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MILBURN WORKING KELPIE STUD

Michael Johnston


NOONBARRA BUTCH

NOONBARRA GABE X ROCKYBAR VALERIE

Born: 15th April 1989

NOONBARRA BUTCH -NSW & National Champion Photo: S. BilsonA lot of time and hard work was put into training Noonbarra Butch and it wasn't long before Butch and Michael turned into a top working team. Michael started him in trials at a very young age. He placed 3rd in his very first trial at Burraga in 1990. A few months later he won first place in the Encourage section of the Southern NSW Yard Championships at Wagga. He then won the Novice Trial at Taralga in 1990. During the early and mid 1990's he was regarded as the best yard dog in Australia. This is even more amazing as he was bred mainly as a paddock dog and had a strong leaning to this work.

His first big win was the 1991 NSW Yard Dog Championships. The trial featured over $10,000 in prizes, making it at the time the richest Yard Trial in Australia. Some of the best dogs in the country attended. Handlers like Jim Luce, Chris Stapelton, Kevin Howell, Robert Cox, Steve Weyman, Peter Moore, etc. Michael and Noonbarra Butch were not really considered. Most were expected the renowned Capree Watch to win. Chobi Mindy, Phils Creek Ben (Sam) and Capree Shep were also all strong contenders and all ended up getting placed. However Michael with Noonbarra Butch romped home 5 points ahead of Chris Stapleton with Capree Watch.

He had to trial three separate times to win the event as there was first round, second round and then the finals. He was up against over 75 other dogs. He also won the separate Improver Trial (for dogs that have not won an Open event). He won a number of prizes including cash, a large stock-trailer, dog food and products etc. He was even photographed with the Bathurst showgirl and interviewed by newspapers.

NOONBARRA BUTCH WINS NSW STATE CHAMPION/ Photo: Stephen BilsonEven as an older dog in 1998 he showed he could still win big trials. Michael had really retired him but when another dog got hurt just before the Southern NSW Yard Championships, he decided to use Noonbarra Butch as a replacement. To everyone's surprise, including Michaels, Butch won the event and qualifed for the 1999 NSW Yard Championship.

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Butch was the last pup in the litter to be sold. We originally called him 'Roger', and ended up taking him with us to the 1989 National Kelpie Trial in Bairnsdale, Victoria. We were asked to put him up for sale in the dog auction but we felt as his leaning was more to paddock work he may not be good enough at yard work. This was before we knew how good Noonbarra Gabe was at yard work. We later bought back Noonbarra Boss II. Boss was a full litter brother to Butch. He was a tall, good looking red & tan and he was a lovely smooth worker . We used him as a sire over a few bitches and got some excellent pups. Two were retained in the Stud. - Breeders M.& S. Bilson

 

NOONBARRA BUTCH - TRIAL RESULTS - (Not Yet Completed) 

1990

3rd

Noonbarra Butch

Michael Johnston

Novice

Burraga Yard Trial

1990

1st

Noonbarra Butch

Michael Johnston

Encourage

Wagga Yard Championship

81

1991

1st

Noonbarra Butch

Michael Johnston

Novice

Taralga Yard Trial

1991

1st

Noonbarra Butch

Michael Johnston

Improver

NSW State Yard Championship

1991

1st

Noonbarra Butch

Michael Johnston

Open

NSW State Yard Championship

85/82

1991

1st

Noonbarra Butch

Michael Johnston

Open

Central Tablelands Yard Champion

1992

1st

Noonbarra Butch

Michael Johnston

Open

Australian National Yard Champion

1993

2nd

Noonbarra Butch

Michael Johnston

Open

Monaro Yard Championship

1993

2nd

Noonbarra Butch

Michael Johnston

Open

Dubbo Yard Trial

85/93

1994

1st

Noonbarra Butch

Michael Johnston

Open

Woodstock Yard Trial

98/96

1994

4th

Noonbarra Butch

Michael Johnston

Open

NSW Yard Championship Bathurst

72/73

1994

4th

Noonbarra Butch

Michael Johnston

Open

Canowindra Yard Trial

86/82

1994

1st

Noonbarra Butch

Michael Johnston

Open

West Wyalong Yard Trial

96/89

1994

4th

Noonbarra Butch

Michael Johnston

Open

Canowindra Yard Trial

86/82

1996

6th

Noonbarra Butch

Michael Johnston

Open

Southern NSW Champion Wagga

177. 5

1996

3rd

Noonbarra Butch

Michael Johnston

Open

NSW State Yard Championship

90. 5/85

1996

2nd

Noonbarra Butch

Michael Johnston

Open

Australian National Yard Champion

92. 5/97

1996

2nd

Noonbarra Butch

Michael Johnston

Open

Lucindale Yard Trial South Aust.

96/92

1996

2nd

Noonbarra Butch

Michael Johnston

Open

Central Tablelands Championship

82. 5/88. 5

1997

17th

Noonbarra Butch

Michael Johnston

Open

Henty Yard Championship

?

1998

1st

Noonbarra Butch

Michael Johnston

Open

Southern NSW Yard Champion

?

1999

3rd

Noonbarra Butch

Michael Johnston

Open

NSW State Yard Championships

Article in Western Advocate - Bathurst April 15th 1991

Butch is State's Top Yard Dog Taralga grazier, Michael Johnstone's yard dog 'Butch' is the best in the state! Mr. Johnston and Butch on Saturday took out the pretigious NSW Yard Dog Championship at the Bathurst Show. Mr. Johnston and Butch won the Championship with scores of 85 and 82, which have been described by officials as "Excellent scores for a course of this type". Mr Johnston also took out the Improver trophy with the same dog. One of the judges at the sheepdog trials said he "regarded Mr Johnston as an excellent stockman".

 Old Noonbarra Butch - photo: s. Bilson

Old Noonbarra Butch in 1999
Article in Southern Magazine - May 1991

Up against the best sheepdog handlers in the country, most scrutineers did not rate Taralga's Michael Johnston much of a chance in the NSW Championships. Despite only a year's competition, he proved them wrong.

Despite being the underdog, Taralga's Michael Johnston and his red and tan Kelpie, Noonbarra Butch dominated the NSW Yard Dog Championships at Bathurst, taking out both the Improvers and Open titles. The pair were only considered an outside chance for the title as Michael had only been involved in sheep dog trials for 12 months and the dog was under two years old.

Noonbarra Butch was bred by Stephen and Mary Bilson of Noonbarra stud at Manildra and sold to Michael as a pup, mainly for paddock work on his property. But in his first yard trial at Burraga last year, Butch took out third place in the novice, following that up with a win in the encourage at Wagga and a win in the novice event at Taralga earlier this year.

The championships was the biggest yet, with 150 entries, competing for the richest prize ever offered in a yard dog trial, including a total of $10,000 in money and prizes. Major sponsors were Uncle Ben's, the makers of Meaty-Bites dog food.

In second place at Bathurst were the favourites for the event, Chris Stapleton and Capree Watch of Burraga. Chris, who was two points behind the winner, took out first, second and fourth places at last year's NSW Championships while Capree Watch has been a major placegetter in recent years. Steve Weyman, who took third place with Capree Shep, was also tipped by many to take the title having previously won the National Kelpie trial. Capree Shep is a full brother to Capree Watch and was bred by Chris Stapleton.

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