Winterfest Dogs Day Out
Thursday 29 June 2006
IT’S A DOGS LIFE, BUT A GOOD ONE
In a day devoted to man’s best friend, canines were the star of the Lindauer Queenstown Winter Festival today.
In a spectacular Speight’s Dog Derby at Coronet Peak, 60 very excited dogs and their owners turned up, taking a break from moving sheep, to show how unity between man and dog can end in complete and utter chaos.
There were the usual mutts and their quietly spoken masters, however Mark Wilson aka ‘The Caped Crusader’ with Jose, a short legged dog with a cap to match his master’s outfit, somewhat stood out from the crowd.
Pippa, a seven-year-old Labrador, who with her master Jess Hughes won the ‘townie’ award last year, may have choked with the added pressure of being the returning champion and did not place well at all.
Byron Anderson with Ned was first down the mountain, but unfortunately dog and master had different ideas about what was to happen next and they spent the next 20 minutes unsuccessfully trying to communicate via barking and shouting at one another.
Amongst the mayhem of shouts, whistles, dogs barking, and balls and other objects being thrown, the judges after much deliberation decided the winners.
First-time competitor Mathew Middlemass with three-year-old Queen from Castle Hill station won first prize and a dozen Speight’s prize pack. Mindful of the opposition, he declined to reveal his winning tactics, other than to say that he slid down the mountain on his chest. Those tactics may or may not have explained his black eye.
Andrew McLaughlan with Willie (Glen Nevis station) came second, and after a nervous moment or ten in which Dougal Turnball’s dog Crunch (Walter Peak) came through the Speight’s gates first, then kept going up the mountain, they finally took a well-deserved third place.
Nicky Thompson with Base (Nokomai station) was the first female to finish.
The joint award for the least attractive competitors was between Daniel Price with Flynn and Ben Chittock with Joe, while Brian Anderson won the ‘Most Persistent Owner’ award for his somewhat lengthy trip down mountain with Hugh. Precious working dog Flynn went missing in action on Coronet Peak for a while, but was later found – leaving intact the record of a dog missing in action for seven days.
Later in the day, anyone in the vicinity of the Village Green, or in fact Queenstown, couldn’t help but hear the cacophony that was the Speight’s Dog Barking competition.
If the dog wouldn’t bark, the owners did – some barking themselves nearly hoarse in the process.
The Lindauer Queenstown Winter Festival is home of the Southern Hemisphere's ultimate winter celebration and runs from June 23 to July 2.
The festival continues tomorrow (Friday 30 June) with the Stolichnaya Expression Session at Coronet Peak, two performances of the SKYCITY Stand-Up featuring comedians Brendhan Lovegrove, Te Radar, Mike Legge, Emma Lange and MC Jeremy Corbett, and more full-on ice hockey action as the Southern Stampede take on the Canterbury Red Devils.
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Phone: 03 441 2453 or 027 477 9394
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