Mortlake Dispatch
Damien Clifford and Larry set for Cobber Challenge

WOORNDOO farmer Damien Clifford and his trusty kelpie Larry are hoping past experience pays dividends when they take part in the 2020 Cobber Challenge: All Stars vs Contenders.

The Cobber Challenge, now in its fifth year, is set to put 12 dogs and their owners from across Australia to the test in a bid to crown the country’s hardest working dog.

However, this year’s challenge will be a break from the norm, with past competitors returning as All Stars to take on a new batch of contenders.

Mr Clifford and Larry will take part in the challenge for the second time, this time as All Stars, with the pair already joining forces to win the 2016 edition of the challenge.

“I’m excited to take part in the challenge again and eager to see what Larry can do,” he said.

“I suppose it puts some level of expectation on you being an All-Star but we’re excited to see if we can do it again.”

As part of the challenge, the dogs are fitted with a GPS tracking collar, with the tracker recording how far, how fast and for how long each dog works across the three week period.

The data is then collated each day and uploaded to the Cobber Challenge website allowing fans to follow the performance of their favourite teams and dogs.

Mr Clifford said the average work day was busy for Larry and himself, with the pair often clocking up the kilometres as they completed their daily tasks.

“I manage a place that we run about 9000 ewes and a couple of hundred cattle on and I’ve got three farms of my own and from day-to-day that’s spread from Glenthompson to The Sisters and across to Dundonnell,” he said.

“From memory the last time I competed I think he averaged around 40 kilometres a day on his work days, so I would assume there would be similar sort of numbers this time.”

Larry will be the oldest dog in the challenge this year at seven years of age, but Mr Clifford does not expect that to work against the pair’s chances.