Cobber Stories & Media

No resting on their laurels for Challenge stars

18 July 2017

Rosalea Ryan

Since the 2016 Cobber Challenge ended pre-Christmas, life for the eight inaugural Challenge contenders hasn’t been solely all-you-can-eat-Cobber on tap and lazy days spent lolling in the shade, paws up, reveling in past glories. As active, working farm dogs, the Cobber Challenge competitors have continued to pull their weight around their home properties, working cattle and sheep in yards, paddocks and trucks. Many are also regulars on the working dog trial circuit, where their ability to maneuver livestock is timed and critiqued to determine the best of the best where stockwork under typical Australian farm conditions is concerned.

Hank – or Frankish Hank, as he’s known when trialling – is one of Australia’s up-and-coming bright young trial celebrities. The 2016 Cobber Challenge entrant from Middlemount, Queensland, is accustomed to having rough, undulating grazing country underfoot but feels every bit as comfortable in a showground arena. Frankish Hank finished fifth in a field of 71 dogs in the ‘open’ division of the Queensland Working Cattle Dog Trial Association’s competition at Ridgelands, near Rockhampton, Queensland, in mid-June this year. In two rounds of judging, Hank was awarded 191 points from a possible 200, tying with another of his owner-handler Matt Frankish’s dogs, Springhill Jess.

The three-year-old Border Collie was placed sixth in last year’s Cobber Challenge despite being restricted by working only in the evening as temperatures on Matt’s property in central Queensland soared to 46°C at times. Coincidentally, the Queensland Working Cattle Dog Trial Association – which runs events almost every weekend during the cooler, drier period between April and September – is sponsored by Cobber Working Dog food and even has its own photo album on the Cobber Facebook page.

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