The credentials of the working farm dog trials at the Australian Sheep & Wool Show are gaining increasing credence if entry numbers are any indication.
Organisers this year were thrilled with the entry list and particularly that a number were first-time entrants in Bendigo.
It was one of the new entrants that took the main trophy, the O'Sullivans Central Victorian Yard Dog championships, when NSW-based Fred Rains with Minky took the trophy across the border.
It was a close final with just a point separating Minky from Joe Spicer, Glenthompson, and his dog Trix.
Mr Rains said it was a privilege to win given the high standard of the competition.
"I've had a lot of tight tussles with Joe because you can never discount him, he's hard to beat," he said.
He said he was attracted to the event because of its reputation as being well run with good quality fields.
Final judge Norm Severs said this year's event was right up there as the best he had judged for a year or so.
"It was a very good competition at the end between Fred and Joe and a fairly high standard," he said.
Victorian Yard Utility Farm Dog Association president Darryn Hannah said there were 107 entries in the novice and 64 open dogs.
Mr Hannah said the trial attracted interest because it was a difficult one to win.
"It's a challenge, the facilities and the course are great," he said.
Organisers and competitors praised the supply and quality of the 400 Merino wethers provided by Gavin O'Sullivan.
In the Coprice open event, it was another of Mr Rains' dogs, Josh, that edged out its stablemate Minky with Trix third.
The Shearwell Australia/Focus Genetics Improver was won by Jay Weston, with Herb from another of Mr Rains' dog, Saphire.
Aoidh Doyle with Cash won the Ruralco Property novice event from Peter Darmody's dog Cool.
In the Stock & Land maiden, Geoff McDougall won with Goldie by a point over Mark Wheeler with Becky.