James and Ruby from Monto will be competing in this year's Cobber Challenge.
James and Ruby from Monto will be competing in this year's Cobber Challenge. Contributed

Will Ruby be crowned Australia's toughest working dog?

A CALL out to dog owners across Australia for the search for the country's hardest working dog has led Monto's very own James Bargenquast and his dog Ruby to team up for the challenge.

The 2017 Cobber Challenge will run for three weeks starting on August 28 and will see dogs and their owners from six states go head to head to prove they are the ultimate working pair.

Central Queenslander James Bargenquast is a beef farmer and manages a Monto property with the help of his dog, Ruby.

When the long-time cattle farmer first started searching for help on the farm, he intended to buy two dogs to fill out his team. Little did he know Ruby would be more than capable of doing the work of two dogs.

Mr Bargenquast started producing beef straight out of high school. Since then, working with dogs and horses have been his highlights and after many years of cattle farming, he still loves what he does.

As the owner of a 10-dog farm team, the beef farmer has an extensive knowledge on the value a team of working dogs lends to farmers. Out of his large canine crew, however, Ruby has proved herself a true, one-of-a-kind gem and is now Mr Bargenquast's main dog.

 

James and Ruby from Monto will be competing in this year's Cobber Challenge.
James and Ruby from Monto will be competing in this year's Cobber Challenge. Contributed

"She has an insatiable will to work and endless energy for the job, be it working cattle or horses," Mr Bargenquast said.

"In her down time, Ruby doesn't switch off. When she's not working she loves running, and sprinting with the farm bikes."

While Mr Bargenquast didn't sign up for the competition himself, he said he was keen to see how hard Ruby and the other dogs work each day.

"My wife put me up to the competition," he laughed.

When asked whether he thought Ruby could win, Mr Bargenquast said he definitely hoped so.

"She loves working."

Twelve four-legged competitors were selected earlier this year to fight it out at the 2017 Cobber Challenge, with the hardest working dog to be crowed this year's Cobber Champion.

As each animal with be given a GPS collar over the three-week competition period, the judges will be able to witness the working dogs compete in their natural environments.

"Distance travelled, duration ran and average speed ... will be tracked ... and points (will be) given accordingly, a media release read.

Each dog's owner will send the data collected by the collar's GPS to challenge officials so people can follow the competition day by day.

Cobber Brand Manager Marika O'Leary said the interest in entering this year's challenge was high, and the process to select the 12 dogs was tough.

"There are four more dogs in this year's challenge and we're absolutely thrilled to have competitors from across the country. The Challenge is going to be a wonderful showcase of Australian rural life and highlight the vital role working dogs play on every farm," she said.

To get more information, check out the website at www.cobberchallenge.com.au.

The 11 competitors Ruby and James will be up against are as follows:

  • NSW: Bec Sneath from Kyogle with Riley
  • NSW: Patsy Trevor from Waverly with Boss
  • QLD: Liz Miller from Mingela with Bear
  • TAS: Alexander Gregory from Ross with Angel
  • TAS: Bradley McDonald from Fingal with Flow
  • SA: Sam McCarthy from Spalding with Max
  • SA: Suzi Northcott from German Creek with Sting
  • VIC: Jandre Slabbert from Grassdale with Rex
  • VIC: Sarah Richards from Barrabool with Futura Mate
  • WA: Paul Duffield from Darkan with Blue
  • WA: Hayden Harries from Boyup Brook with Astor

 



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