LEAP: Jumping for joy.
LEAP: Jumping for joy. Jack Lawrie

Sheep hoof it to the finish

SHEEP RACE: Monto residents got more than they expected at the town's first ever sheep races.

Taking a break from the annual pig race fun day event, Monto Race Club organised the running of 16 spring lambs through a 25 metre course.

When the first four sheep shot out the gate, reaching the end in a matter of seconds, the organisers began to realise they might have underestimated the talent.

The races were over in a matter of seconds, as the sheep virtually collided with the finish line.

Monto producer Charlie Lumby, who supplied the sheep for the race alongside butcher Dan Miller, said he was thrilled with the result, but would definitely have to take a few things on for consideration next time.

"This is all new to me, this is just a trial and error and I think we've done everything right, all we can do is improve,” Mr Lumby said.

"I think they could handle a longer track, and you could see how quick they got to the other end.”

One issue was the sheep may have been spooked by the large crowd gathered around the track; the farmers had not run them with large groups during the training stage.

As a result, many of them veered on the far side of the course, leap-frogging over each other as they went.

"When we're training them, we'll probably need to get a few more people along the sideline to get them used to people,” Mr Lumby said.

"I reckon if they were more used to people before the races, they would've run a lot quicker.”

It was no disappointment for the crowd though, who were delighted by the spectacle of the sheep bounding to the finish line.

In addition to the sheep races themselves, light entertainment and novelty events kept things interesting.

The dog jumping event was much admired, beginning with a toy dog event in which dachshund Ebby and spoodle Prince competed to get over a wooden hurdle.

The main event was no less adorable, with Great Dane cross Roxy and Chocolate Labrador Archie testing their mettle on a much higher target.

Warren Drahm of the Monto Colonial Inn donated an extra $200 to bring the total up to $600, in preparation for joining the Race Club next year.

"We're all here, we've got to help the community and it's a good cause,” he said.

Prior to the races, Monto Race Club secretary Kerri Williams said she could see the sheep races becoming a regular event to alternate with the pig races.

Following the positive reception of the crowd, there's a good chance Monto Race Club's Fun Day events could continue in the mould of trying out new animals to run, or improving on existing ones.

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