SCORES of sheep dogs descended on Casterton on the weekend for the 2012 Australian Kelpie Muster.
More than 5000 people from across Australia attended the 16th annual two-day festival, kelpies in tow, for a series of competitions and novelty activities.
Casterton Kelpie Association secretary Linda Thompson told The Standard that the weekend had been “absolutely fantastic”, with accommodation in Casterton and surrounding areas booked out.
“We had record crowds,” she said.
“People travelled from everywhere to attend.”
Yesterday’s working dog auction broke the muster’s record for the highest-priced dog.
A two-year-old male red kelpie named Tom attracted a winning bid of $12,000, which was $3000 more than last year’s highest-priced canine.
Auction chairwoman Nancy Withers said the audience had watched a catalogue of 75 dogs at the demonstrations before bidding began at 3pm.
About 20 dogs were passed in but negotiations continued afterwards, she said.
Ms Thompson said the weekend’s competitions had attracted a strong field of entrants, with Tony Wilson and his kelpie Mack beating 21 other pairs to take gold in the annual kelpie triathlon.
Individual category winners in the event were Hugh Mawhinney with George in the kelpie high jump (2.72 metres), Claire O’Callaghan with Rory in the kelpie dash (5.20 seconds) and Mr Wilson with Mack in the kelpie hillclimb (31.16 seconds).
The muster will continue today with the working dog school.