The National Specialty Agility
September 26, 1997
Rohnert Park, California
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
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
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
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'
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
Agility Group Photo