First ever national Cattle Dog Muster to take place in Muswellbrook in 2020

DOGGO DEVELOPMENT: Muswellbrook will host an Australian cattle dog event of international interest next year.
DOGGO DEVELOPMENT: Muswellbrook will host an Australian cattle dog event of international interest next year.

THE iconic Blue Heeler was originally bred in the Upper Hunter, so it's fitting the inaugural national competition will be held in the region.

The Muswellbrook Cattle Dog Muster will take place in September next year with thousands expected to attend, including trainers and industry professionals from the likes of Canada, Italy and the USA.

An event of such scale has never taken place in Australia before, however the Muswellbrook Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MCCI) has locked in the tournament with the Australian Cattle Dog Society NSW (ACDS).

Currently scheduled from the 11th to the 13th, it will also include a family day where children's entertainment, market and food stalls and live music will be a strong feature.

Novelty events such as a 'tiny tots' competition and an open category for locals to show off their loyal canine as well as having them further trained will also take place.

Despite being almost a year away and having only been announced at the MCCI breakfast on Tuesday, significant planning has already been ongoing.

Securing appropriate funding is the next step and MCCI member services manager Wayne Toms said there's been encouraging signs early on.

"I believe people are quite enthusiastic, we've had a lot of people coming up to us asking how they could support us financially," he said.

One of those people was Upper Hunter MP Michael Johnsen, who proved himself to be a fan by securing $10,000 for the event within 20 minutes of hearing about it.

While Mr Toms is weary about not overextending himself or the chamber, he has had a lot of time to map out the spectacle given he originally spoke with ACDS officials around six months ago.

"From those discussions came the idea that maybe we could move this into not just an event for them but also a public event," he said.

"From that the ideas started to flow and from that time it's just grown and grown, and I still believe there's some aspects of that day that we don't even know we're going to run yet."

He acknowledges that topics such as accommodation will prove to be a challenge, but believes they can overcome those issues to draw in people from far and wide.

Given the current struggles of the Upper Hunter Show, Muswellbrook was set to be at risk of lagging behind other towns in the region in terms of a flagship event.

But the Cattle Dog Muster could be the answer, with Mr Toms already hopeful of a crowd that could match the Scone Horse Festival, Singleton Show or Aberdeen Highland Games.


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