Last weekend the dogs and I headed up to Elma, WA el caravan style with our friend Jen and a crew of dogs. Wow, a crew of dogs. We started the evening off by having a late dinner at Chevy's to ward off the traffic we would otherwise just be sitting in. We've never competed in a trial hosted by the Top Dogs before, but it seemed like a great opportunity when we could share expenses. Jen and I had fun. The trial was held at the Gray's Harbor Fairgrounds. Although it was a one ring trial, the club had rented the entire arena so crating was in the second ring. Surprisingly it was even heated inside which was nice. We got our crating areas all set up shortly around 7:30 Saturday and the club was good about promptly getting things started. Our judge was someone we had never run under before, Terry Scofield, from Michigan. Can I just say right now, his courses were great? The balance of challenge, strategy, and fun was just right. Plus, he nests his courses extremely well which means that course building is done in a breeze. I learned he runs Newfoundlands which was really cool, too.
Alright, so with five runs a day, here is how our courses laid out:
Small > Tall
Full House Level 4, Jackpot Level 3, Standard Level 4, Snooker Level 4, Colors Level 4
Tall > Small
Jackpot Level 4, Wildcard Level 4, Standard Level 5, Snooker Level 4, Jumpers, Level 4
Jackpot has been a game we've struggled with for a while. We seem to run out of time to get the points we need. This was a traditional Jackpot course that didn't allow us to move on to the send bonus until the buzzer sounded. Usually we struggle with those even more. Although I didn't like the tunnels for this one, it was early in the weekend and Vegas handled it just fine. Were we to complete this course successfully we would complete our Level 3 title. We needed 20 points in the opening and to complete the Jackpot for an additional 20 points. Because of the tunnels in the closing we were allotted a bit more time. SCT was 50 seconds and we were done in 41.27. My plan was to take Vegas up the center again like our Full House run. The footing was a little loose and with such a stretch between jumps Vegas wasn't reading me as well to go ahead. We almost had a collision right near jump three as she turned back toward me. It caused us to miss out on the first jump in the two-part combo. We kept moving and arced back to the a-frame. I sent her over the jump following the a-frame, wrapped her around, and took her back over the a-frame. From there we hit the five-point combo, the double, and then wrapped around and took the weaves. I sent her through the second set of weaves and ended up going over the jump at the end and moving into the Jackpot send. She handled it with flying colors and I knew we'd Q'd. Another blue ribbon with 44 points. Go Vegas! Finally that Level 3 title! The Top Dogs had completed title ribbons, too. They were similar to the green qualifying ones but with two more ribbons hanging down plus they were imprinted in gold with Qualifying Title Completed.
Our last run of the day was Colors. I love Colors - partially because it's a shorter course so runs quick.
We headed back to the hotel to clean up a bit and I was able to feed Vegas which made her enormously happy. Jen, Nina, and I headed to Joseppi's, a local Italian and pizza joint I'd enjoyed on my December trip to Elma. Due to the rain, Vegas' bed, coat, and a blanket were pretty nasty so when we got back to the hotel I started a load of laundry. Unfortunately I was exhausted and had to stay awake waiting on it to be done. It ended up being way too late of a night for a trial and I was sure feeling it Sunday.
Sunday we got another shot at Jackpot, which was cool since we're a little behind on that game. This time it was a non-traditional course. We both didn't have to wait for the buzzer to do the Jackpot but we also got to make up our course Jackpot. Anything completed with the dog inside the lines and the handler on the outside was worth double the point value. Any obstacle could be completed twice for points.
league last year. The following is the course I plotted for us.
Standard was up next.
Last game of the weekend - Jumpers.
We got loaded up at that point but stuck around to see if the club needed help working the remainder of the class and to get our scores. The higher levels ran the very last class of the day so from there it was time to head home. I had a stop in Castle Rock at my dad's house plus to grab a bite to eat along the way. Vegas got a dry cheeseburger from Burgerville, too, to tide her over until we got home and she could have a full dinner. Unfortunately it was a super late night and led into a crazy week, hence the extremely late blog. Here's how tired Vegas was...