This is how dog people celebrate national holidays... they enter dog shows & trials. :-)
I started out the long 4th of July weekend by braving the Friday traffic to enter a World Cynosport Rally Tournament at All Dogs Gym in Manchester, as well as attend a handler seminar taking place beforehand. Peg Munves taught about the fundamentals of WCRL's (formerly APDT) particular style of Rally, cleared up some questions on rules, scoring, and such, and shared a few strategies on effective handling. This definitely better prepared me for competition, since I had no previous experience with APDT/WCRL Rally beyond a single run through a few years ago. While there are plenty of similarities across the board, each venue has it's own flavor and rules - just enough to confuse those of us with half a dozen different rulebooks in our heads. LOL At least the judges are always there to help.
After a small break, the Tournament began.
Tourneys are non-sanctioned, meaning they're just for fun. No points or titles to earn. No ribbons, even! *gasp!* There was, however, a cash prize for the top 4 placements - a percentage of total entry fees. A nice little incentive to enjoy a fun night out with your dog. :-)
Teams at any level were welcome, and the competition was run according to traditional rules. The only difference was everyone competed on the same course, which consisted of exercises from all levels, increasing in difficulty as each round progressed. Everyone got to play in the first two rounds. In round one, the top 50% scoring teams were separated into a winners group, while the bottom 50% were bumped to an elimination group. In round two, each group was split in half again, bumping some teams out of the competition. And it continued that way through rounds 3 and 4, finally taking 1st & 2nd place from the winners group, and 3rd & 4th place from the elimination group. Competition was tough, with challenging courses, and some great handlers consistently earning near perfect scores, so staying in that top 50% was very tricky! All Dogs Gym kindly offered free run throughs (which were taking place in an adjacent ring) for all entered teams who finished early.
Tripp & I didn't get a chance to take advantage of that offer though... we hung in the Tournament until the very end! I only wish I had been able to catch it all on video - Tripp did great, with only a few small imperfections. Round one, we easily stayed in the top 50% with a 199 (perfect score is 200). Tripp started off round two obsessing over a pretty girl dog nearby, but eventually I got him under control and he behaved decently on course. We squeaked through to the next round with a 198 and faster time (tie breaker). The boy's brain returned for the most part in round three, just losing a couple points to crooked sits and such. That was enough to bump us into the elimination group with a 197, but at least we got to move on to round four. The final round included a bonus exercise, which is an optional sign after the finish line. You can't lose points by doing it wrong, so it's silly to not try - a perfect score with the bonus could be as high as 210. Everyone in the tourney of course performed it! We finished the competition with a 208 and earned 3rd place!
Our prize was $20.50... how about that, I finally made a profit at a trial... ok, so only fifty cents... and I spent more than that on tolls... oh well, it was still lots of fun! I look forward to doing more WCRL Rally, if only the Tournaments for now. I'm holding off on going for titles until we finish up in some other venues. Perhaps Cynosport will be one of Tripp's "retirement" games. Nah, I doubt we'll be able to wait that long. LOL
Check out World Cynosport at www.rallydogs.com.
Also visit Gura Photography for pics of us in the ring! This photographer was there snapping pics of many of the teams working. She caught some cute shots of me & Tripp in the different rounds.
Well, so much for my "free night out" - you know I'll have to order some of those pics. ;-) But I'm glad to at least have photos, since I don't have video to memorialize this awesome event.