I still haven’t really processed today other than it was incredible. Incredible. Such an awesome environment and group of people. And Zora was on fire. It was awesome.
Should I go chronologically through the day or just skip to the really really cool?
Ok the really really cool, we won. First place. Both rounds today. I can’t believe it. We won our first 2 rounds of Elite Standard Small Dog. I still can’t believe it. We left before they posted the ribbons so maybe tomorrow when we pick up those it will feel more real.
Regardless of the score, it was amazing being out there with Zora. She is such a good little dog. We had a blast. Our second run was such a thrill. There were a number of discrimination and off course challenges in that course yet she was so smooth! We were really working as a team today made me so happy!!!!
Again I can’t figure out how to embed you tube videos in WordPress using the iPad so here are the links to our runs:
Elite round 1 https://youtu.be/EWdQwvd-d5Y
Elite round 2 https://youtu.be/J_YoJgT7LcA
Now to the day as a whole to give you a better idea of how the days of Championships run.
As today was the first of the 4 days of The actual Championship competition the morning briefing ran much longer than usual. It began at 7am and ran till a bit after 8am. By about 40min in I was shoving down the desire to grab the microphone and stomp on it. The mic there has this very grating vibration, so I become smart and wore ear plugs most anytime I was near it the rest of the day. Speaking of ear plugs, we picked some up at CVS to try overnight. In the past I’ve never been able to stand ear plugs. Depending on the day I have a varying level of tinnitus and ear plugs makes me really aware of it. But with my challenges sleeping in the hotel and the low cost of ear plugs I decided to give them another chance. I’m so glad I did. As apparently my body is being ok with them and I actually was able to sleep in the hotel room last night. Yay!!!!
After the briefing each competition grouping of about 35 people was given 6 minutes each to walk the course. The walk throughs all told took maybe 45 minutes.
First dog was on the line and running at 9:20am
Today we were dog 49 To run each round. Each day the number we run will change as they rotate when groups run each day. This is to prevent someone from always being first or always being last. Today we were really early in the run orders. Tomorrow we will be really late in the order, like nearly last.
To increase efficiency and ensure that people run in the posted run order, at Championships they have this staging area set up. Using cloth barriers they create 3-4 waiting boxes. The first area contains some warm up equipment such as today we were allowed to warm our dogs up using a couple of hoops, a jump, a tunnel and a set of 6 weave poles. In our check in bag we were given a punch card that the warm up area steward punches each time we use it. From the warm up area you move progressively closer to the start line with your dog as the dogs ahead of you complete their runs. There are volunteers at each area to tell you when to move to the next area and when to hand over any treats or toys you would like at the finish.
Championships is also judged by multiple judges. There are 3 official on course judges that are hired by NADAC and don’t run any dogs at the event. Their sole job is the judge the championship rounds. Because the courses are so large and to allow for more flexibility in course design, there are usually 2 of these 3 judges judging each run at a time. One might be in charge of calls for the first half of the course and the other the second half or some such.
There are also judges who are official NADAC judges but who are running dogs at the event and volunteer to assist with certain jobs and classes. Such as there is one such judge to tell you when to take your lead off and begin your run. Or volunteer judges who assist with setting the courses. The official hired judges make the final calls and course tweaks but the volunteer judges play important roles at champs too.
The Championships course is really 2 nested courses. One that the elite, veteran and stakes dogs run. And another that the pre-elite and double digit dogs run. Stakes classes are really cool, I will go into those more in a future day’s post. So something for you to look forward to learning about. Here are the course maps from today:
There is also an announcer for each dogs run. A few weeks before the event we were asked to fill out a questionnaire. The announcer uses that information to talk about you during your run. Things like where you are from, your dogs favorite toy, your dogs breed and age, etc. the announcer is careful to only say your dogs name right before and right after you run so not to risk being a distraction if a dog hears their name over the PA as they are on course. The announcer is a long time competitor which is nice as she personalizes it and you learn fun things about your fellow competitors and their dogs.
The other big detail about Championships is the days are long. Really long. For example zora and I ran at 10:15am and then again not until 4:30pm. We buggered out right after to go to dinner, but they were probably still running dogs at 8:30pm. Champs is a marathon not a sprint for sure.
Ok I think that’s enough nadac champs education for today. I will explain the scoring system another time. Suffice to say, today was a really great day. I’m so glad we came to champs this year! 🙂