SUMMARY: Ashley and Luka again
Ashley noted in class last night that he has, so far this year, entered 7 Grand Prixs with Luka and won all of them. That means that no one else in 16" has earned byes. I'd imagine he's not popular among other 16" handlers on the west coast. That follows after winning all three major AKC events in the last year.
What kind of dog does it take to do that, you might ask? Those of you among the more experienced probably realize that the dog has little to do with it. Luka was a hesitant, worried, not very fast dog when they started. Ashley is an energetic, athletic, intelligent, driven, obsessive young man who has absorbed every piece of info needed to improve their weaknesses and incorporated it diligently--and I mean more diligently than I've ever seen anyone--into his training regimen.
He has worked very hard at getting to where he is, and it just proves my point that almost any dog, with the right handler, can be a champion. It's just a little easier with certain breeds.
They won Steeplechase and Grand Prix at the Northwest Regionals; we'll see what happens this weekend at the Southwest Regionals.
If you already had byes under your belt for Grand Prix, would you keep entering? There's no money to be won, no big shiny trophies. Sure, the Qs are useful points in accruing one's bronze, silver, gold, and so on, but would you feel odd about shutting everyone out like that? I think, if I were ever in a position like that, I'd just keep on entering. I mean, if I'm at the trial anyway, I might as well. It's good practice, it is points towards higher titles, and it feels good to push myself and to do well. And I think it would feel even odder to say (even if only to myself), "Well, I won't enter because I'm so much better than everyone else and I want to give the others a chance."
Back in high school, where I competed in speech and debate, there was much discussion along similar lines at the state championships the year I qualified. The two members of one of the two finalist debate teams had already qualified for the nationals in their individual events. At the nationals, they would *also* be allowed to compete in other events, such as debate, even if they didn't win at the state level. So, if they conceded the final debate at state, they could still enter it at nationals, and then the other team would also be able to go to nationals. If they won, however, they'd be shutting out everyone else from nationals. Should they concede or should they do their best to win the state title? They, naturally, competed and won.