Sunday, February 10, 2013

LCDA's History Part 4

In the early 2000’s we are plugging along with our Saturday classes and our Armory classes. We have settled into having two trials a year at Palmetto Island County Park. We have developed a great relationship with the county parks system and with the armory. Both Karen Denton and Kim Peyser worked as our liaisons with Palmetto Islands County Park. At one point in time, our club was the number one lessee of Palmetto Island Park shelters. We rented the Big Oak and Sweet Gum shelters for our trials. Anytime we had a party, we rented Big Oak. We had two big parties a year - Christmas and Spring. We also rented for seminars. We were also the number one rental for the Mt Pleasant Armory. They loved renting to us, because we knew that place as if it were our own house. 

Wanda became the liaison with the Mt Pleasant Armory. She worked next door and it was very easy for her to coordinate with them. 911 came and our training world was also turned upside down. Our very hard working club members were busy searching for an alternative site for us to hold classes. You must remember that this was a time when lots of paperwork was still done via hand. All of the class registrations etc, had to be mailed in for processing. We had telephone trees etc. to contact people. We were so lucky to find the school, but the room was too small for agility. In the meantime, Wanda is watching the construction at the armory. Fencing is going up as well as lighting. She would occasionally talk to the guys when she saw them in the parking lot. We were out of the armory for about 6 months. When they allowed us to come back, they took Wanda on a tour. Our equipment would now be stored in an outside shed. This was baby equipment, but it had to be put together. Our A frame was made of two interior doors and was hinged together at the top. The baby dog walk was about 3 feet high and was also hinged and supported by milk crates. We had about 10 jumps, all nonwinged. Each jump had to be broken down and stored in 3 pieces. The teeter was stored in two pieces. We had two small tunnels and we used soft sided lunch bags filled with sand as our sand bags. We had a table that did not adjust, so it was always at about 12 inches. We also had a baby chute.

They had really secure fencing and lots of light. They are thinking security and Wanda is thinking agility. This also allowed us to double up on our training. We could teach obedience indoors and agility outside at the same time. When it rained, we would share the main inside half was agility and half was obedience. Doubling up on classes helped grow our bank account. The first time we taught intro to agility outside, we had some club members that got very angry because they could not believe that we would hold classes outside. They wanted to be inside. In the summertime, the armory people would go away to a two week camp. That became our agility training camp. We could leave equipment setup for the entire two weeks. We were dumb and happy.

Below is a picture of Wanda’s Surfer Boy. Check out the metal tunnel holders. They were a Mike Adam’s invention. They are the same color blue as the tunnel.

We are still teaching away at the armory. The entire outside setup depended upon the dumpster and its contents plus the direction of the wind. Lord help us if they parked a tank or something in our little patch of grass. Back at the park, people were constantly complaining about us. They did not like us taking up space and they wanted to be able to throw a tennis ball in the middle of our setup. We had a couple of regular complainers, and when they drove up, we would pretty much cease class, and just take a break until they left. We are continuing our Saturday morning class tradition when suddenly Palmetto Island County Park informs us that they are turning our practice area into a dog park. They showed us the plans and we could not believe it. They gave us about a 6 month notice as to when we would have to stop with our regular Saturday setup. In addition to losing the practice space, we were also losing our trailer storage. We put together a committee to look for alternative sites. We also surveyed the club to see how far people were willing to drive. We looked into the possibility of purchasing some property. We had several club members that had offered to loan the club money. Bill Farmer, our founding member, offered to loan our little club $20,000. Charlie Simons heard Mike Adams talking about our problem and told Mike to look at the property adjacent to the driveway at the machine shop. Mike looked at it and called the rest of his committee. We went out to look at it and it was rough. It had not been mowed in years. There were little “volunteer” trees everywhere. There was also the question of being able to afford it. It was a good thing that we had saved all that money.

Below is a photo of Mary Evan’s first agility dog. Her name was Abby and she is performing a slatted teeter.

I believe we made the move to our West Ashley location in 2006. For about a year, we held classes at the armory and used the training field on Saturday mornings and for Sunday run thrus. That is why so many of the older club members will refer to the training field as LCDA West. We were kind of like a chain. We had a location East Cooper and West Ashley. We had the field for several months before we actually used it. Remember it was in rough shape. We did have perimeter fencing thanks to the highway department. The fence that runs along the driveway had to be reinforced. For the longest time, there was just a bunch of equipment setup. There was no crating, or tents etc. At some point, we took our scorekeeping tent and set it up so we would have some shade. Then people started to bring chairs and crates. Little by little, we moved in. Finally Mike agreed that the surface was good enough that we could put up that temporary orange fencing. Suddenly it looked like an agility field. We kept the drive through gate closed all the time. When a car pulled up, the driver would yell that the gate was opening and everyone would hold onto their dogs when the car pulled in. How in the world we have made it all these years without having a dog run over, or driving away with one tied to the car, is a miracle. It was Kim Peyser’s idea to run the chain link fencing and tie into the two other existing fence lines. We had no money, but we managed to find some cheap labor to put it up and thank goodness it is still standing. Kathy Price and Wanda went to Home depot and bought all of the fence materials. When they finished with the fence, they returned enough left over parts to pay for the labor to install the fence. It is a miracle that it is still standing.

Below is a picture of Mary Evans's Peaches.

I guess we had been at the field about 6 months and were really beginning to get a grip on the financial responsibilities that the training field would bring to the club. The leaders of the club had some tough choices to make. In order to cover the cost of the training field, dues had to be increased. We also needed to figure out a way to stop paying for rent other places, and make better use of our training field. We needed lights. Our first set of lights was rigged up by Bob Lanier and Charlie Simons. We were basically running off of the machine shop electricity. We had two sets of lights down at the crating area and one electric outlet. We had to be very careful not to overload the system and throw the breaker. This allowed us to have classes at the training field. We eventually moved all of our classes from the armory to the training field. It was also during this time that we use to have a regular Sunday night run through and cook out with Jason Price on the grill. If you came to run throughs and had supper you had to pay $10. Attached is a picture of one of our Spring Parties that was held at Palmetto Islands. The Easter Egg Hunt was one of our most favorite games.

To be continued...

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