2011 USDAA North Central Regionals

10 Aug 2011Steve Schwarz

Meeker and I attended our first USDAA regionals this past weekend in Lake Barrington, IL. It was hosted jointly by Contact Sports Agility and Cream City Canines two small, but very experienced clubs. I built courses all weekend and I'm glad to volunteer for these clubs. CSA and CCC were very organized and the trial ran very smoothly.

It was a big trial (I think I heard 1400 runs?), run in 3 rings on field turf in a great facility with plenty of crating space. I love this facility and it has quickly become a favorite for local clubs. It is the kind of facility that I’d love to see USDAA use for the Nationals.

I was on a team with two very experienced handlers and dogs: Kevin Kent and Shade jumping 26” and Anne Johnson and Ya Ya jumping 22”. We tried to team up last year for Nationals but Meeker’s back injury threw a wrench into that plan. We didn’t have any goals, just hoping to do our best and see where the chips fell. I was looking to earn us byes for Grand Prix and Steeplechase. So I wanted just to run clean in round one of each. I also signed up for a Gamblers or Snooker run each morning before the team runs as a warmup (nicely planned by the clubs!).

I won’t bore you with the play-by-play of each run. I’ve put comments on the video for interesting things.

After Friday our team had one E and we were in something like 33rd place, below the qualifying level for the 68 teams. I’d run clean and we’d come in 9th in the first round of Steeplechase.

On Saturday, I sat Meeker at the start of GP, instead of my usual down because there wasn’t much room before the breakaway tire starting the run and I wanted him to clear it. Unfortunately he broke his stay and my running to catch up with him caused him to jump the down side dog walk contact. There are a couple training issues to work on!!! So no chance for a GP bye.

In the Steeplechase finals I was out of position and couldn’t push Meeker to the correct side of the tunnel so we had an off course and didn’t earn a bye. It was a pretty nice run otherwise.

Team-wise we did well, ran clean all day and moved up above the qualifying line.

Sunday, just had two runs: Team Relay and Master Gamblers. Got the gamble and, due to a lot of carnage in Team Relay, we took 4th place even with one bar down! I hope to write an article soon about what was giving so many teams problems on that course.

USDAA didn’t show the trial on CynosportTV but local agility trainer and agility pal Loretta Vojtech set up her iPad linked to her 4G hotspot and streamed the GP Finals. I think that certainly makes her an Agility Nerd!

Overall our team ended up qualifying in 13th place and I had one Masters Gamblers Q and one Masters Snooker Q. I’m looking forward to teaming with Anne and Kevin for Nationals. Most importantly I had fun and it was good too see so many of the top handlers and dogs. It was also good for me to see how I performed in a little more stressful environment and how we stacked up against all the good teams that traveled to Illinois.

Here are our runs from Friday and Saturday. I want to thank everyone who took video for me! You guys are great pals!

So Meeker and I have some training issues to work on, along with general conditioning to get ready for the Nationals only 8 weeks away!

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