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Barmera Sheep Dog Trials: Trans-Tasman Sheep Running Extravaganza Makes a Comeback 

trans-tasman sheep running extravaganza makes a comeback 

Barmera Sheep Dog Trials: Trans-Tasman Sheep Running Extravaganza Makes a Comeback 


Bob Clark, the mastermind behind the infamous Barmera sheep dog trials, knows the event like the back of his hand.

With over 40 years of experience, his trials have put Barmera on the map, making it an anticipated event across Australia and New Zealand.

The Legacy of Bob Clark and The Barmera Sheep Dog Trials 

An ex-agriculture teacher, Bob Clark first introduced the sheepdog trials in Adelaide’s north, eventually bringing it to his Riverland home in 1993.

What began as a modest event, has today evolved into a spectacle, drawing in spectators and participants from across trans-Tasman nations.

A Record-Breaking Gathering at the Trials 

This year, the event extended over five days due to a record number of entries. Competitors echo the sentiment of the trial being their favorite in all of Australia.

trans-tasman sheep running extravaganza makes a comeback 

Bob Clark’s son, Peter, himself has attended about 36 of his father’s sheepdog trials in his 41 years. “I do a bit of commentary for it, but my highlight is what it gives to Dad,” Peter stated.

The Showstopper: Running of the Sheep 

One of the highlights of the trials is the novelty event – the running of the sheep down the usually quiet main street of Barmera.

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Initially introduced by Bob Clark as an interest-building element, it involves herding about 250 farm animals by trained dogs through the town’s main street. Following a four-year hiatus due to COVID-19 restrictions, this crowd-puller made a grand return in 2023.

trans-tasman sheep running extravaganza makes a comeback 

The Role of Local Students in The Trials 

Bob Clark believes that local students play a crucial role in the event’s success and future. They actively help in tasks such as cleaning up after sheep and managing the scoreboard.

Clark fondly recalled, “At times we had 25 students involved in various things around the oval like running a continuous scoreboard.” He eagerly anticipates the return of such innovations in future trials.

Looking Towards the Future of Barmera Sheep Dog Trials 

Despite the enthusiasm surrounding the trials, Clark admits that running them has become a tad more tedious as he grows older.

trans-tasman sheep running extravaganza makes a comeback 

He hopes to find a successor who can take the reins and continue the legacy of the Barmera sheepdog trials. With eyes set on a 41st sheepdog trial, Clark remains optimistic about the future of this trans-Tasman spectacle.

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This story was originally published on ABC News

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