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Mark Billadeau

2015 Pipedream Farm SDT

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The field is challenging with a 10' steep berm across the entire field about 3/4s of the way up the field; the field is up a hill (those who walked the course learned this the hard way). The sheep were set at the very top behind a rock outcrop (about 250 yrd outrun). There was a small dogleg in the fetch to pull the sheep around the rocks and then down off the berm onto a easing slope down to the handlers' post. Open Friday had a long up hill left hand drive back up above the berm and a cross drop diagonally off the berm to the right side of the field. Open Saturday had a short right hand drive and a long cross drive climbing diagonally up the berm. For both Open days a split of the 2 ewes and 2 lambs followed the cross drive and then the pen. Handler's got 11min to complete the runs which was sufficient time to walk the sheep around the course.

 

The sheep tested the dogs by pulling towards the right side of the field starting at the rocks (dogleg in fetch) right after the lift; the draw to the right increased each day of the trial. The sheep ran twice each day.

 

The weather was beautiful, clear and in the low to mid 80s. The sun was hot mid day leading to more difficult sheep at this time of day.

 

The sheep were set just above the berm (below the rock outcrop) for Ranch on Sunday (straight fetch) followed by a left hand drive (below the berm) and a cross drive parallel to the berm to the right side of the field. Pro-Novice and Novice had the same drive away (shorter) and shortened outruns below the berm.

 

Werner Reitboeck aptly judged the runs this year and offered helpful suggestions to the PN and NN handlers. It was a pleasure having Werner down for the weekend.

 

Saturday night there was a wonderful handlers' dinner hosted by Peggy and Todd at their home; all of the food was prepared by Peggy. There was no better way to end Saturday.

 

All three days there were warmed muffins baked by Renee earlier in the week, cookies baked by my mother and sent from Chicago, water, and coffee for all.

 

As usual we had a long list of handlers who offered to help during the trial. These people make it possible for the trial to run well and those who pushed out saved us from walling up a steep hill for every run; thank you. Above all there were those who helped us getting ready: Peggy Simpson, Todd Layfield, Emily Falk, Sue Rayburn, & Linda Tesdahl. As with last year there were several handlers who stayed after the runs on Sunday to help us clean up; we really appreciate this help after a 3 long days of running the trial.

 

Mark & Renee Billadeau

 

I've attached photos of the score boards and a few photos from the top of the field.

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I'm sorry I wasn't able to help beforehand (or to stay longer at the trial itself) - life has been fairly complex in the last couple of weeks (I think 8 or 9 vet visits in September so far?).

 

Emily, please post some of your early morning/late evening shots - let people see what a stunning setting Mark and Renee have!

 

As always, my very favorite trial of the year! A really challenging course, gorgeous location, and wonderful hosts! And next year I hope to actually run my dogs as opposed to sitting on the sideline...

 

Thanks for hosting this trial, Mark (and Renee!)

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It was a lovely trial - challenging field, challenging sheep, great hospitality! This is a trial where neither the field nor the stock give anything away. A handler and dog have to be "right" to do well, and a small mistake at the wrong time can send a run in directions where you don't want to go. It is a very testing trial but fair.

 

The hospitality is always great - wonderful muffins and cookies for daily snacks, and a terrific handlers' dinner by Peggy Simpson and Todd Layfield.

 

It takes a terrific amount of preparation for the trial, and a lot of effort during the trial, especially on the part of Mark, Renee, Emily Falk, Todd, and the rest of the set-out crew. I won't mention the numbers I heard recorded on fitness devices! No wonder those folks are slim and fit!

 

Thanks to Mark and Renee for letting me be a part of their trial!

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