UKI Invitational 2024 Overview - Snap! on the Podium

01 Apr 2024Steve Schwarz

Snap!, Spark and I attended the Inaugural 1-TDC UKI North American Invitational 30 min from my house in the NW suburbs of Chicago. Like any big event, it was a mix of sleep deprivation, excitement, waiting, strategizing, and “the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat” :) I have so much to say, but I’ll try to keep it short. TL;DR: quite a few “shoulda/coulda” moments and some wonderful results.

1st and foremost I’m thankful. Thanks to my wonderful dogs, to my agility pals who cheered and video taped every run, listened to my sob stories, brought lamb cake and homemade goodies, and so many laughs 😍 Big, big thanks to my long time trainer and friend Dana Pike who studied the judges’ courses and had us working on the skills we’d need for these courses. Thanks too to Stacie Cwik for your training and course handling insights.

Thanks to everyone who took a moment to thank me for my schedule maker, bought me coffee, salsa, or adult beverages! It was kind of cool to walk around and see so many people using a tool I made. Folks who took time to tell me how I’ve helped them over the years with my blog or web tools really touched my heart.

The best moment of the weekend was running the finals with my boy Snap! As you may know, I’ve been struggling with toe tendon pain that has kept me from running since last Oct. So to say my timing and speed are off is an understatement! Snap! is not a dog who’ll suffer me not giving him the information when he needs it; he’ll decide for himself.

The run started out poorly with Snap! almost running past the 2nd obstacle and then in my recovery I shot him out of the tunnel almost to the off course double jump without giving him any turning cues 🤬 Then I started to get my act together. I trusted his threadle wrap and went full bore (for me) down the DW. I let him find the weave entrance and ran for the blind at the end. Then I decided I had to get the next blind to control his turn. Got it! He almost knocked the long jump as I decelerated to set the back side before the AF. Then it was off running to the end. Our effort earned a 3rd place podium finish.

It was wonderful to celebrate with my boy Snap! What was just as wonderful was to hear what sounded like all my old friends and some new ones cheering me on! There is something about having your fellow competitors reacting to every up and down of your run in a finals that is a buzz I’ll always cherish!

In Biathlon we ended up 16th of 55 total teams where only 18 teams ran without E’ing both runs; tough courses!

In Games we were 7th overall. That finish hurts, because I screwed up the advantage of our 3rd place snooker run with an error filled Gamblers run. Sorry to everyone who had to listen to me tell my sad tale as I tried to purge it from my system! Here’s our 3rd place snooker run:

In Pentathlon we ended up 18th overall, after some disappointing handling on my part in a couple runs.

Here’s our best pentathlon run: 5th place in agility round 1:

Here’s our E in the challenging jumpers round 1:

I’m viewing this big event as the start of a new season for us. I plan to train the missing pieces that were uncovered and work to get back and exceed my prior fitness levels.

Thanks again everyone!!

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