Today, showing and working are almost two different worlds. Back then, a lot of Aussie people worked and showed their Aussies on the same weekend. The custom was to hold a big Specialty show one day, followed by a Stock Dog Trial the next. The natural ability of the dogs really came through, simply because there were so many just learning how to train and trial.
In the early trials, it was quite common that no dogs made the center obstacle. Occasionally only one or two dogs even got on course! Dog-broke stock were seldom used, and stock that had been on course before were unheard of. The WTCH (Working Trial Champion) did not yet exist, and dogs with advanced titles on all three classes of livestock unofficially carried the title of “Triple ATD.”
In so many ways it was different than it will ever be again. In the late 70s and early 80s everyone involved in developing the ASCA Stock Dog Program, holding trials or competing in them, helped to create something that previously did not exist for this young breed of dog. American farmers and ranchers developed the Aussie in America, and the ASCA program seemed an appropriate place to preserve the breed as a real practical stockdog. Talented dogs were much appreciated, and people sought them out.
Gas was cheap, and competitors traveled all over the country, meeting people, seeing dogs, and trialling. It was easier back then to get a feel for working styles that lines were producing, just because it was more possible to actually see the dogs. You could ship a dog for $20.00 to any location in the US, which made breedings a simpler issue.
While those of us in the “stockdog crowd” did have serious intentions, to say that we didn’t have fun along the way would be inaccurate.
For most stockdog people during this time period, it was probably more important for our peers to see that we had a good dog, rather than worrying about winning or beating someone else.
It was a beginning.
Slash V Dogs of the 1980s
For us the 80’s were Ticki’s decade and the decade of her offspring. But at the same time another puppy was whelped in March of 1980 who would make an impact on the Slash V. My friends Renn & Shiree Christiansen in Utah (Brushwood) bred Kate who was sired by my Buckeye Bobby , and out of Slash V Fancy Face. That was our Kate.
It is only through Kate that we can still trace back to Buster Brown Shoe. Steve’s mom, Liz Winn (Zia) in New Mexico bought her as a puppy and she chose the name Brushwood Buckeye Charm. Trained shown and trialed to all her titles by Steve, at one time Kate was the most titled bitch in the breed.
One of my favorite memories of her was when Steve bet me he could stand at the take pen gate and have her put one lone barbado ewe through the ASCA course with the rest of the sheep in the take pen. It was amazing. She backed that ewe one step at a time through the first panel, then drove her through the second and maneuvered her to the center chute. Working the center chute she backed the ewe slowly, preventing her from breaking away by always meeting her face to face no matter which way the ewe turned. True stock savvy! She spent some of her life with Steve and I in Texas but retired back to New Mexico where she lived to be 17. It would be at the end of the 80’s that she would, from her last litter, give us a special daughter, Zia‘s Buckeye Charmer.
Ticki had been worked at home and trialed a little on cattle and ducks and later was trialed one weekend on sheep. in 1981 we bred her to HOF Sire CH Slash V Little Rock CD. These pups went to ranch homes with the exception of a red puppy who went to Russ Ford (Aggieland) with the agreement he would enter him in the 1983 Stock Dog Futurity. Little “Sam” would become HOF WTCH Slash V Spirit of Aggieland RD.
Ticki's pups, trialing in Palestine, Texas in 1986
Below, left to right, Barb Hager with Slash V Terry Martin ATDsd OTDc, "Terry," Red Oliver with WTCH Slash V Slide Me Sweet CD "Slip", Steve Winn with Slash V Slidin Five ATDd OTDcs, "Rowdy," Tony Rohn with Slash V Candy Barr STDcd RD ATDs , "Candy," Crystal Jones with Slash V Semi Autumn Woods OTDcs STDd, "Autumn," Russ Ford with HOF WTCH Slash V Spirit of Aggieland RD, "Sam.
HOF WTCH Slash V Spirit of Aggieland RD
Sam placed fourth in the futurity and thus began a successful trial career. He trialed in a very active trial era in Texas with challenging competition provided by Tony Rohne’s “Bud” (WTCH Zephyr’s Crimson King) and Neal Tindol‘s old dog, Tindol‘s Echo ATDcd OTDs and later Steve‘s Rowdy. Later Sam would add greatly to our breeding program as a sire and give us our favorite cattle dog of all, Slash V Bittersweet.
Barb Hager (Blue Isle) remained a part of this developing bloodline with her Slash V Terry Martin ATDsd OTDc who Barb named after me. This fancy little working dog was unfortunately killed just one score from her WTCH, but the real tragedy of her loss was to Barb personally. Terry was one of those special ones.
Slash V Terry Martin ATDsd OTDc & Barb Hager
In 1983 I leased Slide from Jean Taylor. I had seen Slide several years earlier and liked him plus the fact he traced back to Taylor’s Whiskey and to my Buckeye Bobby dog. Over the years you will see we have tried to breed to some outside dogs to bring in new blood but who trace back to our old dogs somewhere in the pedigree. I trialed Slide a few times although he had never seen stock before.
“Slide” CH Silverledge Slide Me Five STDc
photo by Linda Gray
I bred Ticki to Slide and the first litter produced three dogs who were trialed: “Rowdy” Slash V Slidin Five ATDd OTDcs, “Slip” WTCH Slash V Slide Me Sweet CD and Slash V Candy Barr RD ATDs STDcd. Two of those very special dogs play a big part in our story.
Rowdy was my choice to keep and a special pup from the beginning. Steve took him to train for the 1985 Futurity and the two of them developed a special bond. Rowdy did not win the futurity but in the Nationals trial the following days he won all of the started classes and tied for High in Trial at the National Specialty. There were more HIT wins the following spring. Then, just two scores from his WTCH, Rowdy was tragically killed at the age of 2 ½. So much stock savvy and so much training gone in an instant. Losing Rowdy was a devastating loss to us.
Thinking that Rowdy would be with us for years, we did not have puppies by him. But our friend Rowdy Robinson had a litter out of a granddaughter of Buckeye Bobby, and we soon had his daughter, Double R Pik O My Dreams.
Pik was started on cattle and in training to be my 1988 Futurity dog but a terribly broken foreleg ended her working career.
The story of her offspring is one of the 90’s.
Slip came along at a time when training was rapidly progressing and she competed all across the country. Slip won the 1985 Futurity in Washington, and followed that accomplishment by becoming first dog to win the prestigious award at the Finals--Supreme Champion Stock Dog. A dog must win all three classes at the Finals for this honor and it has only been done twice since Slip accomplished it. Only two others would follow in the next 18 years.
Slip went High in Trial more times than I have record of at the Nationals. One year Slip won two out of the three classes at the Finals and was second in the third in a quest to win all three. This would have earned her the title of Supreme Champion two times over. She is a Hall of Fame dam. Those who saw her will remember at the end of each successful trial run, Red handing Slip his wallet which she carried proudly out of the arena. Some made fun of her for her unsightly prick ears (they were pretty big) and often sun-bleached coat, but if they had looked closely they would have seen a well built sound Aussie who worked hard and lived a very long healthy life.
'85 Nationals, Slip and Rowdy
Slip, 1985 Nationals
Slide & Ticki...second litter
Slash V Semi Autumn Woods OTDcs STDd
The pups from the second Slide x Ticki litter arrived in 1984, and our breeding program benefited tremendously from this one. There were just three puppies, Slash V Paper Doll, Slash V Semi Autumn Woods OTDcs STDd “Autumn” and Slash V Licensed To Slide “Sli“.
Autumn, pictured above, did not belong to us but Steve did train and trial her. Autumn was a tough, hard heeling Aussie who could be frustrating but incredibly rewarding when she got things right. Her working style was very much the same as her older brother and sister, Rowdy and Slip. Autumn can be seen as a young, relatively untrained dog working as "demo dog" in Steve Winn's Training Your Stockdog DVD.
Titles don’t mean everything and often the lack of them means simply the dog wasn‘t in competition. With the exception of Fudge and Ticki, our best producer was from this litter. After the older Rowdy and Slip being fancy low heelers with little eye, our Paper Doll was a head/fetch dog with a lot of eye for an Aussie. Paper Doll’s littermates worked more like their older siblings and Autumn was the fanciest of low heelers.
But what about Paper Doll? Paper Doll was born in 1984 and lived a sound healthy life into the next century!
Every Aussie Steve and I own today is either her direct offspring or grandpup with just one exception. The magic cross with Paper Doll was with her half brother, Sam. So many of the pups from this cross went to non-trial homes that Paper Doll is not a Hall of Fame Dam but two of her daughters (Slash V Cherry Cola and Slash V Bittersweet Sis) have earned this honor. Her non-trailed daughter, Slash V Sweet N Innocent, produced three Working Trial Champions--WTCH Slash V Dark Rider, WTCH Slash V Slide Me Six, and WTCH Slash V Sage and Cinnamon.
Paper Doll is the dam of our WTCH Slash V Bittersweet “Possum”.
Slash V Paper Doll
Ticki's Last Litter
Black Powder Toby ATDsd STDc
"Fudge" Slash V Blueberry Fudge ATDsd OTDc
Ticki was a little over seven when she had her last litter of two puppies. We kept her daughter Blueberry Fudge, who was sired by our Little Rock son, Black Powder Toby ATDsd STDc. Toby and his daughter had two things in common. They were very talented working dogs with lots of positive traits and they were very difficult to train.
Toby was a hard heeling dog who, quite frankly, was terrified of the head. Fudge was a fancy worker with some eye when approaching stock, low heeler and she would head along with being a strong fetch dog on sheep. I had decided to train her myself (mistake!) and I doubt she ever knew or cared that I was there. However I did get her within one score of a WTCH before I gave her away to a ranch home rather than trial her one more time. So much for the importance of titles! Toby was also the sire of HOF Dam, Slash V Cherry Cola. Both Toby and Fudge are also featured in Steve's DVD.
Young Kate, Possum and the beginning of the 1990s...
At the end of the 80’s two key bitches were born who would make their mark in the 90’s. The first is “Possum” who is from the Sam and Paper Doll cross. The second was a phantom blue merle bitch out of a dog I “borrowed” from Barb Hager who traced back to the old dogs; Terry, CH Slash V Easy Jet, and Barb’s good Wally Butler dog, Nielsen’s WW Troy 10-1. He was bred to Kate for her last litter and gave us “ Young Kate“. Possum and Young Kate would contribute greatly to our lives and our gene pool in the nineties and would be the next generation.