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Bye California!
Apparently the Cynosports entries were down by 30% this year, so the USDAA staff has already announced that Cynosport will never EVER go back to California.  Too bad, because the site was lovely.  I loved running on the astroturf, and the majority of the dogs looked great on it.  The crating area was well organized and there was enough area to run dogs off leash.  One of the advantages of being outdoors is that the atmosphere is a lot less stressful, I think it's much easier on the dogs instead of staying in a noisy building.  Usually my dogs are catatonic for a couple of days after a national, but I decided to drive all the way home on Sunday and by the time I got home all of the dogs were completely recuperated, unfortunately for me.  The smaller crowd also made this Cynosport feel more like a regional event, with lots of familiar faces.  It was definitely one of the more relaxed Cynosport events that I've been to.  The first couple of hours of competition were difficult lighting conditions, and I felt really bad for the teams that had to run their semi-final runs in the morning.  The light was blinding at times and I'm sure it cost a lot of clean runs.  Definitely affected Lucy in her PSJ semi-final run.  The event was incredibly well organized, probably because of the lower entries, but every rotation started on time with the exception of a late start on Sunday, which is just as well since the Steeplechase final ran way too late at night.  Probably the only thing that really needs to be changed is the midnight running of the Steeplechase final.

I had a wonderful time visiting my Southern and Northern California agility gangs.  Lucy can still recognize her peeps in a crowd, so I just let her tow me around to find my friends.  Most of them knew that this was her USDAA retirement event.  She q'd in the PSJ quarters but not the PGP quarters.  Couldn't get her out of the PSJ semis for the simple fact that she really couldn't see anything, we did about 5 obstacles and I excused us from the ring.  She did pretty well in the team events but E'd in jumpers.  We did survive the team standard course.  Konane got out of the GP quarters but not the Steeplechase quarters, which was a bit of a surprise.  The teeter in the GP semis was set up facing the announcing booth and volunteer staff, so a lot of dogs were refusing the teeter.  She approached it fine but bailed off of it, which was a common fault in the GP semis.  A bit of a surprise to me because I thought the GP semis course was very doable for us, but you can't really proof for an announcing booth over a teeter.  She E'd in Team standard so we didn't make much of a contribution in the team events.  Merlin probably had the best time of all, he got to play with his littermate DIRTT quite a bit.  She's a feminine less dorky version of him and a very sweet dog.  He also scored all of the shopping items:  new toy, new coat and a new harness.  I was really proud of how well all of my dogs held up both mentally and physically, and grateful to them for another great adventure.

Konane is in maintenance mode for another 3 weeks, then we're off to the US Open.  The US Open has turned into a real national with 4 rings and 5 rotation groups.  Laura is smart enough to realize that many workers are needed to staff that many rings and won't penalize people for working by putting them in a separate rotation group.  I've already to volunteered to help because I don't think it's a big deal to help out at any trial.  I was happy to see so many PNWers working in rings at Cynosport, confirmation that we have a great agility community.  I totally understand that it's an important event for a lot of people, and there are competitors who always work and competitors that never work, but I really don't think that setting bars for 30 minutes is going to impact a run that you have 3 hours later in the day.  I was the only worker in a big class in the GP semi-finals and despite 6 announcements requesting for help I ended up straightening the chute and setting bars for most of the class.  A few hundred people were sitting in the bleachers and you'd think that someone would have come down to help out but it just didn't happen.  I'm sure the US Open will have major growing pains this year so I'll make a small contribution by working for most of the event.

It's doubtful that I'll go to Tennessee next year, and depending on how the US Open goes next month may or may not attend next year.  Kona will get 3 months off of training, and Merlin and Lucy will start doing some AKC over the winter.  Fortunately the 4-legged Flix crew filmed all runs in all rings, I'm not sure how they pulled it off but it was really easy to download runs onto a Flash drive at the end of the event.  A highlight video, I managed a blind cross of of a dw, still not sure how I pulled that stunt off, but I have video proof :)

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Loved the video - the girls looked great, you are always a blast to watch. ;-) I guess it was not just my imagination, I did feel like the event seemed smaller. Would have been fun to go to the US Open this year, I'll be curious to hear how it goes now that it's become bigger. It's still my goal to go someday!

Power and Speed got moved to Thursday, I'm not sure what the total entry number is looking like. Unfortunately the US Open is very unlikely to move off of the East coast since the majority of competitors are on the East coast.

Thanks so much for teaming with Beep and I! So glad we got to go!

Congratulations on getting to the PSJ Final! It was so exciting to see you running under the lights!

Thanks! It was fun even if it didn't go as planned :)

I figured it was smaller but didn't realize it was that much. It did seem really well run, except for the late night SC/PSJ, and the turf seemed great for the dogs. Sigh... oh well. Thanks for the video, the girls looked great!

There was lots and lots of walking involved, it really wouldn't have been good for your foot.

Wow! 30% Smaller... It's a long way for people in the east to go. Can't say I blame them.

Loved the video. you and your girls looked great. I just love that very creative 2o/2o toward the end!

Glad you had a good weekend.

Yes, that was Lucy's retirement run. She needed to make it very memorable for me.

Dah. Awesome. As always.

Your blind off the dogwalk was insanely adventurous. A++++++

Thanks. I knew I could get ahead but didn't think i could get a front cross in :)

no more CA, ever? :( I was just thinking how much I regretted not qualifying, too. It was SO CLOSE! And now AKC in Reno. Oh well. Miley will be 10 by the time they ever come back to the West.

Congrats on a great career, Lucy! And Kona looks great. I wouldn't know how to proof for an announcer booth at the end of a teeter either!

Thanks. Lucy struggled enough with the outdoor lighting that it made me absolutely sure that I've made the right decision for her.

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