WHAT A WHISTLE: Brushgrove lad beats nation's best
WITH a sound temperament and dedicated approach to the training paddock, Ethan Davis is achieving well ahead of his years in the world of cattle dog trials.
In late 2018 he upstaged the nation's best to win the Australian Novice title at the Australian Cattle Dog Trial Championships held in Grafton.
Not bad for a boy from Brushgrove about to enter Year 11 at Maclean High School.
"A lot of training goes into getting ready for shows," Ethan said.
"It's also a lot of fun to do, and you can see how much your hard work pays off when you do win."
Ethan scored 95 out of a possible 100 in the first round followed up by 93 in the final to finish first out of 220 competitors across all ages. He also won the NSW Junior title at Geurie in October.
These achievements resulted in Ethan being named Jetts Junior Sportsperson of the Month for December, ahead of fellow nominees Jye Lawrie (motocross), Jake Martin (rugby league), Brianna McFarlane (AFL), Molly Dobbin (rowing) and Emma Kerr (athletics).
It is the second time Ethan has been shortlisted for Junior Male Sportsperson of the Year after he won the NSW Championship and claimed second at the Australian Championship as a 14-year-old in 2016.
Dog trialling is very much a family affair, with Ethan, his father Mitchum and late grandfather Ray 'Happy' Davis all heavily involved in the sport.
'Happy' died in a tragic horse-riding accident in 2015. He was on the Maclean Show Society committee and along with son Mitchum introduced the sport of dog trials to Ethan.
Mitchum said his father would be proud of his own son Ethan's latest achievements.
"Me and my dad went into dog training together about 10 years ago," Mitchum said.
"He really loved it. After Ethan's win we all thought Happy would be pretty proud."
Mitchum has tasted his own success on the dog trial circuit, most notably winning the Australian Maiden in 2015 at Rockhampton with his dog Rango.
At that event he also finished second in the Novice, with his now son going one better in the same category.
The family breeds and trains their own dogs, and a typical day involves Ethan getting off the school bus and training up to five dogs using sheep and cattle on the family property.
"He's very cool-headed and patient," Mitchum said.
"He just seems to bond with his dogs real good. He's just got the right attitude to go with the sport."
Ethan formed a winning partnership with four-year-old bitch Jess for his latest achievements. Jess is by 2014 NSW Novice champion Woodford Jack.
"I trained her myself," he said. "She's very smart and listens like you wouldn't believe.
"With dog trialling you never know, you need the right cattle to begin with. If we got good cattle I knew we'd go pretty good."
Dog trials involve competitors putting three head of cattle through an obstacle course as smooth as possible within a five-minute timeframe.