Thursday, October 28, 2010

ASCA Nationals 2010

Well, I tried to update this every night, but most nights I didn't get back to the hotel until after 7 p.m., then I'd have to eat dinner and feed the dogs, etc.  So anyway, here's how it went to the best of my memory!

Kaylie with her ribbons.
The Agility Finals was a blast.  I had no idea what to expect, especially when I found out that Kaylie was definitely one of the older dogs in the competition.  For an "old" gal, she sure gave it her all.  Our first round was Jumpers.  She ran clean and fast, and ended up in 20th place (out of 60 dogs).  At first I thought, 20th???  Really?  But there was less than 3 seconds between her time and the 1st place time.  There were just a lot of very fast dogs out there!  Our next round was Gamblers.  I knew we'd have problems with this run, as Gamblers is just one one of our strongest classes.  I think we got just 6 points in the gamble.  After Gamblers, we were in 35th place.  Ugh!  Then we had our two Standard runs.  She ran clean in the first round, and that got us back up to 22nd place.  Then she missed her dog walk contact on the second round.  Luckily a lot of people had other problems with the second round, so over all she ended up in 21st place, out of 60 super fast Aussies.  Not too bad!

On Sunday I had the Conformation Finals and an agility pretrial.  Off hand I can't remember exactly what we did in agility, but I don't think Conor got any Q's, and Kaylie may have Q'd in a couple of runs.  The Conformation Finals was really where my focus was anyway.  The top 30 dogs in the country were invited to compete in the Finals.  So all 30 of us went into the ring.  After that, we all got judge individually by three different judges.  After all that, we all got called back into the ring, and they announced the top 10.  I soooooo wanted to hear my number announced.  The second I heard #286, I just burst into tears.  Mind you, I was on the verge of tears the first time we had to run around the ring.  I so wanted to make the top 10.  It was a dream come true to make the top 10.  Later that afternoon we had to go back into the ring to find out exactly where we got placed.  We ended up finishing at #9.  Pretty darn exciting.

Monday was my super crazy day.  Got to the show site at 6:45 a.m. and left the show site at 9:30 p.m.  LONG day!  For agility, we just had two rounds of Gamblers with both dogs.  Both runs were a bust.  Then we had Rally.  Both dogs did fantastic - Kaylie got a 198 to finish her Novice Rally X title, and Conor got a 197 for his Novice Rally X title.  I then showed Kaylie in Utility.  She's such a good little worker and really enjoys doing the Utility exercises.  But the darned go-outs got us again.  Drats.  I showed Conor in Open, and man oh man, he was awesome!!  His drop on recall does need some work though, as he finally dropped practically right in front of me.  Then his actual "front" was at my left side.  He got 7 points deducted for that.  And then his front on the broad jump was a little crooked.  He ended up with a 190, and we got 3rd place.  Then we did Brace obedience.  This is when the two dogs are connected at the collar, and they have to do the Novice exercises together.  They're so adorable when they do this.  I had planned to practice more with them, but I just never had the time.  So for having had no practice, they did a fine job, getting a 191.5 and 3rd place.  I also showed Kaylie in conformation for Best of Breed.  I doubted she would get Best of Breed, but I did hope for a Premier award.  She showed like a pro, and the judge did like her - so we did end up with a Premier!  Wooo hooooo!!  I've always wanted a Premier award at a Nationals!  We got a cool ribbon and a blanket.
Conor with his ribbons.

Tuesday I just had two Standard runs with both dogs and on Wednesday I had 3 Jumpers runs with both dogs.  Conor only got one Q in Jumpers, and Kaylie got a Standard Q and 2 Jumpers Q's. 

I think that's it for the Nationals!  It was such a fun week.  I wish I could go next year, but Milwaukee is a bit too far.  So we're looking forward to Bakersfield in 2012. 

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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.