This past weekend the boys and I attended the USDAA NorthEast Regional, hosted by Paws in Motion Agility Club in Logan Township, NJ. We started the weekend on Thursday and had 4 long days of showing in titling and tournament classes. This regional was the last chance for Dasher and Zip to earn byes into the semi-finals of Grand Prix and Steeplechase. Zip earned a Grand Prix bye at the SouthEast Regional in June, so he just needed a bye in Steeplechase. Dasher needed both Grand Prix and Steeplechase.
Dasher was entered in Grand Prix, Steeplechase, DAM Team and some titling classes. His team consisted of Jeannette and Surge and Claudia Bates and her Border Collie, Hijinks. Zip already earned a bye in Grand Prix in Perry, GA, so he was entered in some titling classes, Steeplechase and DAM Team. His team was Jeannette Hutchison and Munchie and Susan Gross and Radar. I decided not to enter Zorro since I wasn’t sure how hot it would be and I knew I would be extremely busy running the other dogs.
I was a very long 4 days of competition, with most days beginning walk thoughts at 6:40 a.m. and classes running well after 8:00 p.m. I was so proud of the boys, they gave 110% all weekend. Dasher and Zip picked up some Q’s in titling classes which also earned them some nice top ten points. Dasher performed extremely well in the team competition, unfortunately his other teammates had one “E” each so we were bumped from 8th place down to 25th, still a “Q” which was nice. In Steeplechase, Dasher had a wonderful run but he knocked the broad jump, this added 5 faults to our time which just barely took us out of round 2 by .5 a second. Luckily, thanks to Jeannette Dasher had a bye into the Grand Prix Finals on Sunday. Unfortunately we had a bar and a refusal in GP so no bye for Dasher in either Steeplechase or Grand Prix. Initially I was disappointed, but then I remember last year at Nationals, Dasher made it to the Semifinals of both Grand Prix and Steeplechase by having to go through the quarterfinals, so I knew we could do it again.
Zip’s team had a great weekend. We were third after the 1st day of competition and at the end of day two, going into team relay finals we were in 2nd place. All three members put in great runs for relay, Zip and I incurred one refusal on a tricky line where many teams “E’d.” Our scores were good enough to hold on to 2nd place!! Zip came in 3rd place in overall individual 12″ class. What a superstar!! In Steeplechase round one, Zip put in a smoking run which put us into 1st place going into the finals. This meant we would be the last 12″ dog to run in the finals. As much as I wanted the Steeplechase win, all I needed was to place in the top 5 to earn a bye for Nationals. I wanted to run conservatively in order in ensure the bye. There was one particularly tricky part of the course after the A frame that I debated on how to handle. I could take the faster way which was causing some dogs refusals or off courses or I could take the longer path but be less likely to go off course. I opted to go with the longer path as this would ensure a bye as long as I handled the rest of the course well. By the time Zip and I ran Steeplechase finals it was 8:00 p.m. and everyone was exhausted. Zip put in a monumental run, I was so proud of him. He got a little sticky in the weaves but I attribute that to the ground getting loosened up by all the previous dogs. We ran clean so I was happy that we more than likely got a bye and as it turned out we ended up winning by .04 of a second!! What a man!! Here is Zip’s Steeplechase final run:
Everyone was exhausted by the end of the weekend but I was so proud of the boys. They could not have given me anymore than they did and I was so happy with the weekend. Byes or no byes I felt so blessed to have such wonderful companions who are so fun to play the game with.
Here are a few more runs from the weekend, Dasher’s team Snooker run, 3rd place:
Zip’s DAM Team relay run:
Another bit of news, Zip is featured in the September 2010 issue of Clean Run magazine!! Each month Clean Run highlights a shelter dog that has accomplished major titles in Agility, its called “Shelter Champs.” The article came out great and I can’t tell you how proud I am of little Zippy!! What a joy he has been in my life! Here is a picture of him with his “loot” from the weekend.