SUMMARY: Fun, fast course, but very short, and the same old faults.
The Steeplechase Classic was a just-for-fun class--meaning that, if you were already entered at the Nationals (excuse me--World Championships), you could also enter this one, with nice plaques for the top few placements.
Steeplechases certainly were different back in 1999. This one consisted of basically a U up one side of the course and then a loop around the other side of the course, with almost no off-course possibilities. (I didn't look at the results, but I'd be surprised if many dogs Eed on this course.)
It had two A-frames, however, and that proved to be too much for Tika's iffy ones. She got a paw in the first one before leaping off, but I'm afraid the "TOUCH!" has once again come to mean "FLY OFF **NOW**!", as she wasn't even close on the second one. Then, at the very end, I let up and said "Good girl," apparently before she had gone over the last jump, because after that comment, she knocked the bar. Shows once again how my judgement of where my dogs really are on course is somewhat flawed.
But she enjoyed running it; I can always tell by how enthusiastically she dives for my feet after the end.
We watched the team relay finals and the Veteran and Championship Grand Prix finals, which had us on the edges of our seats half the time. Quite a good showing of locals and friends (e.g., southern californians whom we often see up here) in the finals. Classmate and fellow Bay Teamer with Ashley with Luka won both the Steeplechase Saturday night and the Grand Prix Sunday, both in the 16" category, and fellow Bay Teamer Sandy Rodgers and Brink took both the Performance Grand Prix ("National Standard") and Performance Steeplechase ("Speed Jumping") this year as well.
Double wins like that aren't particularly common, looking at their histories, although it seems to me that people are doubling up more often now that these event fnals are held the same weekend in the same location rather than at different locations at different times of the year, as they were until around 2002 or so. In 1998 thru 2001, no one doubled. (That's as far back as I looked.)
Not that I'm denigrating other double finalists--for example, Marcus Topps and Juice came in first in the Grand Prix but popped a contact in the Steeplechase, dropping them to 8th (they had the fastest time, though). But what an accomplishment to be in both finals at the same event!
At this year's event, there were 8 opportunities for double wins; 3 people managed it this year:
- Kimberley Sisak with Phoebe the Papillon in Performance 8"
- Sandy Rogers with Brink the Border Collie in Performance 16"
- Ashley Deacon with Luka the Pyrenean Shepherd in Championship 16"
This year was the first time for the Performance Steeplechase, so in prior years there were only 4 opportunities for double Qs; only Marcus Topps and Juice at 26" did it. In 2005, only Kimberley Sisak and Devo at 12" did it. In 2004, only Kimberley and Devo did it (again). In 2003 no one doubled; in 2002, only Terry Smorch and Remy did so, at 22".
OK, so there's something to aspire to.