Sunday, January 29, 2012

Rose City Classic 2012 - Saturday & Sunday

Well, a week has gone by and I haven't gotten Saturday and Sunday summed up, so here goes.

Saturday is the busiest day at the show with the highest numbers in attendance. It's also the only day that agility completely filled and even turned people away. That meant there were 660 runs between all levels and all classes. They were running Time 2 Beat and ISC Standard. It's also the day the big dogs were running the latest in the run order. Although that meant I didn't have to show up early, I knew if I didn't parking would be horrendous and I couldn't afford to have to park and ride the shuttle in - even if they would have let me with three dogs. So we arrived about 10 after 8. And still had to park in the outer regions of the parking lot and not right near the covered area!

In addition to running Vegas in Standard and JWW, I also had volunteered to bring her over to the Meet the Breed booth around noon. It turned out the time we would be running Standard would be conflicting with trying to be at Meet the Breed so I asked if we could be bumped up to the first of the class. We walked with the 24-26 inch group then got ready to run.

First off - check out that jump mid-course! Talk about getting used! My plan here was to work from the right and hopefully get out in front of 2 (the triple) to front cross. My concern if I were to just work it from the inside was pulling her to the off course jump before #4. There was plenty of room after the triple without any off course obstacles to draw her to that I felt safe in doing so. This would also give me the advantage of being in position to work the dog walk. From there I just needed to ensure she hit her dog walk contact, send her into the tunnel, then get into position to make sure she hit her a-frame contact. From there I could work the inside to the table, then change sides, almost like a front cross. I wanted to be sure not to cause her to knock the panel and fortunately the weave entry was nice and straight. I planned a little RFP to draw Vegas' motion toward me out of the weaves then, when I had her attention, send her into the tunnel. From there I just needed to back off to call her from the tunnel exit, direct her over 16 and toward the teeter. I often front-cross after the teeter which was the plan here. That way I would be able to more smoothly sned her over 18 and 19. 
Course yardage was 182; SCT of 68. Our time was 49.85, another really fast run. Darn the triple we took down as everything else went off like clockwork. 

We headed straight over to Meet the Breed which was running til about 1 o'clock (for Danes). There was a fairly good number of us there, which was good, but I don't know that people really knew about it as we pretty much just got a handful of passersby stopping to pet our dogs and ask questions. Then there was one or two people who'd had Danes before so were inclined to stop by and visit, tell their stories, and move on. Several club members were inquiring into when we would run and decided to stick around and watch. I can't say how good that felt. I'm so glad to have the support of club members and to be making friends with some of them. I don't oppose what they do (conformation) and it's good they don't oppose what I do (performance). Hopefully one day we'll see more cross-over; in fact, that's my plan with the next one. In the meantime, if we can learn from each other and respect what each does, that's good enough. 

So we headed over to see where things were at. They were just setting bars to 24" and getting ready to have us walk so it was perfect timing. 

So the first decision to make on this course was whether to work from the right or the left. There were pros and cons to either. For instance working from the left you were in a better position to direct the dog to #4. The con? If the dog got ahead of you enough s/he might pull in off 2 and make a beeline for 5 or just generally be more difficult to direct to #3. Either way, depending on what angle you set your dog up it appeared a straight line from 1 to 3. I hoped to work in a blind cross between 5 and 6, send her over 7 and rear cross to 8, a blind cross between 10 and 11 (or 11 and 12), and then I knew I'd have to be careful not to push in too far on 12 or risk an off course at 2. Here came a tricky part. With Vegas knocking bars periodically lately I really hated to send her over the triple and tell her to turn left. I was hoping to be on the left side at 14 so the transition was smoother. Once she was in the tunnel my goal would be to front cross to send her into the correct end of #18 with my right arm, then just turn around and call her out of the tunnel with a send to 19 and 20. 
SCT: 45
Yards: 160
Our time was 37.64. We were 13th out of 18 qualifying runs in the 24" class. 7 points, a few blind crosses used again, and a lot of fun.

We did some wandering after that, took the little dogs out to potty, watched a bit of obedience, made our way through most of the vendors, and eventually wandered back by the agility rings to watch some of the Time 2 Beat class. We chatted with photographer, Nina Sage, for a bit and one of the judges Tim Pinneri, came to chat with me for a moment. He said he'd looked for me after JWW. He reminded me he'd judged at Rose City two years previous and just wanted to tell me how far Vegas and I have come and what a joy it was to watch her. That was seriously an awesome moment, that he remembered us but also sought us out to make sure I knew. So cool.

After that we didn't stick around too much longer. I was tired after four days, the weather was still nasty, and it was difficult to juggle three dogs in that kind of melee.

Sunday arrived too soon. I realized how difficult it actually is to put in those kind of hours at the dog show, plus drive time, plus juggling three dogs, times five days. I was beat. There was nothing I would have liked more than to leave the little ones at home but since the boys were at their dad's house and I had no idea how long the day would actually go, that just wasn't fair to them. So off we went, arriving a bit later Sunday due to my oversleeping, getting there about 10 after 9.

Our runs ended up being pretty close together the way things ran. There wasn't Fast on Sunday so that made a difference.

So right off the bat here, we had to avoid the weaves as an off course, avoid taking the triple (backwards) as an off course, not take the chute.... This was the tightest course of any we saw over the four days. It wasn't too difficult, and it wasn't too tight to safely maneuver a big dog. It was just challenging. My plan was to work the right side and rear cross the teeter. From there I would continue to work the inside. In watching other dogs run, it became apparent it was important not to push in too far on 5 because a lot of dogs too #12 as an off course. The next challenge was the weave pole entry with the sequence prior to. Where to cross? What kind of cross to use? Wait to rear cross at the weaves and work the inside? I knew I didn't want to attempt a cross between 9 and 10. There is just too much temptation in the a-frame. So then I thought perhaps I could make it happen between 10 and 11. I knew for certain I didn't want to rear cross the weaves. We don't practice it and I am not confident in that at all. Front crosses, lateral movement, and giving her any general distance is fine, but when I move behind her that means she's to come with me. It isn't worth messing up the good thing we've had with the weaves for more than a year now.... The rest was fairly straight forward. I did want to make sure I was in the correct position to send her to the correct end of the #17 tunnel which mean staying close to the tunnel exit (#15). Fortunately the panel was on the straight and the last obstacle; I didn't give it too much thought. 
Yards: 177
SCT: 66
Our time was 54.19 and we finished 7th out of 7 qualifiers. Vegas was clearly tired Sunday. Not for lack of sleep but just running on that surface for four days. It was a good indicator of what to do for next year which is to enter her in just two days (Saturday and Sunday). But regardless, a Q and a nice run on a course that obviously caught up a lot of the dog and handler teams. Very proud of my girlie.

Run #8 out of 8 runs in four days. Yay for one tunnel, first off. My goal here was clean. Maybe not the fastest, but clean. Why? I was feeling a teensy bit of pressure for this run. Being as we already had gotten our Standard Q for the day, that meant this had the potential to be a QQ run. And not just any QQ run but our 20th QQ. I tried to get the butterflies under control before going into the ring and certainly didn't want them affecting Vegas. But I wanted this Q for sure. I started out working from the right side; it just made the most sense. I hoped to get in a blind cross somewhere to switch sides and be better in position to send her into the tunnel. My goal was to accomplish that between 4 and 5 or 5 and 6. From the tunnel exit things were pretty smooth and my goal was to shape the turn from 10 to 11 so it wasn't so severe. I figured on working from the inside then "flipping" her over 13 to 14 with a rear cross. That gave her enough striding distance to easily clear the triple and then move out to 15. I planned a front cross after the weaves to give me a better line for 17-19 without having to deal with any fancy footwork or send outs to get her over 19 if I was (inevitably) behind.

We did it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! What a pretty run for my girl. As you can tell my crosses were certainly not where I had hoped but they worked well enough. She was getting tired enough that I was definitely staying ahead in most instances, but that's why those blind crosses are working so well. I can trust her to take what I put in front of her and if I can fit a blind in that means I am far enough in front of her.
SCT: 43
Yards: 154
Our time was 36.86; YPS of just 4.18. But that represented our second double-Q of the weekend and our 20th double-Q of all time. So very proud of Vegas. She's five years young and still rockin' it. None of our errors were crazy stuff like off courses or visiting the spectators or over time. A knocked bar in two runs out of eight; all the rest were Qs.

So we ended that super long weekend at 20 QQs and 502 points. We are so close it's amazing and I so look forward to the journey over the next couple months with Vegas. She's such an incredible girl and I am so blessed to have her as my pet, my competition partner, my friend, and my heart.

So then, to wrap up the weekend before I packed it in, I did a little bit of shopping...
An ornament that I can hang...
A pin that I can wear - it's pewter.
An armband holder for when we do obedience and I have plans to make it work for our agility stickers, too.
And this is a set of chimes with a black Dane head on lavender glass.
And here is what I got for my Vegas girl. She loves new toys!

And that's that for Rose City 2012. I'm already looking forward to 2013 although I already know I'll only get to enter on the weekend. Honestly, that's totally okay with me. I'm still, a week later, trying to catch up on rest and feeling well after overdoing it at the show with so many hours put in, etc. But what a lot of fun to see everyone, watch the Danes in the ring, learn more about the judges, and accomplish some of our goals.

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