Iconic Casterton event mustered

Extra-special guests and a brand new sponsor are just some of the latest exciting developments as planning continues for the 2022 Australian Kelpie Muster and Premier Working Dog Auction.

Thousands of guests are expected to flock to Casterton for the June Long Weekend in a return to what organisers hope will be a ‘normal’ festival weekend.

“We cannot wait to welcome all of these visitors back to town and see the community come together in the way only our district knows how, to host the muster and working dog auction, the way we did pre-Covid,” Kelpie Association president, Karen Stephens said.

“We know that many local organisations have missed this event, not only for the excitement that it brings to the town, but the income it provides for many businesses and organisations that rely on the weekend as their major income for the year,” she said.

“Everyone from the stall holders, to the groups who receive donations from the committee, for helping us our with things like rubbish monitoring and disposal will get back to reaping that financial benefit, from this event.”

This week, the committee announced Eukanuba as its new financial partner for the 2022 festival.

“Everyone recognises the Eukanuba label, it is a premium brand in working dog nutrition, manufactured here in Australia and we are really excited to have them on board for this year’s festival,” Mrs Stephens said.

A Eukanuba spokesperson said the company was proud to be the naming rights sponsor and associated with the festival and premium working dog auction.

“Not only are we passionate about supporting local communities across Australia, our mission is to help unleash a dog’s potential through science based nutrition so they can perform at their best, he said.

In addition to a new sponsor, the committee will welcome 2022 Muster Dogs champions, Frank Finger and his partner in crime, Annie, as the festival’s special guests.

Created by the ABC and Ambience Entertainment, the Muster Dogs series matched a number of Kelpie pups with well-known Australian handlers, with the development of each pup as a ‘muster dog’, mapped and tracked over the series.

The winners – Queensland’s Frank and Annie – were the most successful pairing, through the series.

Mrs Stephens said her committee was “really excited to be hosting this pair, who epitomise what the working dog and handler are all about”.

“We know the a working Kelpie can be an absolutely invaluable employee for the right handler and farmer and Frank and Annie absolutely represent everything we know and love about the relationship between a Kelpie and its owner,” she said.

This year’s festival will also see the return of popular events, including the Kelpie high jump and hill climb, as well as art and photography competitions.

“We’re really pleased to say there will be no cordoned-off areas of the main street, no ticket requirements, so limited access – this event the Casterton district is so proud of and does so well, will return, as close as possible, to pre-Covid-normal,” Mrs Stephens said.

“We are also really excited to see the Premier Working Dog Auction return to its traditional home at Island Park.

“While we know the auction works really well online with the AuctionsPlus platform – last year’s absolutely astonishing, record-breaking result is absolute evidence of that – the working dog demonstrations are highly anticipated by on-site potential purchasers and the atmosphere during the auction is just electric.”

She said the auction would also retain its online presence, for those buyers unable to attend.

Entries are now being taken for some of this year’s muster events – see page four of this edition, for details.

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