Thursday, October 21, 2010

What? 2010 NADAC Champs post?!?!

Yeah, so I'm going to do a two (or more) parter for the whole trip.

2010 NADAC Championships, Gillette, WY

The trip up was pretty uneventful. We stopped in Beaver, UT, the first night. The last couple Champs we've gone and visited the vet we got Blue from, but unfortunately, this was a Saturday evening and the vet wasn't open. A couple of days of driving later, and we're into Gillette, WY, and the most interesting thing one the way up was a big fire we drove by.

Before Championships, there was a "Pre-trial," that was basically a normal NADAC Fun-raiser. It didn't count for Champs, but was a nice "warm up". We only did two out of the three days.

Truly had a ton of fun! It was indoors (thus, no sun) and cold, perfect Truly conditions. She Qd 4/6 runs and gave me some awesome distance and speed. I was attempting a 15 pt bonus with Tru on that second Weavers run, and Tru decided to go "wheeeeeeee" out of the first few tunnels, haha.

Blue only entered two runs a day, as to not wear her out too much. She Qd two of the four runs she was entered in. I tried bonuses on the two she didn't Q and that says enough. She seemed happy and fast, which was good, as she seemed funny at the trial in August.

Oh, and we got to runs some Extreme Games Challenge classes!!! Unfortunately we didn't have time for Extreme Hoopers, but we got to run the other two classes, Chances and Tunnelers. I figured Truly would like this, which she did, but I was surprised at how well Blue did and how much fun she seemed to be having. That's one reason why I only ran Blue in one round of each class. We all give at least these two classes thumbs and paws up. I'm not sure that Blue will be as enthusiastic about Extreme Hoopers, but we'll give it a try before we count it out, haha.

Okay, so onto the main event...

First, I decided I wanted to make a PURPLE NADAC DOG sculpture to put in the raffle similar to the "Chimera" I did back in March (I think). I was thinking about it, then found some crazy fur on some pillows at a store and just had to make one. After that, I though, "Wow, I have a lot of fur, maybe I should make another one." Not the best idea in the world. All my spare time two weeks before, during the trip and up until Thursday morning was centered around finishing these two items. The actually did pretty well in the raffle, the bags for each one were pretty full. A Jr. Handler won one of them, and a lady I know won the other, so I'm happy about where they went and that they'll be appreciated. Art projects are like my babies, you know, so I like to know they're going somewhere good.

Wooh, now to the runs. We ran 8 rounds of Regular this year, instead of two each of the special skills classes and then 6 rounds of Regular. Champs was also only 4 days this year instead of five. The plan was to have two part courses, where one half was a Regular course and the other was a "Highlight Round" of another NADAC class for example, Jumpers. There would be a break in between the two runs.

Blue was awesome on Thursday and started SilverStakes off with a first place in round 1! Round 1 consisted of a Regular and a Jumpers-type course. I say Jumpers-type because there were hoops in addition to jumps and tunnels. She was clean on the first part, but faulted on the second, so she did not have a completely clean run. As it usually happens, the two part courses took waaay to long. We were up and running our second round past 11 pm. Which is one reason we didn't do a two parter for round 2. The other reason was that it was a Hoopers highlight and Stakes hasn't really ever done (distance) Hoopers. Round 2 was one of Blue's only clean runs and she placed 3rd. I love this run.

Blue and I were just so in sync for the two regular courses. I was also surprised at how "close" the distance was. Which was good for Blue. It was the perfect distance so that Blue wasn't too frustrated, and I guess it was just right for our skill level. I'm quite glad we didn't do SuperStakes.

Not quite as great as Thursday, but courses were a lot trickier (and shorter, lol). She still did well, only faulting once per round. She got 4th in round 3 and 3rd in round 4. That tunnel turn back thing was so bizarre. I needed to be further over, call her then send, but the line that was more points ended at some point through the weaves, I believe, so I didn't want to be up next to it for the next part. I think the sequence we got points for was over after the tunnel or when the dog hit the AF. I don't remember.

Oh, maybe I should explain how the points worked. Well there were a couple lines on each course, worth different amounts of points. Instead of getting points for each obstacle, we got points for several sequences on the course that we needed to do perfectly for full points. If you faulted or redirected, you got no bonus points for that sequence.

So everything was going good until Saturday morning. Blue and I just bombed on round 5. She got a whole zero points for this run. She had way too many faults and earned no bonus points. The hard thing was someone telling us Blue was in first place until that run. Gah, there was a reason I wasn't adding the points together, haha. The amazing thing was that she was only bumped down to third place overall! Needless to say, she was pretty much near the bottom in placements.

Round 6 went a little better and would have been perfect if she would have just. hit. her. dogwalk. contact. Ugh, why did she have to do that at Champs??? The jumped contact caused me to hesitate and pulled her off a jump, adding another 30 faults to the 10 for the missed contact. Otherwise, it was a very nice run. I also ran into the lesser bonus point area for the sequence that included the out tunnel/AF discrimination. I had seen many dogs miss that during the regular classes. People were literally having to stand in front of the AF to get the tunnel because of the angle. So even though we got less points, I knew that more points wasn't worth the fault risk. Especially after she got all those faults on the "easy stuff." She placed 6th.

Last day. :(

Round 7 was what I have dubbed, "The Horseshoe of DOOM!" We were informed this 10 obstacle course had the lowest Q rate of the entire event. Yeah, 10 obstacles in a horseshoe shape. It was explained to us as a pure test of contacts and weaves at speed. Thus, we were given points based on each contact and weave performance. This was Blue's other clean run. She placed 3rd.

The final round was a pretty tricky course that had a lot of tunnel call offs in it. Blue immediately runs off to the tunnel. I probably said "get out," when I should have said "here" or something, but when I was behind her she seemed quite sure of herself and didn't seem to be paying complete attention as she came off that AF. I made sure I went in and helped on the tricky parts. Didn't want to risk more faults than she had. Unfortunately she turned a little too wide/I called too late? and missed a jump. Otherwise she did good and I was proud of how well she'd done all week.

As I said in another post, Blue placed 7th overall and earned the award for Most Bonus Points in 12 Vet (with 77 pts!). I didn't really expect to place while running against all heights of dogs, well, mostly tall dogs jumping various heights. It's so hard when the scoring is time + faults, and a Border Collie can have bar down or miss a contact and still beat Blue running clean (or with a fault neutralized by bonus points, haha) because they can run 5-10 seconds faster. I thought we did have a chance at the Bonus Point Award, but I never really run like I'm trying to win. I just try to run the best we can. Well, I did start getting cautious after the "bomb" run, but that's partly because the courses were getting more difficult, even though I was considering the possible off course faults as well. Then again, my strategy of sorts has always been "run clean" because we were always, ALWAYS running against tall dogs. I swear that I will run Blue in her own jump height one day. Fingers crossed for next year?

Speaking of next year, the latest from Sharon is that they are investigating two locations, one in Kentucky and one in Ohio. Yeah, not as close as Purina Farms, so I'm not sure what's going to happen, but there's no way to tell this far ahead. I will qualify both my dogs (which are the same as last years requirements), but I'm not going to make it my highest priority ever. If I go, I must figure everything out because my mom/rest of the family does not want to be dragged to another far off dog event. Sooo, buy art from me please!!! At least I can fund it. Well, and someone from the area offered to take me with them, so I might be set for transport (other than maybe flying).

Okay, back to this year, overall, it was an exciting experience. I loved being part of a small group, although it was kind of intimidating at first because I didn't know very many of the people. After the first run, Sharon told us that we didn't look as friendly as the SuperStakes group, lol, and were basically told to lighten up. Eventually we got to group cheers and stuff like that. I was told by Tom Maloney-Harmon, who I've watched do SuperStakes with his Shelties for years, that I was an inspiration to him! That made me feel really good and I thank him for that. Rock on distance Shelties!

I will post a part two eventually, haha.