The National Specialty Agility Trial

September 26, 1997

Rohnert Park, California

Specialty Agility Chair, Kathy Pavlich and Fallon

Libby Myers-Buhite - National Specialty Agility Committee

The morning of our National Specialty Agility Trials dawned bright, with blue sky and sun showing through the cloud breaks and a light breeze making things comfortably cool on the front lawn of the Double Tree Hotel. Our committee chair, Kathy Pavlich, had everything organized and will be especially remembered for her sensational Beardie Jumps, which she designed and built herself. Blacks, blues, browns, and fawns were all represented. Each consisted of two Beardies wreathed in grape vines (wings) which held up a giant bone also painted in grape motifs (the cross bar) These jumps remained at the corners of the Breed Ring throughout the Specialty. Committee member Beth White's lovely grape motif cloths and drapes also remained on the Judging Table throughout.

The committee itself came fully prepared for the trial. Most are active with their local all-breed and performance clubs and had experience in hosting agility trials. However, we wanted the experience of working closely together. So, in August we attended a
Workshop with Nancy Gyes and hosted a Sanctioned "A" Trial as members of the Northern California Bearded Collie Fanciers. Kathy Pavlich and Libby Myers-Buhite were in touch with Sharon Anderson of AKC to make sure that everything would be totally correct and took care of the organization and paper work for both the "A" Trial and the Specialty. Iris Berry and Beth White worked closely with Judge Tammy Wiebe, perfecting their scribe skills. It is the scribes who are responsible for interpreting the Judge's hand signals and writing down the scoring during a run, a difficult task. Jack Buhite focused on course building. Sharon Prassa, Beth Tilson, Pam Harris, Jana Dozet, Mary Edner, and Pat Palozzola all participated in the various tasks. As a result, the specialty Trials went flawlessly, joyously, and swiftly and our Judge, Tammy Wiebe, and all participants were truly delighted with the whole event. We especially appreciated the many who volunteered in advance to help work at the trial and the many more who offered on the spot with stewarding, course building and pole setting.

Twenty nine Beardie participants gathered with their twenty four handlers, most of whom, as well as many at ringside, were decked out in their colorful Beardie Agility Diehards (BAD) T-shirts, designed by Gretchen Blackburn of Austin TX. Four Beardies (Iris Berry's
Spiff, Sharon Prassa's Annie, Eileen Dinneen's DeLorean, and Joanne Williamson's Corey) were entered in Excellent and had beautiful runs, which I was privileged to see on Jim Cooper's video. (At the event, itself, my head was buried in the score sheets, as recorder for the Trial.) None, however, qualified. As those who have competed at Excellent know, a slight hesitation, a spin at the wrong moment, a run-by, or refusal, not to mention the dreaded fly-off of contacts or pop-outs from tunnels or weaves can cause instant elimination.

The five Open Beardies (Jack Buhite's
Skyedance and Caper, Pam Harris' Amber, Jana Dozet's Shelby, and Joanne Williamson's Rob) were also delightful to watch, though none qualified. Hopefully many of you have ordered Mazie Blank's complete Video of the event so you can see how well they did. Of these, three were making their debut at the Open level and had to contend with the nasty weave poles, a stumbling block for several.

The Novice level is split between A and B. Novice B means that the handler has titled with another dog or that the dog itself has already titled, either in AKC or in another organization. Novice A means that this is a beginning handler. Of the twenty nine Beardies, twenty were in Novice and, as at last year's Specialty, the Novices took the day with three firsts, two seconds, and a third in the Titling classes. Joanne Williamson's
Sean placed first in Novice B with a score of 100 and a time of 44.60' out of the 75' Course Time. Beth White's Mirage placed second, also with a score of 100 and a time of 53.66', earning her Novice title. In Novice A, Mary Lott's Patsch took first place in the 24" division with a score of 100 and a time of 45.61'. It is also Patsch who went on to a High in Trial at the herding event! In the Novice A 20" division, Linda Glaman took first with Sagan, also with a perfect score of 100 and a time of 45.91'. Christiana Taylor took 2nd with Jake with a score of 95 and a time of 53.35' and Beth Tilson took 3rd with Miles, also with a score of 95 and a time of 63.66'. A huge congratulations to these fine Novices! It is always fun to watch the Novices run, since many are just starting out and this may be their first run, ever. To the brave, bravo!

Following the Titling classes, we did "Jumps with Weaves", a new AKC agility "game", which will be a Titling course beginning on 1 January 1998. This game favors the fast dog, since there are no contact obstacles to slow the course down. Twenty six participated in this event and eight qualified and placed. Placements are based on speed and maneuverability. A knocked bar or an off course is an elimination. Handlers have to work hard on not getting lost and getting their commands out on time around the many tight curves in this type of course, composed entirely of jumps, tires, weave poles and tunnels. Here the Excellent and Open Beardies excelled. Surprisingly, of the eight who qualified, seven are from California, Oregon and Nevada. Does this mean that the West has a monopoly on Bouncing Beardies? Trophies were awarded to the qualifiers in Excellent, Open, Novice B, and Novice A, irrespective of jump height. In Excellent, Iris Berry's
Spiff was first and Sharon Prassa's Annie was second. In Open, Jack Buhite's Skyedance was first and Pam Harris' Amber was second. In Novice B, Beth White's Mirage was first and Joanne Williamson's Sean was second. In Novice A, Cindy Nellipowitz' Risky was first and Bobbie Bokelund's Ashley was second. Yes, Novices have to be able to do weaves and these did splendidly!

A great time was had by all and each participant received a beautiful cookie cutter with poppy seed/almond cookies shaped like our black Beardies and gingerbread cookies shaped like our brown Beardies, thanks to Joanne Williamson who offered the prizes, to Bridget Howell who sent them, and Libby Myers-Buhite who baked the cookies. Each Beardie received a squeeky toy from the hosting committee, thanks to Beth White. Our Judge, Tammy Wiebe, was given a BAD T-shirt, much to her delight! Rumors are that she might be getting a Beardie, now that she has worked with all of ours and their outstanding handlers! Again, many thanks to those who planned, hosted, and worked, and to those who came to support and enjoy!

Beardie Bulletin Article, November 1997

National Specialty Agility Group Photo

BCCA National Specialty Agility Trial 1997

BAD Times at the Specialty-Photos

NCBCF Members at the Specialty