Thu, Apr 28, 2022 9:21 AM

Kaikoura Collie Dog Trial Club to celebrate 125 Years



By Tony Orman

The Kaikoura Collie Dog Trial Club will celebrate 125 years of age this April. It’s a grand age and one to be proud of says James Calder, current president.

“We’re very old,” he smiles. “Probably one of the oldest in New Zealand.”

The celebrations will tend to be low key with a dinner and a get-together a focal point.

Although early records were lost in a fire, an article in the “Kaikoura Star’ of 1929, puts the inaugural meeting of the club 33 years earlier about 1896. Maggie Campbell, secretary in 1996 compiled a booklet to mark the centenary.

“So it seems in 1896 with a cool wind coming off the Seaward Kaikouras, the first sheep eyed the first dog in the first event,” she says.

The first events were probably organised under the stewardship of T Adair and H Collyns with Angus Kennedy as secretary. The first trials likely took place at the Little Ludstone paddocks of the clubs first patron William Smith.

Interesting things pop up in the remaining records. In 1900 the rules stated “That protests must be accompanied by a deposit of a one pound note, this sum to be forfeited if protest proves frivolous.”

One pound was a considerable sum of money in those days and the thought  of losing a pound would have made any disgruntled trialist have second thoughts.

In 1952 the club decided to hold a woman’s heading event which created much interest and a good number of entries. The winner was Mrs J G Latter with Mrs J W Laugensen second and Mrs. H D Crampton third.

There have been some fine man and dog combinations over the years. Around 1900 Harry Little and Maudie were among top winners. C Clemett and Jack, F W Brougham in the 1930s and 1940s with Toss and Sam featured among winners and J J Smith won many provincial championships with dogs Cloud and Tiger. It was said Cloud was arguably the best dog in the huntaway class in New Zealand.

In 1959 eleven year old Johnnie Smith, on of the renowned J J Smith, gained a third placing with his father’s dog Jill. Johnnie was indeed very young but the nod for the youngest was probably Ben Pickering just ten years of age, when he first competed in the 1990s. The club built it’s first club room complete with cookshop and bar, in 1976 in Ludstone Road.

President James Calder says the success of the club over 125 years is testimony to the strong support from farmers in holding regular well attended trials and several sponsors.

“In particular Tux have been wonderful as a major sponsor both locally and nationally,” he says.

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