Only one event can claim to have both Napoleon Bonaparte and Miss Muffet among its winners.
Only one can legitimately claim to be the longest-running sheepdog trials in Victoria.
In each case, that event is the Moyston Sheepdog Trials, with Napoleon Bonaparte and Miss Muffet
the names of the winning dogs in 1932 and 1941 respectively.
The trials have a rich history, having run every year since their inception in 1927.
This even included 2020, with the trials running mere days before lockdown restrictions were imposed.
Almost 100 people entered last year's trials, but back in 1927, there were just two entrants.
Moyston Sheepdog Club president Max McLean said it was then the trials were first conceived.
"It started from a bet at the local hotel between a couple of farmers over who had the better dog," he said.
Those farmers were Billy Mason and Jim Murphy.
They agreed to meet on a flat of land where their dogs could work some sheep.
A small crowd would come to watch the spectacle, which would eventually see Mr Murphy's dog Rowdy outperform Mr Mason's dog Rowdy.
The debate was settled, but people's interests were piqued.
In 1928 the Moyston Sheepdog Trials subsequently began in earnest, with William Burke becoming the trial winners.
In 1930 he would win again, with Mr Murphy coming second. It was the closest he would come to reliving the glory of his initial bet over Mr Mason.
William Burke's daughter Shirley Davis was born just days before Burke won the 1928 trials.
Attending the trials would become a family tradition for the Burke's.
Ms Davis passed away aged 90 in 2018, but before her death shared some of her memories of the trials when she was a child with the Moyston Sheepdog Club.
"There would be crowds of people from Ararat and surrounding areas. It was a real carnival atmosphere," she wrote.
"There would be the 'Guess the Weight of the Sheep'. Then there would be 'Hammering a two-inch nail into a Wooden Block'. The winner was the person who was the fastest and the straightest.
"We girls, with our pocket money, would rush to the sweet shop (which was the time keeper's stand during the football season). My choice of sweet at that early hour was two liquorice block squares for one penny.
"It was a very smart/fashionable event (for the women at least). Everyone was in their Sunday best with hats and gloves, etc.
"There was always a dignitary or local Member of Parliament to present the prizes to the winners."
Moyston Sheepdog Club committee member Rosie Nater also has familial ties to the trial, with her father having competed in its early years.
In the mid-1970s, Ms Nater began competing herself and has not missed a year since.
Ms Nater said the trials had changed significantly from when she began competing.
"I was the only female competitor then, and now, probably at least a quarter of the competitors are women," she said.
"It was certainly different then; it was a lot more of a trial. There wasn't as nice a sense around the ground. It was a much bigger, open paddock, and the fence wasn't very good on one side, so quite often the sheep escaped.
"My job used to be to round up the sheep until someone came to collect them.
"Facilities like the pavilion were very old, compared to now where we have beautiful kitchens and everything there."
Ms Nater said despite its longevity, there have been times when the event's future has been in doubt.
"At one stage, in the 80s, the entries got a lot lower and we didn't know if it would continue. But we rode it out and it's become a lot more popular," she said.
But she said the community had been a generous support throughout.
"It's always been a very small committee, but we've always had a lot of support from the community to help out in the yards or the kitchens," she said.
"We've been very lucky to have good sponsors as well. The Burke family has been a great support."
The 93rd annual Moyston Sheepdog Trials will be held from Thursday, March 11, to Saturday, March 13.
Spectators only need to bring a gold coin donation to enter.
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