New fencing at the Exeter Showgrounds might keep out wildlife but it’s done nothing to deter dog handlers from entering next month’s Northern Championships Sheepdog Trials.
More than 100 competitors are set to take to the field on December 10 and 11, the most in a decade, and all will benefit from the oval’s new chain mesh fencing and sheep yards which has replaced a 40-year-old pipe and rail fence.
Exeter Show Society president Trevor Clark said 300 voluntary hours, eight Bunnings sausage sizzles and a $7500 federal government grant had been driving factors in the much-needed fence replacement.
“It was old 50 millimetre upright pipe and it was very rusted out with very few gates, but we've completed (the new fence) in the last week, all the way round with 17 gates,” Mr Clark said.
“It’s given the grounds a lift and improved it and it'll make it much more presentable for the sheepdogs, the show and the Exeter markets, so it's been money well spent.”
Competitors will come from as far as King Island to compete in the trials, which have been running since 1998.
Exeter Sheepdog Club president Allan Middleton said he was thrilled with how many handlers had entered this year’s event.
“We haven’t had 100 entries since I took over in about 2007 or 2008, we've probably got 10 to 15 more entries than what the state championships had,” Mr Middleton said.
“(Tasmanian Working Sheepdog Association president) Lance Clifford said to me the other day ‘where do you draw them from?’
“We look after them, we give them breakfast, we give them morning and afternoon tea, we give them a barbecue lunch and they can camp the night if they want to.”
Mr Middleton thanked the assortment of Exeter businesses and individuals who have contributed to the trials, including sheep suppliers Max and Winsome Freeland and sheep transporter Richard Goss.
The trials will begin at 7am both days and is free to enter for spectators.