Friday, October 3, 2008

DOCNA Championships

The DOCNA Championships started yesterday with "warm up" Standard and Jumpers runs. Kaylie took a wrong jump in her Standard run, but had a fantastic Jumpers run, and got 2nd Place. Yay! Today was the start of the actual Championships. We had Traditional Gamblers, Snakes 'N Ladders, and then the first round of Jumpers and Standard runs. Finals will be on Sunday, and to make it to Finals, our scores from Friday and Saturday will be added together, and the top 25% of each class will go on to compete in the Finals on Sunday. Well, we had great runs in everything. Unfortunately, Kaylie knocked a bar in her Jumpers run (it's been FOREVER since she's knocked a bar -- why did she have to do it at the Championships??) Her Standard run and Snakes 'N Ladders run were very nice, but there were just too many faster dogs -- those darn Border Collies!!! We actually ended up in 8th Place in both Jumpers and Standard, and I think 9th Place in Snakes 'N Ladders. It's not very often that we finish out of the ribbons, but the competition here is tough, so we're about in the middle of the pack. Now for the real kicker -- our Traditional Gamblers run. Traditional Gamblers is definitely NOT our forte. We've only Q'd in Traditional Gamblers 3 other times. But Kaylie did it -- she did the gamble, and did it very well. I was shocked. And to top it off, we got 3rd Place. Wooo hooo!

We're not out of the Finals quite yet. We still have tomorrow. It'll probably take some mistakes to be made by those top teams, and then us having super fantastic runs, but anything is possible!

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Kaylie - The True Wonder Dog

At our last DOCNA (Dogs on Course in North America) agility trial in Prescott, Kaylie did fantastic! We are trying to be the first team to earn the MEX (Merit of Excellence) who started in the Beginner level. We are getting VERY close. All the other teams that have earned the MEX were grandfathered in at higher levels. Kaylie was just starting her agility career when DOCNA was created, so we had no choice but to start at the beginning. And as it is, I believe there are under 20 teams that have even earned the MEX to this point.

Well, going into the trial at Prescott, we needed 2 Specialist Gamblers legs and 2 Specialist Standard legs. In DOCNA, there are two types of Gamblers runs -- Traditional and Strategic Timed Gamblers. Unfortunately, we have only earned 3 Traditional Gamblers legs -- one from the Beginner class, one from the Intern class and one from the Specialist class. All the other Gamblers legs have come from the Strategic Time Gamblers. So, I knew going in that the chance of getting that Traditional Gamblers leg on Saturday was slim. We walked into the ring, and I knew Kaylie was on fire and ready to go. The Gamblers class is usually the first class of the trial, and Kaylie is usually absolutely wild in the first run. Well, this was no different. She was incredibly fast, and I was not -- I kept getting in her way, and things just fell apart. At 30 seconds, the buzzer rang, which meant I had to get to the gamble portion of the course. I sent her over the jump to the tunnel -- she took the wrong end of the tunnel, then came right back to me over the wrong jump and that was the end of that. No MEX for us this weekend. BUT, she did qualify in the two Standard runs she needed, getting First place both times, and she got her Strategic Timed Gamblers leg on Sunday, earning a Second place. Wooo hooo Kaylie!!! Out of 10 runs over the weekend, we qualified in 8 of them, placing 1st, 2nd or 3rd in all but one run -- our Jumpers run on Sunday. I got lost on the course and just got confused. Luckily, Kaylie can read the numbers on the cones (that's the only explanation I can come up with) because she ran the right course despite my mess ups! Hence the name "Wonder Dog." So we still Q'd, but got 6th place. Still, not too bad!!

So, our next DOCNA trial will be in Pinetop the end of August. Hopefully we'll get our MEX there! Just one Gambler leg to go.