SKIPTON Auction Mart, the UK’s leading working sheep dog sale venue, is forging ahead with pioneering plans to stage what is thought would be the nation’s, possibly the world’s, first virtual timed sale with real-time viewing.
Live working sheep dogs sales cannot be held while Covid-19 restrictions remain in place and the north Yorkshire mart is well advanced with plans to organise and run the online initiative over a six-day period from Sunday to Friday, July 12-17.
Following the forced cancellation of the Spring sale earlier this month (May), in a letter to all potential entrants Skipton Auction Mart’s general manager Jeremy Eaton wrote: “We deliberated long and hard about providing our regular customers with a substitute to ensure that dogs move into the right hands to keep sheep farmers farming and to provide succession on the trial field for trialists.
“Mindful of this, we propose to create a virtual sale following the form of conventional timed auctions, but introducing a semi-social element via pre-sale conference viewing the evening before each sale.”
Subject to Department of Health Covid-19 advice, the landmark fixture will feature standalone viewing and sale days for entries from three separate countries – Scotland, England and Wales.
These, it is hoped, will also be supplemented by two further standalone all-Ireland and European viewing and sale days, doubly dependant on both entry levels and access to transport facilities with the hoped-for resumption of freight crossings.
Arrangements are already well in hand and moving forward. A final closing date for all entries has been set for Tuesday, June 16, to be followed by pre-sale video catalogue viewing via the working sheep dog section of the mart’s www.ccmauctions.com website from Monday, June 29.
Then, every evening between 5pm and 7.30pm immediately before each online sale day, vendors would be available for live conference viewing with Q&A sessions and live demos of individual entries.
On each sale day there would be a 12-hour window between 11am and 11pm for online bidding, again to be streamed live via the mart’s website, with an in-built click-on bidding facility for potential purchasers.
The schedule would open with the viewing and sale of Scottish entries on July 12-13, followed by England on July 13-14, Wales July 14-15, all-Ireland July 15-16 and European July 16-17.
In the interim, all entrants will be responsible for producing and submitting videos no later than Tuesday, June 23, showing individual dogs being put through their paces.
Each sale will include a section for unbroken entries under 12 months, an unbroken section for dogs 12-15 months and a fully broken section. All entries will be fully scrutinised and limited to a maximum of three entries per vendor, with priority given to fully broken dogs. No pups will be allowed.