And they’re off and racing! The 2019 Cobber Challenge started with 11 dogs from across Australia are competing to win the title of Australia’s hardest working dog.
Have you ever wondered how far a farm dog runs each day?
It’s hard to guess when the type of work they do, the location and the size of property vary so much.
When the 11 dogs from across the nation come in after a day’s work in the paddock or in the yards, they will have the data to show just what they’ve been up to.
They set out wearing GPS collars as part of the fourth annual Cobber Challenge.
This national competition sees the dogs’ movements tracked every day for three weeks. Their speed, distance and duration results are uploaded to the cobberchallenge.com.au website each evening. Points are earned based on daily activity until Sunday 1 September to determine the winner of the coveted Cobber Challenge trophy.
“We’re looking forward to seeing the results begin to roll in as our 11 competitors come in from a day of hard work,” says Ian Moore, Group Marketing Manager of Ridley which produces Cobber dog food.
“Each dog-owner team has different work planned for the first day of the competition – it’s all dependent on the season and what jobs need to be done on the farm.”
Today, Jack Febey and his Kelpie Monty from Tasmania will be working with both cattle and sheep, shifting them around and keeping everything in order.
“Monty can go all day. He’s got the right attitude and just never stops.”
Emma Lawrence and her Collie-Kelpie-Koolie cross Mick from Queensland will be mustering cattle, weighing calves and sorting and drafting cows.
“There’s always something to do, but Mick seems to have endless energy. He’s super quick but will last all day. I think being raised on our hilly farm has given him incredible stamina.”
Meanwhile, Jim Harradine and his dog Bridie from Western Australia, will be starting to push the sheep up to the crutching trail.
“I’m always surprised by how far Bridie can go. We’ve done a couple of test runs with the collars. With good weather we’ll get some good runs in and she’ll clock up some decent distances.”
Cobber Working Dog food provides the fuel for these dogs, as it does for thousands of working dogs every day around the country and picking the winner is tough.
Henry Lawrence, the owner of last year’s winner Boof, is tipping Peta Bauer’s Border Collie Jed, from South Australia, to possibly win.
“Jed’s got a good chance because of the sheer number of stock he’s working with,” he said.
“But I’ve also got a soft spot for Turbo, the Kelpie from NSW, because he’s had a broken back and showed a strong drive to come back, and Boof’s like that too with the injuries he’s had.”
Everyone has their favourites and the team at Cobber is eagerly awaiting the results tonight to see how all the dogs perform, Ian Moore said.
List of 2019 Cobber Challenge competitors*
• Daniel Pumpa and Turbo, Wambangalang, NSW
• Emma Lawrence and Mick, Wallabadah, NSW
• Mitchell Leek and Ajay, Nar Nar Goon, VIC
• Sharon Barry and Cliché, Hamilton, VIC
• Sam Wright and Bonnie, Nebo, QLD
• Heidi Harrold and Socks, Prairie, QLD
• Jim Harradine and Bridie, Kondinin/Bunbury, WA
• Brendon Johnson and Lady, Epping Forrest, TAS
• Jack Febey and Monty, Paradise, TAS
• Peter Barr and Breakit, Kingston SE, SA
• Peta Bauer and Jed, Keith, SA
*Due to unforeseen circumstances, Bailey Vlahov and his dog Buddy will not compete in this year’s Cobber Challenge.