Working dog owner and trainer Fraser Ramsey of Bonalbo and his wife Laurene with ?Mate?.
Working dog owner and trainer Fraser Ramsey of Bonalbo and his wife Laurene with ?Mate?.

Bonalbo dog trials fired up a nation

By JANELLE McLENNAN

WHEN Fraser Ramsey was asked to help put together an event for the Bonalbo Show to test the skills of cattle dogs, he never once considered the event would take hold all over Australia.

He was just 20 at the time and thought a 'cattle dog trial' would be a bit of fun and a new attraction for the show.

Fraser wasn't even sure the event, which the committee based loosely on sheep dog competitions, would be held the following year.

Fifty seven years later and as the last surviving member of that committee, Fraser has been asked to unveil a tribute at this year's Bonalbo Show recognising Bonalbo as the birthplace of cattle dog trials in Australia.

"I'm honoured to be asked to do the job," the former Casino stock and station agent said.

"It is in fact a tribute to the Bonalbo Show Society which started dog trialling and kept it going all these years."

Since the first dog trial was held in 1950, the sport has grown and spread across Australia.

According to a report in the July 1950 edition of Hoofs and Horns, 14 dogs contested that first trial, including Fraser's red kelpie Crib.

The event was won by Old Bonalbo man Bob Taylor and his dog 'Ginger'.

"I don't remember the event too well, I just know I wasn't very hot," he said laughing.

Fraser has improved his cattle dog trialling skills since then and as well as unveiling the monument at the show on Friday, he also will run three of his dogs -- Mate, Jerry and Ridge -- in the dog trial.

The monument, built by the North Coast Working Dog Association, will be unveiled at 11am.



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