------------------------------- ------------------------------------ On and Off The Needles

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Top Dog

My trip to Arizona last week was amazing. I got to see most of the top agility dogs in the world competing. There were teams from Hong Kong, Japan, Spain, the UK and many others competing. The grounds were huge.

WestWorld Equestrian Center has a nice, large field along with tons of horsey related rings on either side. There were 6 rings set up for agility along with the main ring surrounded by grandstands. With over 1000 dogs competing, everyone was organized into groups. Each competitor was assigned a group, A through H, and their group was in a certain ring at a certain time for each class. With the 5 people I went with, they were in 4 different groups! It made a lot of running around so I could see everyone run. Being that I did not have a dog with me, I was designated videotaper. In agility, we like to video our runs so we can look at them later and figure out why a dog knocked a jump, or why they took one jump instead of another. It really helps. I must have walked about 10 miles a day just walking around the rings to video.

The kenneling area was a bit away from the rings. It was huge. It reminded me a little of the coverage they show of the military overseas and all the tents they live in.
All the friends I went with did really well. Two made it into the finals (one person with both of her dogs!) and it was a blast to watch them from the grandstand in the big ring and cheer them on.
They also had a lot of other activities besides agility going on - herding, flyball, freestyle, and dock diving. It was all dogs, all the time for an entire week! Our kennel was right near the dock diving. It was crazy. The dogs really love it!
(click for a big of this one and you can spot the dog jumping!)
The scenery was beautiful. Every time I had to walk back to the kennel area from the rings to get a dog or another bottle of water (I must have gone through about 150 oz per day minimum!) this is what I got to see.
Beautiful. The sunset over them was really pretty. A stark contrast from the mountains we have here all covered in green. The weather was, of course, perfect. Sunny and not a cloud in the sky all week. Temps were a touch warm though - high 80's and the final day was in the mid 90's! I carried water, sunscreen and my SPF 45 lip balm everywhere with me....

All in all it was a great week. Exhausting as we were up at 5am every morning to get to the show grounds, and we put in many 14 hour days, but it was amazing to see people that I have only read about and have trained using their methods. Inspirational indeed. My hope is to qualify Tucker for next year and be there with a dog!

(anyone else find it interesting with all the pictures I took, not one has a dog except for the dock diving one??)