Sunday, November 28, 2004

Top Turkey and Slop Turkey

So it was Jake's last trial, so of course we went out in a blaze of glory--right?

Friday he did OK. Out of 3 classes, earned 3 Qualifying scores, but only one good enough for a first place. Then, Friday evening, we teamed up with a very fast little Cattle Dog rescue (Indy) and a very fast little Sheltie (Siggi) for WAG's Turkey Trot, a relay in which one dog does a set of jumps, another does weaves and contacts, and the third does tunnels. They divided teams into small, medium, and large groups and were awarding a single Top Turkey Team award in each category. I told my teammates that Jake had slowed down a lot in tunnels and that I didn't think they'd want jake doing contacts, so we'd take the jumps. (I had to jump him at his standard 16" height even though he was running at 12" during the day.)

I almost forgot where I was on course and started to do a front cross to the outside of the course (duh!?) but fortunately there was nowhere for Jake to go offcourse and we picked up his slightly wide turn and finished the jumping section just fine. Our teammates were pretty awesome.

The Top Turkey award, with the Top Turkey badge clipped to the front.

We had to wait until all the teams had run and the results were tabulated, and then they announced that Jake's team had won! Wahoo! Somehow appropriate for his last trial. We earned a lovely ceramic turkey stuffed with human and dog toys and goodies. (Turkey especially appropriate, since the day before I hosted 19 family and friends here for dinner and realized that I have absolutely no Thanksgiving themed decorations. Now I have one--) We also earned a Top Turkey badge that we had to wear for the rest of the weekend or risk wearing The Silly Hat. The tricky part was the dog biscuit glued to the badge--our dogs (and everyone else's) kept trying to munch them, and then there was the question: was wearing it into the ring considered to be having food in the ring?

Tika teamed with other longtime friends Spike the BorderNewf and Mercy the Terv (team named Tika's Merciful Spike). Tika did the weaves and contacts. The contacts consisted of two teeters and an Aframe, intermingled with two sets of 6-pole weaves, basically in a circle. I promised to run her with Steeplechase contacts, which means that I released her the instant that her paws hit the two-on-two-off position.

So--Mercy did her jumps perfectly, although I had to wait before starting Tika while Linda got Mercy into a controlled Down (otherwise she'd have probably followed Tika oncourse) and then while Linda ran over to me with the rubber chicken baton. A few seconds wasted--but not wasted if we avoided a fault for having 2 dogs on course.

Then I released a revved up Tika. She hit her first set of weaves like a banshee, perfectly entered and superfast. Slammed down the first teeter and I released her. Hit the next weaves at almost a 90-degree angle to the left perfectly and zipped through them; slammed the next teeter and I released her to the Aframe--and she left the yellow zone on the way down without bothering hitting the ground with her front feet. Which means that the tire--NOT part of our section of the course--which I knew during the walkthrough would tempt her--drew her so fast to it that my "Come! COME!" had no effect and she went through it for a 10-point offcourse. Argh! Then Spike whipped cheerfully through his tunnels and we were done. 12 teams in the large-dog category and I had just blown it with the offcourse.

Turns out that we had the second-fastest time of the large-dog teams, with just over 38 seconds (which is d***ed fast for 3 separate dogs with a baton change and all those obstacles), about 3 seconds slower than the fastest team. The extra time that Tika took for the tire might have closed that gap, or it might not have. Hard to say. But the 10-point fault (scored as time plus faults) dropped us to--only 4th place! (Which gives you some idea of how blazing fast the first 4 teams were compared to the final 8, which had to be at least 10 seconds slower than we were to still place behind us with our 10 faults.)

So no Top Turkey for Tika's team, but I was very pleased with the speed of her course and with her weave entries.

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