from Purina has got right in behind it as our principal sponsor, which kicked it into another gear. We have had a lot of support, which has been quite amazing. All the businesses we approached have really fronted up with some amazing prizes for our auction, which has blown us both away, and we thank them all very much for the generosity."

A charity auction will be held on the Saturday.

"Everyone is welcome to come along.

"Even if you don’t run a dog, it’s a good excuse to have a catch-up and partake in the auction."

Before lockdown, Mr Bain had qualified all four of his dogs for the New Zealand dog trial championships and was organised to take the journey north and compete in the North Island championships.

"We had just got into the guts of the 2020 dog trial season when Covid-19 took over and shut everything down."

Mr Dawson’s property has never hosted a dog trial event before and Mr Bain said he was excited to test his dogs out on a new course.

"It’ll be good to catch up with a few people after lambing and tailing and we can all see how our dogs are going for next season."

As the event has grown, they had welcomed a small committee of volunteers to help them ensure the event was well run, Mr Bain said.

Online registrations would soon be available on the event’s Facebook page and the committee was calling for anyone keen to attend to signal their interest on the event’s page.

"Just to give us plenty of notice for catering reasons and to make sure we are adhering to whatever the Covid restrictions are at the time."

Alice Scott

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