1997 AKC National Agility Championship Trial

Photo by Dana Pike

The Beardie Results

Jerry Bergen's Account of the Nationals

The 1997 AKC National Agility Championship Trial held in Chicago is now recorded history. This was the second annual AKC Championship Trial, and this year it was limited to 200 dogs. Only those agility dogs that had earned a minimum of three Master Agility (MX) Legs with perfect scores of 100 were selected. The Trial was held October 11th and 12th in McCormack Place East, a large exhibition hall with its floor covered with sod in the area of the two rings. The Ramada Inn on South Lakeshore Drive served as the host hotel.

Three beardies were entered in this prestigious trial; Tasha (Meadow's Fantasia CD, AX) handled by Antoinette Krafcheck, Mikie (Ch. Holm Mike L. Doglas MX, HC, CGC) handled by Charles Gibson and Breezy (Ch. Baliwyn's Precious Friend CD, TD, MX, HC, CGC) handled by Jerry Bergen. My wife, Lu, and I had not previously met Antoinette and Charles. Beth Canner (BCCA Agility Chairperson) and her husband, Rick, who were timing and scribing at the trial had not met any of us before either. We had a good time getting to know each other at the welcoming reception at the host hotel and later letting the beardies get to know each other at the trial site. It was Charles wearing his BAD T shirt at the reception that brought us all together. Beardie camaraderie was very evident as the 3 beardie handlers wore their BAD T's at the trial with Beth and Rick taking many photos and videos.

As expected the level of competition at this trial was very high. We had the opportunity to watch the performances of the stars of canine agility; Nancy Gyes, Linda Mecklenburg, Stuart Mah - all handling Border Collies, and Jane Simmons-Moake handling a Golden Retriever. The AKC changed the rules that apply at regular trials to make this National Championship even more competitive; i.e., more difficult to get a qualifying score of 85 or higher. The Standard Course Times (SCT) for the regular runs were 5 seconds less than at a regular trial - each second over the SCT is a 3 point deduction. The normal 5 point deduction for an off-course was made an 18 point deduction resulting in an automatic non-qualifying score. Also, an 18 point deduction was applied to knocked jump bars, refusals and run-bys. The final placements for each height class would be based on the cumulative scores of four rounds (runs) - two on each day. Tasha and Breezy run in the 20 inch class and Mikie in the 24 inch class.

It was obvious that this was not going to be easy for the 3 beardie teams or anyone else. And it wasn't!

Saturday, Oct. 11th
FIRST ROUND (Regular Run)
Tasha and Antoinette - Score 100, Time 59:31 QUALIFYING SCORE
Mikie and Charles - Score 70, Time 64:00
Breezy and Jerry - Score 34, Time 76:18
SECOND ROUND (Regular Run)
Tasha and Antoinette - Score 82, Time 59:66
Mikie and Charles - Score 61, Time 67:88
Breezy and Jerry - Score 76, Time 68:06
Sunday, Oct. 12th
THIRD ROUND (Jumps with Weaves)
Tasha and Antoinette - Score 55, Time 53:00
Mikie and Charles - Score 88, Time 48:78 QUALIFYING SCORE
Breezy and Jerry - Score 64, Time 50:97
FORTH ROUND (Regular Run)
Tasha and Antoinette - Score 47, Time 75:51
Mikie and Charles - Score 73, Time 67:72
Breezy and Jerry - Score 88, Time 65:59 QUALIFYING SCORE

Tasha and Antoinette - 23rd of 46 in 20 inch Class
Mikie and Charles - 31st of 62 in 24" Class
Breezy and Jerry - 31st of 46 in 20" Class

OVERALL SCORES (higher is better - 400 maximum) AND TIMES (Lower is better)
Tasha and Antoinette - Score 284, Time 247:48 sec
Mikie and Charles - Score 292, Time 248:38 sec
Breezy and Jerry - Score 262, Time 257:80 sec

As a comparison, the 20"1st Place was a Border Collie with a 400 score and 186:26 time. The 24" 1st Place was a Golden Retriever with a 400 score and 177:43 time.

Antoinette and Tasha get a HUGE CONGRATULATIONS for getting the only beardie perfect score and the only two beardie runs under SCT. Antoinette and Tasha's perfect run also earned them their 7th MX Leg. None of the beardie qualifying runs earned a placement. The type of faults incurred by the beardies varied. Tasha and Breezy both interrupted the table count causing time faults. Other faults that caused 18 point deductions were Tasha missing a contact, Tasha and Mikie each knocking off a jump bar and Breezy running a wrong course and having a refusal - popping back out of a tunnel making the crowd laugh but not the handler. Some of the 'stars' also had non-qualifying runs, but you had to look fast to see them.

Though none of the beardie handlers had admitted it to each other, I'm sure we were all disappointed that we hadn't done better. However, we should be comforted by knowing that just having been eligible to enter is a great accomplishment. We were also comforted by each having earned one green qualifying ribbon - many exhibitors had not.

Hopefully, we will meet again at the1998 National Championship Trial accompanied by many more beardie teams.

Jerry Bergen
White River Jct., Vermont

[AKC Nationals '97]

Off to a BAD Starrt

Bad Attitude