Europe’s biggest trailer maker gave a helping hand to TV favourite One Man and His Dog.
The sheepdog trial was held in a stunning location overlooking Chirk Castle for one round of the competition which will be screened on Sunday evening, September 27.
The contest, which is now part of the hit BBC One show, Countryfile, featured a Q8 trailer from Ifor Williams Trailers instead of the usual pen as the end game for the competitors.
Shepherds from Ireland, England, Scotland and Wales took part under the watchful eye of presenters Matt Baker and Ellie Harrison and a judging panel that included top sheepdog handler Aled Owen, from Penyfed, Ty Nant, near Corwen. Each team was made up of a senior and junior competitor.
Aled, who has a flock of 750 sheep on his 280-acre farm where he also breeds and trains sheepdogs, recently won the Welsh national trials for the fourth time and will captain the Welsh team when they compete in Dumfries in Scotland.
He said: “My farm is only six miles away from the Ifor Williams Trailers factory in Cynwyd and I’ve always used their trailers.
“I’m a farmer first and foremost and they have never let me down. The test at Chirk was difficult but I’m delighted they used an Ifor Williams Trailer for it.”
Among the Welsh competitors was Medwyn Evans, of Llanfachreth, near Dolgellau, who is one of two shepherds working on the Nanau Estate which has more than 2,200 ewes and lambs.
After competing with his four-year-old bitch, Meg, he said: “It was a tough competition and the sheep were very testing. They were quite cheeky – they are sheep that don’t regularly see dogs.
“I enjoyed it all the same and I was pleased to have the chance to compete and work here.
“It’s amazing as we use an Ifor Williams double axle trailer on the estate and I wish I had a pound for every ewe and lamb I’ve loaded onto that trailer – I’d be a very, very wealthy man!”
Rising star Rhion Owen, 13, of Penysarn, Anglesey, is a pupil of Ysgol Syr Thomas Jones in Amlwch.
Rhion competed for Wales in the junior competition and says he really enjoyed taking part in One Man and His Dog.
He said: “It was really hard. My dog, Ross, who is seven, gripped one of the ewes which was a bit of a nightmare and meant I lost a lot of points. I was very nervous in front of the cameras.
“I live on my grandfather’s farm and look after 250 sheep when I’m not in school. I took up working with sheepdogs a few years ago and really enjoy it. It’s what I want to do. I work with my trainer Gwyn Owen.”
Mr Owen, a former head teacher who grew up and still lives on a farm, says Rhion is a natural sheepdog handler and will undoubtedly win many future competitions.
He said: “Rhion won his first Welsh Open aged 13 and he’s the first in Wales to have done that. I’m a retired teacher and Rhion came to me for a few extra lessons before he went to secondary school.
“The tests at Chirk weren’t easy, not that you’d expect them to be, and the trailer test was particularly tough. I’m a big fan of Ifor Williams Trailers who are the market leaders in my opinion.
“I’ve a couple of their trailers which I use all the time. I think the fact the trailer for One Man and His Dog was brand new and had no smell of sheep and livestock made the test that bit more difficult to be honest.”
Rhion’s granddad, Huw Rowlands, of Penysarn, said: “I’m very proud of him. He did so well. Things didn’t go as he would have hoped here at Chirk but he still the champion in my eyes.”
Andrew Reece-Jones, the Design Engineering Manager, at Ifor Williams Trailers, was pleased they had been able help out.
He said: “One Man and His Dog is an iconic competition that is enjoyed well beyond rural communities.
“The setting for this particular round of the competition was spectacular and we were glad to play our part.”