Casterton Kelpie Muster approaches

Casterton is preparing for the annual Australian Kelpie Muster. Picture: AIDAN CURTIS.

Melanie Riley

CASTERTON will welcome a crowd of people and working dogs from across the country this weekend for the 28th annual Australian Kelpie Muster.

Casterton Kelpie Association president Karen Stephens said after putting a hold on the event for 2020 and 2021, they are back into the swing of things and she was looking forward to another successful year.

“We’re really excited to be able to hold it again – it’s always great,” Mrs Stephens said.

“It’s a free, family fun festival on Saturday and the association is so grateful to our sponsors that we’re able to keep it free for families to come and enjoy the day.

“It’ll be great fun and excitement – there’s plenty of food stalls, there’s all the local traders.

“Everybody is geared up, all of our community groups are volunteering. It’ll be a fabulous day.”

The street parade will begin at 10am, which Mrs Stephens said is always a lot of fun.

“It’s full of colour and vibrance, kids, horses, motorbikes and drag cars – you name it, it’s in there,” she said.

Following the parade is the famous triathlon – the Kelpie dash, high jump and hill climb – which begins from 11am.

Tegan Eagle, who has been a competitor for many years, is this year in the running for an induction into the hall of fame.

“This would be her second kelpie that goes into the hall of fame and she actually holds the world record high jump at 2.951 metres with her previous hall-of-famer Bailey,” Mrs Stephens said.

“She’s trained Cooper over the last few years, so she’s potentially going to be another hall-of-famer this year, unless someone knocks her off.”

On Sunday, the 28th Premier Working Dog Auction kicks off, which Mrs Stephens said has been a huge success in previous years.

“This year we will turn over a total combined value of $4 million of dogs sold since the first auction,” she said.

“What’s incredible is that we hit that record back at the end of 2020, so in the last three years we’ve turned over a million dollars worth of dogs for our vendors.

“I think that just shows the importance of working dogs to our farming community.”

The day will start with a live demonstration of the working dogs available for auction, which kicks off at 9.30am at Island Park, and will run through to 2.30pm.

Following the demonstrations, the auction will begin at 3pm and will also be live streamed on AuctionsPlus.

“We have bidders from around the world – it’s not just a local event,” Mrs Stephens said.

“We have breeders that will come from here in Victoria, South Australia, New South Wales, Tasmania and Queensland – they come from all over.”

Mrs Stephens said the auction will include a good variety of dogs, and in a good price range.

“The auction has a dog for everybody – we sell young pups, started dogs, right through to fully trained dogs,” she said.

“There really is something for everyone.”

The Australian Kelpie Muster will kick off on Saturday, June 8.