Saturday, January 22, 2011

Rose City Classic 2011 - Saturday

The Rose City Classic Dog Show is not just another agility trial. It's not even as simple as entering the only agility trial we ever get to run indoors on rubber mats. It's not even just a trial with more spectators than usual. The Rose City Classic is one of the largest dog shows held in the United States every year. It's a five day dog show with specialties held on Wednesday and all breed shows Thursday through Saturday. In addition to conformation, there are all classes of obedience, rally obedience, and agility. Plus, this year they also had an exhibition option for rally pairs and rally teams. They offer Meet the Breeds Saturday and the agility competition includes an IFC competition after the regular classes. People come from all over for this show including vendors, handlers, and dogs of every size, shape, color, and type you can imagine. And it is chaos personified.

We are entered only Saturday and Sunday as I was unable to take any days off work. Today was our first day and I feel like it was the last of a four day trial. I had Leo entered in rally novice B, Vegas in S'tandard and JWW, plus Vegas in rally novice team. I knew going into it I was going to be juggling rings. Fortunately the obedience rings were in the same hall as agility and we were able to crate conveniently to both. However, when your day starts at 5:30 to leave the house at 6:15 after having fed two dogs, loaded the truck, and driven for 30 plus minutes only to hurry up, park in a loading zone, unload (three trips), then bring dogs in and set up, and then wait for two hours to do anything and find out your runs are going to collide, yikes can that make for an interesting and 'on your toes' kinda day. Fortunately the trial secretaries were totally cool and understanding about conflicts.

Rally novice was scheduled to start at 10:50 am. Unfortunately Excellent Standard was running 16, 4, 8, 12, 20, 24-26, and that put us right about at the same time in both places. No good. So the plan was to move me to the beginning of the 20s, to walk with the 20s, then I'd be out of the way. No biggie, right?

So the time nears and I get Vegas warmed up. It's actually about 10:20 and they're looking for ring crew for our ring. Another 10 minutes go by and we're finally ready. They've set everything at 24" for us and we go in the ring. The course looked totally doable. It was smooth. The flow was good. The toughest part honestly looked like the entrance to the tunnel after the table > jump sequence.
So, here we go. Vegas takes the #1 jump followed by #2 then almost swings too wide for #3. What??!!!? I keep her on track but know that at the #4 I have to rear cross and book it to "push" her to #5. Well, she wasn't having any pushing and almost immediately turned back toward me because after the #3 debacle I wasn't in position like I expected. She takes #5 after I correct her - the run is already toast at that point with a refusal - and now she decides to take the "push" queue -- straight over #19!!!!!!!!!! Gargh. I tried to go for the a-frame but at that point she was then at another refusal and we were clearly out of sync. Thanks to the judge, buh-bye. Yeah. It sucked. Not a good way to start the day.

I took her out of the ring, went and stood by the door for a minute with her in a sit stay, told her bad girl - sorry but it was true - and then went outside with her to um, take some cleansing breaths of cold Oregon air, mentally regroup.

Then it was back inside to crate Vegas and get Leo out. I took him out to potty then waited. And waited. And waited for our class to come up. I think things were running a little late but in the meantime I visited and worked with Leo quite a bit on some of his exercises plus enjoyed watching our friend Nancy compete in obedience with her delightful Doberman, Jupiter, who did an absolutely beautiful job of it.

Then it was time to walk the course for him, run him, and then wait for results. I watched a few more, chatted with our friend Leigh, chatted with some people about Poms, and then waited some more to go back in for awards at the end of the class. As I was standing with Leo waiting to go back in the ring, an announcement came over the loudspeaker. "Attention competitors. There is a black Great Dane in distress in a crate between the agility and obedience rings." O.M.G. Yep, guess who? Of course I know my girl. I look over toward our crating area which I could see from the rally ring. I notice my friend, Rachel, is there and I don't see her looking around for me or anything. Then I see Vegas out of her crate and Rachel doing something - hard to tell through the crowd - then don't see Vegas any more. I'm like, "Okay, well whatever." Once we had gone back into the ring for Leo and I could head back over to Vegas, I got a chance to find out what was up. Well, basically Rachel fended off a bunch of people (including Dane people who, after assured Vegas was fine, empathized with what had happened) asking after Vegas. She was fine. FINE. A-o-KAY. Sheesh. Non-dog people. Sorry, but wow. Somebody reported her as "distressed" when, in fact, she was throwing a Great Dane hissy fit in her crate. I'll repeat myself. O.M.G. Oh yeah, and hahahahaha. I can laugh about it now although I feel like I should bring a sign tomorrow or something. Sheesh. Okay, so my girl has a teensy weensy bit of separation anxiety. But in distress? A Dane in distress is lying on its side not moving or bloated. But she was clearly just pissing and moaning and looking for sympathy in abundance with her out and out temper tantrum. Thank God for Rachel. She totally knows my girl, totally knew things were fine, and just dealt with her for me and, bless her heart, dealt with the people too. For that alone the girl deserves huge pats on the back. Anyway, made for another interesting aspect of this year's Rose City. Interestingly enough, had this occurred at an agility trial only everyone would have known and ignored it. People are just used to her antics by now and it's certainly better than some of the wretched beasts that lunge through their crates at other dogs walking by at trials.

So, drama aside, Vegas rescued by having her mama back and being able to come out of the crate, we now had to check in with JWW and see where things were at. Of course it was time to walk so back in the crate she went. This time, though, I put an extra blanket over her crate so she couldn't see out and voila! she was quiet. It's magic! :-)

Walked our JWW course, puzzled over how to handle one area, chatted about it with Rachel, and decided to go with my gut, and went and got Vegas again. I had checked the run order and it looked like we were fourth up. Well, ooops. I forgot they had 26" dogs to run first so out to potty she went and then we went in and warmed up. Finally it was our turn. Did I just walk, cause I swear I had forgotten the course. Not a good thing. Oh well, I figured I would figure it out. If I had video you could tell where I "got lost" but thank God it didn't cost us anything. I caught myself just in time. It happened right at the #4 jump where I forgot to make a front cross right away to send Vegas to the #5 jump and almost letting her get away from me with an off course. The rest of the course is mostly a blur except to note how difficult this venue can be. I mentioned crowds of people. By now we were early afternoon and scads of people had shown up. In fact, it would seem most of the crowds had truly discovered where the action was and, no offense, but it certainly wasn't in the breed rings.

The location of the weave poles was exactly parallel to the little white picket fencing they use to create the rings for agility. The picket fencing is all that separates the dogs in the ring from the throngs of people outside the ring. Not only that, but there is a row of spectator chairs about 18 inches from the picket fence. Behind the filled seats are about five-six rows deep of people watching. Most of me doesn't mind the people. In fact I find it fan-frickin-tabulous that attendees want to watch the agility. However, having people laugh at the dogs (cause they're weaving????), and being so close is seriously not so cool. I had to work those weaves every millisecond to make sure my girlie didn't put her head up. I could honestly say I felt every second of those weaves and every single breath she and I took was not wasted as we worked together to finish them. If Vegas had NQd this run after those weaves or for any other reason, she seriously would have deserved a party because that was very difficult. The rest is a bit negligible as I don't really remember it and she did qualify. As I let out a whoop at the end and loved on my girl, the crowd applauded and I just showered her with praise. She was fantastic. I was so proud of her. Our time was 40.95; SCT was 41. Whew! Never made it that close before.
So anyway, party and treat time over, we just enjoyed some hang out time again together. Got Leo out and took him potty and then met up with Andrea and got our course map for our Rally Novice Team run. I didn't really know about this rally team thing until two or three weeks ago. Someone sent out an email on a Yahoo group asking for team members, I replied out of curiosity, then ended up contacting Lindsay to see if she'd be interested. That sprouted into Andrea asking Lindsay and I if we would be interested and then we were looking for one more team member to make four. Still, we barely knew what it was. Turns out it's a rally course we each run but we just go one after the other without the judge queuing team members two through four to go. In the end we had a cumulative score and received a ribbon, although the entire exercise is for exhibition only.  Our team ended up being Andrea with her Bullmastiff, Brody; Lindsay with her Dane, Bess, and our friend, Erin, with her Siberian Husky, Boomer. Another last minute "thing" was to coordinate our outfits. We ended up agreeing on black shirts and then Andrea picked up some red bandanas for the dogs to wear around their necks. They were all really cute! It was funny to see Vegas and Bess with theirs tied around their necks, Brody's almost too tight, and Boomer's buried in his coat. Here is what our course looked like:
It was a really nice course! Turns out the way things were to run is to have us go in numeric order. That meant I was up first. The second dog and handler team were to come in when the previous one got to station #10. As soon as the team passed the finish sign the next team could get started. Vegas was actually doing quite well and I've learned a few tricks from watching Lindsay and others to know what I was doing wrong in some areas. For one, making left turns or even sitting, my queues needed to be much sooner. When I was queuing late it meant she got ahead of me and we ran into each other. So, that absorbed in my very dense brain (when it comes to obedience training), we did much better! I think Vegas was very tired and perhaps that helped us a bit? I don't know but other than her looky-looing around station #3 and toward the spectators seated outside the ring (At least this ring also had a blue half curtain between the picket fence and the crowd.), a bit of sniffing toward one other cone later on, and a crooked sit for the sit/walk around, she was a complete rockstar. In fact, she was better than she was in her four previous qualifying rally legs. I was very happy with my girl.

Next up was Lindsay, then Andrea, and finally Erin with Boomer. We all did good considering the chaos of all of us juggling other entries today, and while we placed fourth out of four groups, we did get a nice rosette and the judge commented that this is his favorite class to judge.

And that made for a very full day. I wanted to wander a bit a shop a bit and watch some of the IFC classes but that didn't last long. I didn't have a brain left, probably due to not taking care of me today, and had tired dogs, too. We did so much PR for our breeds today and I couldn't be more pleased of my dogs or proud to get to be their Mama. I'm feeling like a damn lucky dog mom right now. And this is how things were spent until we came upstairs to bed where I have one happily, snoozing Dane resting next to me and one hot and sleepy Pomeranian at the foot of the bed. Goodnight all.


  1. Whew! What a busy day! Sounds like fun though too. Congrats on the Q!

  2. I just did what I'd think you'd be willing to do for my brats. :) Thanks for the fun weekend!