By Carol Guy – OBCC Newsletter 2018
Hi Boggy, thank you for taking time to speak to us. Our club has members that trial and some who do not, so I am going to be asking questions with all of them in mind, not just the trialing members.
Would you please tell us a little about yourself and how you came to be involved in trialing?
Boggy: I grew up in a rural area and was a great rugby fan. One evening when I was about 12 or 13 years old - I was waiting for a rugby match to come on the telly when I saw this remarkable show – One Man and His Dog. Those were the days of John Thomas, Jim Cropper and so on. I was fascinated. I had always thought I would be a chef, but I was discouraged because I was told that chefs are underpaid and unsociable. (laughter) Figured I might as well be poorly paid and work from home. I attended a youth training college where I did a shepherd’s apprenticeship and at aged 18 I did a placement at a dairy farm. The shepherd was Barry Woods and he had a dog out Dick Roper’s Tom. He worked 7 dogs at a time in a big park- Raglan - where he was moving 1000 ewes and lambs. I was hooked – I had never seen anything like that in my life.
I got to know a gal with a father who had dogs and started trialing (Boggy is referring to his lovely wife, Jane). My first dog was a half white face named Zack that I paid 200 pounds for. My first nursery trial I was a nervous wreck. John Thomas, Dick Roper and Matt Watson were there. I remember very clearly Dick Montgomery saying ‘listen, you will not make a mistake that any of us has not done before’. They were all very supportive and it instilled in me a need to pass this on and so I kept on having a go!
How did you come to be part of the 2017 ISDS Supreme team of volunteers?
Boggy: Well the decision for me to be Course Director (CD) for the 2017 Supreme was made 4 years ago at Stoneleigh when I was the local Chairman for the 2013 Supreme. Richard Smith was the vice Chairman at the time and it has been usual for the vice Chairman to be the Chairman at the next English Supreme. I didn’t think I would be running a dog in it so I was roped into it by Richard. (laughter) I was the CD for four English Nationals – 2013, 2014, 2015 & 2017 as well.
You certainly have had the experience running large trials!
Boggy: You could say that… (more laughter)
Would you say that there was a lot of expectation with this past Supreme – for England that is?
Boggy: I would say so. England hadn’t won the Supreme since Sidney Price’s Davy in 1987 – that’s 30 years! It certainly wasn’t for lack of trying in the past. England had come so close.
Can you tell us exactly what the role of Course Director at a Supreme involves?
Boggy: In a nutshell, the CD is the person that every handler checks in with on the day of the trial. Handlers check in about 4 runs before they go to the post. The CD never runs a dog at the Supreme – it would be considered a conflict, although there is no written rule. A CD, however, has run a dog at the Nationals. The CD also manages the area where the handlers stand waiting for their runs which is the cordoned off area where the judges and clerks, the Chairman; and the ISDS President are during the trial.
The CD is the go between the top let out crew and the Judges. The CD radios the let out crew to let out the next batch of sheep which means he also watches the exhaust crew to ensure the sheep from the previous run are off the field before requesting the next lot of sheep form the letout. The CD monitors activity on the entire course.
The CD ensures the packets of sheep include the correct number of sheep and that those sheep are uniform – no odd coloured or lame sheep. Ensure that the letout crew isn’t using a dog or that the exhaust crew dog isn’t harassing the sheep. The let out crew walk the sheep calmly out to a painted spot on the ground and the sheep are set within 20 feet of that mark. Dogs are never used at Supreme or National trials – the sheep do not know the field so there is rarely a draw to a barn or other area on the course so there is not the need. Also, the set out dog could be confused with the trial dog so that eliminates that potential for that problem.
The Judges will also give the CD instructions for the handlers. For example, the judges do not call the shed/split but will radio the CD if they want the handler to regather and shed again. The CD then passes this instruction directly to the handler. Handlers and Judges do not speak directly to each other– in fact it is frowned upon for anyone to speak directly to the judges - including the ISDS- President during the trial.
Can you then explain how handlers get answers to questions about their runs?
Boggy: They must lodge a complaint to the Trials Committee, but handlers rarely do that- everyone bitches and complains behind the rope.
That sounds like handlers are the same everywhere. What do you think the key quality for being a CD is?
Boggy: Without a doubt it is diplomacy… especially since the CD is the go between the handlers, judges and let out crews.
Who decided the design of the course for the 2017 International?
Boggy: The four National Presidents agree on the course -mind you - the design obviously had to be built around the let out and exhaust pens as well. The National Presidents’ all had to agree. The local Chairman does have the final decision however should there be any issues. We received some very positive feedback about -including from Peter Wood of Darbyshire who said it was the most intensive course he had ever seen.
What other duties did you have as CD?
Boggy: Setting up the course for both the qualifying and final rounds. This included installing the left perimeter fence – which generated quite a bit of discussion – but in the end, it was felt that there was a lot of room for a dog to get lost in, so it was decided it was best to proceed with its installation. Also helping put up the pens at both ends of field. Staking in and tying up the drive panels - anything that involves the course or any issues that arise on the course - lots of pressure watching for anything to put right.
So now Boggy – you must have been pointing runs as you watched over the course – did any run in particular strike you as being remarkable before the handler left the course?
Boggy: As a matter of fact, the local Chairman, the four National Presidents and I were standing in the Handlers zone watching what we thought was a 400 point run in the qualifier. This was Sergio Perello. Everyone was excited – he had just finished his shed and was still in the ring ….and then my radio went off with a message from the judges for Sergio to redo his shed. It was a brilliant run... unfortunate he had to re-shed.
Sergio had a great go – one of my favourite runs of the weekend. A bit of a letdown after all that excitemet.
Boggy, I know that at most of these large events there are always glitches and stories that go with these. I know there was a mishap on the course during the final day – please tell us what happened.
Boggy: Oh yes on the final day which was quite blustery and rainy a typical English day really – Ricky Hutchinson was at the post. He had sent Jock on the first outrun. I watched the left fetch panel keel over. I realized we had forgotten to go back and tie them up after we did the drive panels. There was no time to get someone else to sort it out, so I started up the field myself to fix it. It was a good distance away. I trotted up the field and as I past the post Ricky says “You wanna be quick – I’m on a good line and I’m coming!” (Boggy laughs) It was a bit of a feat getting out there before the sheep got there first – I could see them coming across the bridge – a bit tense that was. However, I did manage to get there in time to fix it but had to head to the ditch off to the side of the course. That meant I missed his run unfortunately.
We were a bit tense watching you run to the panels before the sheep and dog. We all wanted to cheer for you after it turned out so well. I confess to rooting for Ricky from the start of the trial. The entire event was wonderful. The setting was beautiful and challenging.
Thank you again, Boggy for your time and for all your work helping make the visit to the International so special for us.