Race not all it's quacked up to be

Source: The Standard

It's a colourful, dramatic animal event — but it’s not a rodeo or bullfighting. 

It’s watching ducks in coloured jackets and hats race around a track in the west Victorian town of Koroit.

Billed as the Koroit Cup, the duck race — a side event of the Koroit Sheep Dog Trials — might not stop the nation but will certainly generate many laughs and smiles. 

Over this week dozens of border collies and the odd kelpie have taken to Victoria Park for the trials, now in their third year in the township. 

Organiser and founder Barry Paton, who runs the event in partnership with the Koroit Cricket Club, said competitors had come as far as outback New South Wales to test their working dogs against some of the best. 

“The quality of work is really high,” Mr Paton said. 

“We’ve had 105 dogs in the novice section and 185 in the open and improver section.” 

The dogs are normally given about 15 minutes to coax the sheep through a short obstacle course and into a pen. 

He described the growing event as being on par with others held across the district. 

“It’s up there with the rest of them. We’re getting a few people coming along and watching.” 

The finals, booked for tomorrow night or potentially Friday morning, have been dedicated to the memory of the late Ross Dodge, who was a familiar face at sheepdog trials around the south-west. 

Meanwhile, the whistle will blow at 6pm Wednesday for the duck race, always popular with the youngsters. 

Mr Paton said the feathered champions will be auctioned off later in the evening. 

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