a Taj MuttHall Dog Diary: September 2000

Saturday, September 30, 2000

USDAA Grand Prix Nationals, Del Mar, September 2000

SUMMARY: I was so excited!
Backfill: Adding February 1, 2021!

What do I have written--anywhere--about that week?

I had friends in San Diego, so I emailed them All The Info(TM) (this is pretty much tedious , so I've boldly bolded things that might actually be interesting):

I warned you we'd be down there competing next week--here's all the gory details.

The Animal Planet/USDAA Grand Prix of Dog Agility World Championships will run next Thursday, Sept.7, thru Sunday Sept. 10.  Competition begins at 8 in the morning, so they claim; there are 650 dogs entered in various events so I expect that we'll be going until after dark at least.

The event will be at Del Mar Horsepark, 14550 El Camino Real, Del  Mar.  Directions: from North on I-5: take the Via de la Valle exit &  go east.  At El Camino Real, turn right (there's a light). Continue  about 1/4 mile to the Main Entrance on the right.  FROM SOUTH on I-5:  Take Del Mar Heights Rd exit & go East to El Cam. Real (light). Turn  left & proceed to Main Entrance on the left.

ALSO included on the same site is flyball & frisbee competitions, I believe; might be fun for you to go see some of that.

You MIGHT be able to find out more info at http://www.usdaa.com/ -- although I notice that the schedule is already out of date (once they discovered that they had 650 dogs competing, for example, they changed the opening ceremonies from 9 on thursday to 7 am!)

I won't know until I get there the approximate times when Jake, Remington, & I will be running--and even then they would be only approximations.  We will, however, be running in a total of about 6-8 runs each day, including 1 run each of Grand Prix semifinal on Fri, 1 run each of Grand Prix on Saturday *if* we don't screw up on Friday, and--heaven forfend that we're among the top 15 dogs among the 650 entered (two chances--slim and none), 1 run each of the GP finals on Sunday.

The bad news is that there are parking & admission fees!  I had no idea until my admission packet arrived this week.  Apparently even guests of competitors must pay.  All of this is very unusual.

Parking is $5. Admission is free on Thursday (because none of the Grand Prix main events are running that day--just other non-International Championships events), $5 per person on Fri & Sat (the semifinals of the Grand Prix take place then), and $8 on Sunday (the day of the final round of the Grand Prix).

This includes admission to agility, flyball, & frisbee (flying disc) stuff.  I'm not likely to end up in the final round of the grand prix, but just like the other days there are other equally fun & entertaining competitions going on in which we *will* be participating.

There will be 4 rings running mostly simultaneously.  Our crating area is away from the rings, and I don't know whether they'll be checking IDs at the crating area.  SOOOO at the moment I have no way of telling you how to find me if & when you come.

If you're likely to be there on one or more days, let me know which days & what time ASAP (no later than middle of the day Tuesday) & then I can be sure to call you when I'm down there before your appearance(s). 

Our club (The Bay Team) did our usual big Labor Day Weekend trial -- and then, exhausted, where we'd usually be lying on our laurels the rest of the week, instead we all essentially jumped into our vehicles on Tuesday morning and headed en masse with our dogs towards Del Mar. 441 miles. 7 hours if you managed not to stop anywhere, ever, the whole trip--not pottying dogs (or ourselves) or eating or getting gas--but, yes, you clever reader, you guessed it, we stopped more than once. 

Tuesday: Drive down. Check into the hotel (Encinitas Inn at Moonlight Beach (Best Western).

Wednesday: Pick up registration packet, t-shirts, etc. Set up our crating areas. Familiarize ourselves with the site. Schmooze with friends. Go to bed very early. Exhausted. Easy to sleep except for dogs not familiar with staying in hotels...

Thursday: Get up around 5 to have time for breakfast, potty dogs and give them a chance to stretch their legs, make sure everything needed was in the car, get to the site, and be ready for opening ceremonies at 7. Then Let The Games Begin.

It was my FIRST EVER NATIONALS and it excited me immensely. Both Remington and Jake had qualified to compete, yay!

Friend Arlene's Scully with Jake and Remington. All members of the Mixed Breed Dog Club.

Another email I've found to the friends:

Check-in at the trial goes until 7pm Wednesday; we're hoping to make it before then but who knows.  In any event, we'll probably go to the trial site before we go anywhere else & try to get our stuff set up, since otherwise check-in is from 6-7 the next morning, same time as walk-throughs of the courses, & competition starts at 8.

Each day we need to be there around 6 to start walking our courses for the day, so I really doubt we'll be out late any night.  Thursday evening there's a dinner for competitors so I won't be available then.  Sunday we'll be heading for home as soon as competition is done. 

About the Grand Prix National Championships-- 

On Friday:

Grand Prix Semifinal Round 1
This is the main event.  Only dogs who qualified in regional 
qualifiers this year are competing (e.g., Rem & Jake).  A difficult 
numbered course but times will be fast! These are the best dogs in 
the country! (If Rem doesn't embarrass me totally by deciding that 
this'll be one of his slowwww days--).  Dogs with 10 or fewer faults 
(including time faults--1 second over time = 1 fault) proceed to 
Round 2 on Saturday.

Veteran Grand Prix Semifinals
Same deal, except these are older dogs (older than 7). Don't let this 
fool you--Rem is 7 & Jake is 9, so we could legally compete in this 
class. And some of the dogs entered are previous Grand Prix national 

On Saturday:

Grand Prix Semifinal Round 2
This has presumably eliminated the less best dogs. A probably more 
challenging course.

On Sunday:

Grand Prix Finals & Veteran Grand Prix Finals
This is it, the total main event, the champions of champions. 
Winners of either of the 2 semifinal rounds are "wildcard" entries; 
all other entries are determined by combining the scores from the 2 
semifinal rounds, and taking the top 15% of dogs (maximum 16 in each 

I am guessing that you won't see Rem or Jake here.  I'd love to make 
it with Jake, but the competition is *very* fierce.   It's always a 
crapshoot as to who'll make it.

I emailed a friend on Sept 11 after the weekend  was over:

Well, we participated in everything we signed up for, & we didn't E 
or do anything horrible in the interregional or the strategic pairs, 
so I guess we did well--certainly better than almost anything else we 
did all weekend.

I very much enjoyed being there for the finals, even if it was in the 
sun--actually we staked out seats & had a couple of us sitting & 
holding them most of the day at the top of the bleachers under an 
umbrella, so we had a miniscule amount of shade on our faces.

I must admit that I was working on being depressed about how badly we 
were doing by Saturday evening, and Sunday morning I was so 
physically tired I could barely walk back up the stairs at the hotel, 
but in the end I'm glad we stuck around.  You never know.  We 
actually pulled out of the driveway at 5:30 (finals over at 4:30 but 
we hadn't packed anything & decided to frisbee & feed the dogs before 
we left), got home at 1:30 AM which was actually pretty good time, but 
I'm still pooped!

I recorded almost nothing at all about our runs (busy. Very busy. Exhausted. Discouraged. Excited. Like that.)

Most classes were not Qualifying for this event, but just for fun and honors.
In the "Time Gamble", Jake and I placed 45th out of 200 dogs, which I thought was pretty good, but that wasn't actually an agility game--it was a guessing game! (Estimate what your final time plus faults would be on that course.)

date class dog dog_qty faults Eliminated place qual partner_human partner
9/7/2000 Snooker Remington


9/7/2000 Snooker Jake


9/7/2000 Steeplechase Remington


9/7/2000 Steeplechase Jake


9/7/2000 Time Gamble Jake 200

45 -

9/8/2000 Grand Prix Remington


9/8/2000 Grand Prix Jake


9/9/2000 Gamblers Remington


9/9/2000 Gamblers Jake


9/9/2000 In & Out Jake


9/8/2000 Jumpers Jake


9/8/2000 Power & Speed Jake


9/8/2000 Jumpers Remington


9/10/2000 Strategic Pairs Remington

- Karey Krauter Zephyr
9/10/2000 Strategic Pairs Jake

- Craig Diskowski Chilly
9/10/2000 Interregional Remington


9/10/2000 Interregional Jake


And this is all I've found in writing so far about that event that looms large in my agility history! Doh!

[now I'm going to post about a t-shirt I bought there.  See Feb 1, 2021 blog post.]

Oh, and in passing:

My friends/classmates/instructors/club members whom I expected to see in the Grand Prix National Championship finals [in brackets, who made it & placed--other info I'm sure is around here somewhere]. Oh, also, this is likely of  no interest to anyone but me:

Nancy Gyes (my instructor) and her BCs Wicked and/or Riot and/or Scud.  Scud 
was runner-up champion at least 2x & winner 2 years ago(?) as well as 
7th best dog in the world in Europe int'l championships last year. 
He's undergone a year of chemotherapy & is now back in competition. 
Wicked was Grand prix champion last year. (or was it Riot?  too 
confusing--)  [came in 1st in 26" with  Wicked]

Jim Basic (my other instructor) and BCs Mick and/or Swift.  Mick has been 
runner-up or champion in various national competitions; Swift is much 
younger but amazing.  [8th in 26" with Mick; in 22" finals with Swift but no placement]

Rachel Sanders (our Dog Behavior expert & in my monday-night class) 
and her BCs Whist and/or Spinner  and/or her Jack Russel Terrier Trump. Whist, I think, was Grand Prix champion last year.  

Bill Gignac & Calvin (a Visla)--Calvin & Remington used to be almost 
indistinguishable in running styles when they were in novice classes 
together--then Rem got slower & Calvin got more focused & I broke my 
foot and--  Anyway, They're perennial finalist placers.

Bill Newcomb & Flash (a Border Wart--OK, a Border Collie mixed 
with a Hovawart)--also perennial finalists.  Also were in Rem's beginning 
classes. [In finals, no placement, likewise with 2 other friends]

Gail Mahood & Flint (corgi): 2nd place in Grand Prix last year; 
they're in my monday-night class  [3rd in 12"]

Cindy Glantz & Blaze (sheltie): 8th (?) in GP last year; also in my 
monday-night class.

Debbie Auzenne  & Junior (papillon): Another local person & national 
champion runner-up; she & I had broken feet at the same time.

ALL of these are among USDAA's Top Ten handler/dog teams (by 
height/class) for this year AND I believe that all of them have 
earned their Agility Dog Championships (ADCh) thru continued 
top-level performance

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