Kelpies dash into Casterton

LOOKING THE PART: Dogs travelled from all over Australia to the small country town of Casterton, including Ruby Roo from Canberra. Picture: MELANIE RILEY.

Melanie Riley

CROWDS of people and their best mates were herded to the birthplace of the Kelpie for the 28th Casterton Kelpie Muster over the weekend.

Run by the Casterton Kelpie Association, the weekend saw about 10,000 visitors from all over Australia line the main street of Casterton for Saturday’s Kelpie Festival.

The day began with the street parade, then the novelty events followed, where dogs took home prizes in categories such as best-dressed, best trick, waggiest tail and the 11-legged race.

Clever participants showcased their talents in the Kelpie Triathlon including the high jump, hill climb and dash.

The Stockman’s Challenge was a hit, and there was plenty for the kids to join in throughout the day.

Casterton Kelpie Association president Karen Stephens said she was feeling “absolutely awesome” after another successful muster.

“The street on Saturday was just absolutely remarkable,” she said.

“This is a huge event for Casterton and a huge event for the region, and it’s just beyond expectations every year, it’s just amazing.”

For Sunday’s Australian Premier Working Dog Auction, a massive $200,000 worth of dogs were sold, with the top priced dog coming in at a huge $20,000, and top priced pup at $9,000.

“We hit the $4 million range of the total of dogs sold since the first auction,” Mrs Stephens said.

“It is just unreal that a small community like ours can pull off something like that.

“It was a really good result for vendors that support us and there are dogs going all over Australia, so that’s always good too.”

Mrs Stephens said the demand for good working dogs has been high for local farmers.

“If they can’t get reliable farm workers on their farm, they’re looking to diversify in getting a really good team of working dogs together,” she said.

The auction also saw auctioneer James Tierney, originally from Casterton, being recognised over the weekend for his 25 years of dedication to the Kelpie Muster.

“He has been in Wagga Wagga now for a number of years, and he travels back every year to do our auction,” Mrs Stephens said.

“He is highly regarded, and he comes back to little old Casterton – back home – to do this every year to do this auction and he just loves it.”

Mrs Stephens said the success of the weekend was owed to the huge efforts of everybody involved.

“I want to say a big shout out to everybody to say thank you very much,” she said.