Melrose may be forced to wait another five years for the opportunity to host the National Kelpie Field Trial Championships following the event’s cancellation as a result of reinforced COVID-19 border restrictions.

The Remarkable Yard Dog Committee was set to host the trials, along with the South Australian Utility Dog Championships, from July 22-26.

However, the State Government’s decision to keep South Australia’s borders closed to Victorian travellers beyond the anticipated July 20 opening – and travel from New South Wales still being debated – forced the cancellation of both events.

Event organising committee members are disappointed at the outcome, but Orroroo farmer and committee member Peter Battersby said the decision was out of their control.

“The National Kelpie Council made the decision because Victoria and NSW competitors can’t get here, so it wouldn’t be a truly national competition,” he said.

“The SA Yard Dogs Association also decided we should call the whole event off.”
It was a significant blow to the small Southern Flinders yard dog club, which only gained the national event in January to assist their drought-stricken comrades in Queensland.

The club now risks not having the opportunity to host the national event for another five years.

“We are hoping, because the cancellation was out of our hands, we might be given the opportunity to run it again next year, but earlier on we were told if it didn’t run this year, we’d go back to the bottom of the list and have to wait another five years to host the (national) event,” Peter said.

“It was thrown on us fairly quickly, we were meant to host next year but because Queensland was still in drought, we took it on in January to host in 2020.

“There was a fair bit of work involved in hunting around to get more producers to supply more sheep, because you need more stock for a national trial, plus a lot of work in getting sponsors on-board so we could run it.

“There was always the possibility it may have to be cancelled but we were hoping, that state by state, we’d get on top of things and it would still run but that hasn’t happened.

“We hope that next year we can run the state trials and hopefully will be given the chance to run the nationals again.”