a Taj MuttHall Dog Diary: Agility the Sport of Submillionaires

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Agility the Sport of Submillionaires

SUMMARY: Time to win the lottery.

I try not to think too hard about it. I try to make sure my checkbook balance doesn't drop below zero. But, really, agility isn't cheap and it isn't getting any cheaper.

This April features the now-entrenched annual 4-day extravaganza of agility known as Haute TRACS, co-hosted by two clubs.

Not only does it cost me two days off work--plus whatever lodging or camping fees I care to pay (unless I want to drive 2 hours out and back every day--then it's just gas and argh lack of sleep...)--but just the entry fees are astounding. It's not that much more than twice a 2-day weekend of agility, but they are cramming every class known to mankind, multiple times, into their four rings of step-right-up agility entertainment.

Here's what you crazed agility addicts get for your agility dollars:
DAM Team (5 runs. Plus wouldn't "5 Run Dam" be a great name for a rap group?)
Steeplechase (1 run guaranteed plus 2nd round if you qualify)
Grand Prix (1 run)
Standard (4 (!) runs)
Gamblers (3 runs)
Snooker (3 runs)
Jumpers (3 runs)
Pairs Relay (2 runs)

That's wayyy jeeez holy dogedo a bunch of running! Particularly with two dogs. I love it--great exercise mentally and physically for me and the dogs, lots of friends and excitement.

Can't say I wouldn't be happier with only 2 or 3 days, though; four days is a very long, very exhausting weekend. Which makes one think that one should take *another* day off work on Monday to regroup one's depleted axons and muscular fibers.

And the entry fees for all this, if you choose to enter everything, per dog? $270. If you have the know-how and the willingness (latter is a big issue), you can sometimes earn free entries for ONE dog by working your buns off in a trial job all day. I do this whenever I can. And that also sometimes earns me bonus money-off certificates to save up for future entry fees. So I'm lucky enough to get a fairly big discount for this trial. But that does not, alas and alack, translate to free.

Now, horsey people (aka my sister) would tell you that the entry fees are trivial compared to horse show entry fees. Plus I can throw my dogs in the back of my van and they can sleep with me on my hotel bed. Minivans and hotel beds get a little crowded when you cram in those horses (plus you think your spouse's feet are cold under the blankets, try horseshoes).

I would have added that, with dogs, if you mess up, you're not likely to get thrown head over heels and land on your head and end up in the hospital unconscious (like you would with horses) except that exactly that happened to a club member earlier this year, but still I think it's less common with dogs than horses.

So, anyway, it's a good thing I'm the sister who grew up liking dogs. Sister can have her horses and horse shows!

Plus, "Sister Can Have" would be a great name for a rock band.


  1. Most years for this trial I have entered only 2 or 3 days. That means that two years I've missed being able to do round 2 of steeplechase--we don't always make it there, but when we do, it's fun and we usually get at least a small check to take home. I like that. And/or we can't do Team, which isn't the most common event to have available. So this year I'm trying all 4 days. I have a feeling it'll teach me a lesson I won't soon forget, but what the heck.

  2. I put in another vote for 2 days. But I'm old and cranky and 4 days is way too much for me. The tournaments are what really make those fees add up. I did hardly any last year and that helped a lot with the budget. Team is usually a good value for the money but the others are around twice as expensive as a single run, at least around here.

    Funny, I used to always think up names for rock bands but now it's DAM teams even though I rarely do DAM anymore. Still fun to think up funny names and I'm set if I ever do do it again.

  3. I think we mostly have to thank Dave Barry for the pervasiveness of people noting names for rock bands in the middle of other discourse. But you're right, DAM team names are probably out of his realm.

  4. I have to miss this dog show to go to a horse show. Except this is going to work and I make money instead of losing it. I think I have just come out ahead, somehow.

  5. It sounds like you did come out ahead! That's very clever of you. Just ask for separate beds for the horses in the hotel room.