Cobber Stories & Media

Working dog teams set to compete in the first Cobber Challenge Relay

25 July 2022

The Cobber Challenge has become a team sport this year. For the first time, teams of working dogs from across Australia and New Zealand will compete in a relay format.

Today the 12 teams vying to win the title of the hardest working team of dogs are announced.

The Cobber Challenge Relay recognises that farmers often work dogs in teams, or pick certain dogs to do different tasks, like moving mobs of cattle or pushing sheep through yards.

Now in its seventh year, the 2022 Cobber Challenge Relay will run from Monday 22 August to Sunday 11 September.

Each day of the three-week competition, the farmer will select one of their nominated dogs to wear a GPS collar, to track how far, fast and for how long they work. The results will be combined and it will be the team of two, three or four dogs that is crown Cobber Champions, compared to one dog in past years.

Their data is uploaded daily to the Cobber Challenge website so fans can follow along with their favourite working dog teams.

Genine Jackson, a grazier representing Queensland in this year’s challenge, has a special bond with her working dogs. In 2020, Genine fell off a young horse, crushing three vertebrates. She didn’t know if she could continue mustering Brahman cattle on the family’s station near Charters Towers. But working dogs, trained to take a bigger range of commands, returned her independence.

As she recovered and learned to train dogs in a new way, she was gifted a dog named Turbo.

“Turbo is the dog that trained me, then trained my other dogs. Dogs have helped me accomplish much more than I ever thought I could,” Genine said.

Sadly, Turbo recently passed away and Genine has christened her team of two Kelpies and one Collie, ‘Team Turbo’ in his memory.

Nick Foster, a stockman from Boorowa, NSW, can’t wait to show off how hard his dogs work – and play.

“They are a part of my family, and they love my kids. Every day they get off work, they go find my kids.”

Nick’s team ‘Koonama Working Kelpies’ is really a family affair. All four Kelpies are related. Cracka and Drake are brothers, with Cracka siring Scorcha and Bundy.

Representing New Zealand this year is 19-year-old shepherd Taylor Bird. His ‘Team Hakatere Station’ is made up of four dogs – two Hunterways and two Heading dogs.

“We had so many amazing nominations this year, and the 12 we’ve selected span from Bodallin in Western Australia, across to Mount Somers in New Zealand, some 4767km, says Kellie Savage, Cobber’s Marketing Manager.

“These teams showcase different types of farms and different breeds of dogs. But one thing all the teams share is a special relationships between our entrants and their dogs.”

Kellie says the relay format will give people a better sense of how farmers really work with their dogs. When they’re out on the land, it’s a team effort.”

Cobber Working Dog Food will provide the fuel these dogs need to go hard, as it does for thousands of working dogs every day around the country.

For three weeks, the dogs will be scored based on distance, speed and duration of work per day with points accumulated based on daily activity to determine the winner of the Cobber Challenge Relay trophy.

People can follow the performance of their favourite working dog team at and on the Cobber Dog Facebook page.

Competitors for the 2022 Cobber Challenge

  • 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 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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