The Supreme Australian Sheepdog Championship is the premier sheepdog trialling event in Australia. It was first held in 1990 in Deloraine in Tasmania
and was won by Henry Homan working Onawinna Tina. It rotates between the six states and the judges each year are selected from a national pool
of judges nominated by the participating states.
The Supreme has never been won by a woman but a number of NSW competitors have won the Supreme over the years. One of the most successful Supreme competitors
in the 28-year history of the competition has been Greg Prince from NSW who has won the event nine times in all. The defending champion is Kenny
Robinson from NSW who won at Seymour last year with his dog Cook’s Hope.
Originally the Supreme was held for Open (must have won at least one trial) dogs only and Novice dogs were excluded from competing. States often run
a separate Novice competition attached to the event and in 2011 it was agreed that a Novice dog that was promoted during this competition could
also compete in the Supreme that year. In March 1999 it was decided that competitors could enter up to two Novice dogs in the Supreme but this
was short-lived, getting rescinded just seven months later in October. However, at the same time it was then agreed that Novice dogs could enter
the Supreme in Tasmania and Western Australia, presumably because of the relatively low numbers in those states. The rules on Novice dogs were
relaxed again in 2011 it was decided that any participant who did not own an Open dog would be allowed to enter one Novice dog in the Open event.
It is still left to West Australia and Tasmania to decide whether they wished to extend Novice dog participation in their event.
The evolution of the Supreme Championship to where it is now, took place over several years. The first set of rules were only decided upon in 1996
and the course used for the Championship has undergone many changes. In 1998 it was agreed that the host state would use their own course, but
this was reversed in 2004 when the Supreme course was adopted and has been used ever since.
The top twenty scores are taken from the field for an initial run off; and then the dogs with the top ten aggregate scores go into a final run off
on the last day of the competition. Scores are traditionally very close in the run offs, leading to a nail biting finish.
In addition to the Dogpro Supreme Championship itself, the week also includes the Interstate challenge between the six participating states. This has
been a part of the Supreme week since its inception. As well as the intense rivalry between the states the Interstate Challenge is important because
the top four competitors go on to represent Australia in the annual test against New Zealand. The Trans-Tasman Test has been part of the event
since 1990 in the years it is Australia’s turn to host. This year we will be hosting the Test at Hawkesbury and are looking forward to having good
support on the ground for our national team.
An event like this which lasts over a week, and has over 200 entries, is expensive to arrange and it is a tradition that entry is free. As well as
ongoing fundraising, the NSWSDI has been fortunate to have several sponsors that include Dogpro as our main sponsor for the Championship and many