Thursday, October 20, 2011

Randy's Report from USDAA Nationals

Nationals is like no other place when it comes to watching some of the world's best handlers. It is amazing to see what some of these people can do with their dogs and how most of these handlers improves over the years through persistence and a love of agility. Most were not gifted from the beginning but they stuck with it and I am speaking of the big winners from this year. So keep at it and the practice will pay off.

Report of our efforts:
The 1st event was Gamblers-so I thought we could jump out to a great start.  Circe ran 1st and, true to form, got the 20 pt. bonus gamble right off.  This was a 30 second event with no opening or closing and you would be awarded 1 pt for each second under 30 seconds with a 10 point maximum.  If you finished after 30 seconds you were penalized 3 points for each second over.  Well anyway, Circe, after getting some more points, went on to the regular gamble and got it, only her ever nimble Dad stepped over the line-so no 15 points.  I tried to make it up with other obstacle and got an additional 12 points.  However, I finished 5 seconds over thus negating my 12 points.  Stupid both times.  I did not send Justice over the 20 point bonus as it involved weave polls and I was trying to save him.  He did the gamble but clipped the last bar.

In Steeplechase, I pulled Justice as it required 2 sets of weaves.   Circe jumped out on the 11th poll as I pulled away early.  She then took out a jump completely, I mean both wings.  We came back around to take this jump again and I just stopped as their was nothing there.  This is usually one of her strong events as last year she made it to the semi-finals, but not this time.   She was terribly excited and needed to be run before we entered the ring.

In Snooker, Justice was at #5 in the closing and stopped to see what the strange thing was under the jump (tape marking where the bar is suppose to be) and got called for a refusal.   Circe was going for # 6 in the closing and his nimble minded Dad sent her to the wrong jump.

In Jumpers, literally 50% of the field was eliminated for off courses (taking the wrong obstacle).  As soon as a run would start-you would hear a whistle-much worse than a snooker event.  For example, Linda Mecklenberg made it to the 3rd jump.  We, Justice and Circe , were fortunate enough to do this one successfully.  The only problem with Circe was that I did a blind cross on the next to the last jump and was so proud of myself that I slowed down causing Circe to clip the last bar of a double.  Are you seeing a pattern here?

When all was said and done both Justice and Circe did ok as they finished up above  the middle of the pack for each of their divisions.  I like to think of it as, we did better than most but not as good as we could have done-but happy.  All in all Justice and Circe did well-it was me who messed them up-as usual.  Maybe if I started agility 10 or 20 years ago I would have made fewer mistakes.  Hopefully, I learned something if nothing but a large dose of humility.  Keep training and if you are inclined, I would strongly suggest that you attend one of these events and I guarantee you, you will go away impressed (and depressed).  Seriously, it is very helpful and rewarding to see some of the world's best in action.

I just saw the Stuart Mah was selected to the International team. Remember he will be here next month and we still have a few slots left.

-Randy Hunter 

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