Here’s my Regionals weekend in point form:
Steeplechase 1 Results TWEED – 3rd place qualifier in 16″ (Woot!). PIPER – qualified in 16″.
Steeplechase 2 Results TWEED – not entered. PIPER – ran in it (that’s all we’re going to say about that).
Gamblers 1 TWEED – so much awesome, completed both minis twice, and after some back and forth and panicked, ear splitting shrieking from his handler(ahem) got the main gamble with .22 seconds to spare. No kidding, he nearly made me shit myself in terror. 87.22 points. PIPER – yeah, umm, no.
Standard 1 TWEED – WTF? He pulled a run-behind-me and took an off course tire. It was like he wanted that tire so bad he totally ignored both my feet and my hands pointing at the correct obstacle while I yelled TEETER TEETER WHERE ARE YOU GOING?? Then he came and stood next to me like “my bad, sorry.” It was otherwise clean and fast, so instead of 120 odd points, he got 80. (RAGE) PIPER – bobbled the weaves, but otherwise ran clean and got more points than Tweed (more RAGE).
Jumpers 1 TWEED – slow and steady gets you through the course. He was hot and tired (hello, I got a sunburn – is anyone surprised?) but ran it clean and came out with something like 7 bonus points. PIPER – the dog who collapses when it’s hot outside, remember? I practically led her through the course by her nose, begging her to run the whole way, but she ran it clean and ended up with something like 6 bonus points.
END OF SATURDAY RESULTS: Tweed in 7th place (the 7th place curse of Regionals, why do I end up there so often??) with a 4th place ribbon in Jumpers and a 6th place ribbon in Gamblers. Piper in something like 14th place with a 5th ribbon finish in Jumpers.
(photo courtesy of Jen at Mambomutts Photography)
Standard 2 PIPER – oh HAI weave pole bobbles. 95 points or something like that. TWEED – here we go baby, we are on fire! Fast, clean, something like 20 bonus points, so lots of points.
Jumpers 2 PIPER – new agility quirk …. bite The Food Lady in the ankle instead of going in the tunnel. Why, why? So 1 refusal. TWEED – no problem it’s Jumpers, Tweed always aces Jumpers. Oh except it started raining when we walked the course, pouring 10 minutes before his run. First jump, bar down … halfway through the course, second bar down. Tweed NEVER drops bars. Smoking fast run, but instead of 15 bonus points, we lost 10 and he ends up with 65 points. So basically, Regionals is over for us :(
Gamblers 2 PIPER – weave? what? But ZOMG, she almost got the main gamble. Her yo-yo string is stretching with time, but it’s not *quite* long enough yet. Racked up a whole bunch of points in the opening though. Really good attempt, I’m proud of her. TWEED – forgets what contacts are for a minute, and kind of loses his mind in the opening, so we don’t get too many points at all. But he gets the main gamble with a few seconds to spare, so a few bonus points. I forget the total at the end.
So Piper performed reasonably well for her first ever Regional attempt! We know what we need to work on (distance, weaves, some kind of ankle guard arrangement for her handler). Tweed went 4 for 6, but the two he flubbed were biggies and it doesn’t look so good for us.
Time to calculate the aggregate scores for overall placements. To distract all the anxious competitors, they do something called the Run For The Money Steeplechase. This is not part of the Regionals scoring, it’s its own game to amuse us while we wait. The top 20% of the dogs who ran and qualified in Steeplechase get a spot in the final Jackpot run. Tweed made the top 20 so he gets to run. Yay!
Steeplechase is super fun, super fast. There’s lots of cheering and stuff as the dogs and handlers race around like their asses are on fire. Tweed puts in a mighty fine performance and of the 22 dogs in his category, comes out 4th and wins $25.00. Yay Tweed!!
(photo courtesy of Jen at Mambomutts Photography)
And now … the final placements.
PIPER ends up qualifying for Nationals (required: 350 points) with something like 20th place. There were 65 dogs in the 16″ Specials category, so 20th place with something like 415 total points isn’t that bad for a first try from a baby agility dog. Tweed never even qualified for Nationals his first two Regionals back in the day – and back then they only needed 300 points, if that tells you how badly we did. I am very proud of Piper, she is trying very hard. It’s just that she is much prettier than she is smart, so her learning curve is a little steeper than average :) In the end she got a Q in Steeplechase, qualified for Nationals and got one 5th place ribbon for Jumpers. Yay Piper!
They keep counting down the placements. I am expecting to hear Tweed’s name somewhere around 9th place, but they keep counting down. I nearly vomit when I hear the announcer say 7th place, because if I am ONE placement off the podium again, I’ll kill myself. They don’t call his name. ZOMG, can it be? Podium?
6th place – The Food Lady and Tweed. Hurray! We made the podium for the first time ever! I am so excited!
OH OH – but wait … we effed up. Sorry about that. 6th place is actually Wendy and Phoenix.
They took 6th place away from us. We weren’t in 6th at all. Just kill me now.
YAY!!! With 505 points or something, it’s The Food Lady and Tweed!!
I am so freaking happy. You have no idea how happy I am. Less than 2 weeks ago, I didn’t even think Tweed would run at Regionals, never mind make the podium. To make everything even more stressful, all the dogs that used to kick our asses in the 22″ Regular division dropped to 16″ Specials along with us this year and the competition was so so tough – it was probably the biggest class with some of the most competitive dogs in the region, and Tweed got FIFTH, even with two really awful runs. The dogs that beat us are ALWAYS on the podium – our friend Wendy with Xena the Aussie was in 4th, our great friend Ian with his amazing dog Ted was in 3rd, Reville, who always won the 22 Regular class every year was in 2nd, and The Sadist’s wife with her beautiful Biscuit was 1st! Our competition was amazing, and I can’t believe we were in their company on the podium.
I love my dog. I LOVE MY DOG!! He is so full of try, and at 10 years old, he made the podium at an event where 411 dogs ran for glory. What a good boy!
A 3rd place Standard, 4th place Jumpers and 6th place Gamblers. 3rd place qualifier in Steeplechase and 4th in the Steeplechase finals. That’s my boy.
What a stressful weekend. I must thank my friends, who didn’t get on my case too much when I lost my mind after our bad runs and let me go find a quiet corner to decompress without telling me “at least you got to run him at Regionals” or some other platitude that would have made me kill them, and then myself. You know, if I had messed up our runs or handled something badly, I would have been a lot more philosophical after those bad runs, but when the mistakes are something you can’t train for, like slippery wet grass under a right front foot that doesn’t feel much anymore, or the one and only time in our career where Tweed decides it would be interesting to try running BEHIND me instead of where I’m suggesting he go, it’s absolutely devastating.
A huge thank you to The Sadist. He may be the meanest person in the world, but as far as I am concerned, he’s some kind of deity and minor gods can be as mean as they like :) He’s changed my whole handling style, and without him I’d still be flopping around the course like a dying smelt. He is seriously a wonderful person, a great friend and an outstanding teacher, and I *heart* him. Perhaps I will give him Dexter as a thank you. All of us students owe him a major debt of gratitude – Fiona and (TDBCR) Rogue were SECOND PLACE in the 16″ regular division (holy shit, is that not amazing?? It was only Rogue’s second Regionals!!), and pretty well everyone else who trains with him qualified very impressively. Thank you, Gerhard.
And a massive thank you to Joanie Leigh, Suki and all the PAC and Cliffhangers agility club team members and their volunteers who put on an amazing Regionals event that ran so smooth, so fast, so great and was so much god damn fun!