Cobber Stories & Media

Working dog competition heats up in the Cobber Challenge Relay

1 September 2022

The 12 teams of working dogs vying for the title of the hardest working team in Australia and New Zealand have put in a tremendous effort in the first half of the 2022 Cobber Challenge Relay.

NSW team Koonama Working Kelpies currently leads the pack but the competition is fierce, especially between the top three teams.

Nick Foster who owns the Boorowa-based team that’s out in front, says it was an “extremely busy” start for him and his team of Kelpies, named Cracka, Drake, Sorcha and Bundy.

Heavy rain in the first week meant the team has had to move sheep and cattle off crop paddocks. They’ve also moved mobs to send off for sale.

Together the dogs have clocked up 394 kilometres over almost 37.5 hours over the first 10 days of the competition, recording an average speed of 10.51 km/h.

We will be capturing the dogs’ incredible contributions for another 11 days. As we head into the home stretch of the three-week competition, Nick reminds us of just how invaluable his dogs are.

“They are super important on the farm; I couldn’t do my job without them, for example there are some areas of paddocks I can’t get onto with the motorbike so I rely on them to bring in sheep from those areas,” Nick says.

He says the Cobber Challenge Relay highlights how hard dogs work on farms, which some people underestimate.

“A great example last Tuesday, when Sorcha worked more than 60km, and that was in heavy rain. He definitely needed a rest the next day.”

All four dogs of the Koonama Working Kelpies team have contributed at least one day of work in the first week.

It’s neck and neck for second place.

In the first 10 days, Jordan Flemming’s team Redhead Kelpies from Fingal, Tasmania, has edged in front of Dane Simmond’s team Parwan Prime from Myrniong, Victoria.

Now in its seventh year, introducing the relay format to the Cobber Challenge has already been a huge success, says organiser Kellie Savage, Cobber’s Marketing Manager.

“We love seeing how these dogs work together. The relay format gives our competitors more flexibility, so if they’re doing paddock work one day or working with sheep or cattle, they can pick the dog in their team that is best at that task to wear the GPS collar for the day,” Kellie says.

“As well as celebrating Aussie and New Zealand farmers and working dogs, this year’s competition highlights teamwork. I’m excited to watch how the teams do for the remainder of the competition.”

Each day, one dog in each of the 12 competing teams wears a GPS collar to record the distance, duration and average speed worked. The Cobber Challenge Relay runs for three weeks and this year will finish on Sunday 11 September, with the winning team announced the following day.

Cobber Working Dog Food provides the fuel for the dogs competing in the Cobber Challenge as well as thousands of others working hard every day around the country.

Data is uploaded each day. People can follow the performance of their favourite dog at and on the Cobber Dog Facebook page.

Competitors for the 2022 Cobber Challenge Relay

  • Nick Foster of Boorowa, NSW
  • Team ‘Koonama Working Kelpies’ incl. dogs Cracka, Drake, Scorcha and Bundy
  • Olly Hanson of Corinella, NSW
  • Team ‘Lost River Kelpies’ incl. dogs Jake, Bowie and Hex
  • Sarah Richards of Coolah, NSW
  • Team ‘Nerremen Kelpies’ incl. dogs Kora, Spud, Cash and Tank
  • Georgie Constance of Binalong, NSW
  • Team ‘The Young Guns’ incl. dogs Belle, Beau, Murray and Jess
  • Darius Cosgrave of Tintinara, South Australia
  • Team ‘Superior Wool Merino’ incl. dogs Jip and Boots
  • Ali Hodgson of Greenways, South Australia
  • Team ‘Circus’ incl. dogs Opie, Becham Floyd and Midi.
  • Jordan Flemming of Fingal, Tasmania
  • Team ‘Redhead Kelpies’ incl. dogs Nuts, Claire and Nip
  • Ryan Eade of Bodallin, Western Australia
  • Team ‘Hill View Kelpies’ incl. dogs Flick, Millie, Tezz and Suzie
  • Taylor Bird of Mount Somers, New Zealand
  • Team ‘Hakatere Station’ incl. dogs Bruno, Kate, Tom and Moss.
  • Melissa Smith and Dan McKinnon of Skipton, Victoria
  • Team ‘Anywhere Crutching’ incl. dogs Caviar Keith, Roy, Pip and Jude
  • Dane Simmonds of Myrniong, Victoria
  • Team ‘Parwan Prime’ incl. dogs Ruby and Tully
  • Genine Jackson of Charters Towers, Queensland
  • Team ‘Team Turbo’ incl. dogs Whiskey, Buck and Nick
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