The energy was truly buzzing at the 2018 CPE nationals! Competitors came with high hopes, coordinators and volunteers came with extra jobs in addition to running their dogs, the judges came with their well-prepared courses, vendors came with hopes of selling their wares, and the dogs – they just came and didn’t quite understand why this trial had so much more excitement than the others.
By the numbers: * 800 dogs (760 on site due to attrition) *
* 500 exhibitors *
* 150+ RVs – 2nd highest number of RVs than
any event held at the fairground *
After finishing a dog agility trial at the Wellness Center in Niles, Ohio, I decided to take the dogs for a walk. We went to Mill Creek MetroParks in Youngstown, about 10 miles away. The park consists of 4,400 acres, with 15 miles of foot trails and 20 miles of road trails. The landscape includes a variety of bridges, ponds, streams, well-tended gardens, boardwalks, rugged walking paths, a huge gorge, and waterfalls.
Great footing on a turf floor, check. Well managed air conditioning, check. Spacious crating, check. Flat RV parking, check. The list goes on and >on when it comes to what agility competitors enjoy most about trial locations, and the Niles Wellness Center in Niles, Ohio has it all and then some! The facility is located on the grounds of city-owned Waddell Park, 1000 West Park Avenue, and is primarily used for soccer. Boasting 10 weekends of agility trials during non-soccer season gives you a hint that this place must be pretty special.
For Michigan agility competitors, a road often traveled is I-96 between the West and East side of the state. If you’re hungry during this drive, State Side Deli is a restaurant that will satisfy far beyond traditional fast food.
The deli and restaurant serves fresh salads, homemade soups, hot corned beef sandwiches, and breakfast anytime. I ordered a hot corned beef sandwich on gluten free bread to go, since I had dogs in the car and it was warm out that day. It came within just a few minutes, in an insulated container.
It wasn’t exactly planned that way, but the Canine Combustion Dog Agility Club (CCDAC) hosted the first AKC agility trial at the new All Dogs Can building in Lapeer, Michigan. Judging the trial held January 5-7, 2018 was Don Farage Jr. from Bartlett, Tennessee. The month following this trial, Mr. Farage judged the AKC 5th Annual Masters Agility Championship at Wesminster, so he gets around! Trial chair was Jeremy Gerhard, who likes to work the score table too. He was often found studiously adding scores into the computer.
Last weekend’s dog agility trial at Car-Dun-Al Dog Training in Huntley IL–hosted by Smack Dab Agility Club of Warrenville, IL–was another great event with several surprises. Bob Jeffers was the honorable judge, Danielle Davis was Chairperson, and Robert Olsen was Trial Secretary. Together with their club members and community volunteers, they put on a smooth-running trial.
Today finds me at an all new agility location called All Dogs Can in Lapeer, Michigan. Now this is an exciting thing! Owner Darlene Collings started construction on her new building in July, 2017 and move-in was mid December. This weekend’s AKC trial is the 2nd one they’ve held, having had a CPE trial last weekend. The building’s Grand Opening is next weekend. So yes, it’s that new.
It’s hard to imagine the size of Crown Sports in Eden, Maryland until you walk in the door. Even then, it takes a while to get one’s bearings. The front door leads you down an aisle with the agility rings on the left, and restrooms, concessions, offices, an arcade, and another ring on the right. It’s just so big!
Between each agility ring are aisles that take you to the crating side of the building. At least this is how it was set up for the four-day trial I attended September 23-26, 2017. The first 2 days were sponsored by Salisbury Kennel Club, the third day by Potomac Valley Agility Club, and the fourth day was the Golden Retriever Club of America for their National Specialty.
The farthest dog agility trial location I’ve traveled to is Yellowstone Dog Sports in Roberts, Montana. The trip was coupled with a vacation, and the trial was suggested by an agility friend and now judge, Bruce Baker. Trialing and camping there was like a dream, with mountains in the backdrop and a fresh water pond with dock diving. There was even stream for the dogs to enjoy, which was narrow enough that was great therapy for a dog walking up stream.
One of the best things about trialing at TNT in Midland, MI is its turf floor. It has just the right amount of cushioning and is oh-so-flat. As we all know, not all turf floors are created equal. I had the opportunity to chat with Lisa Lundahl, TNT’s owner, at last weekend’s trial held August 11-13, 2017. She filled me in on all the details, and I can see why TNT’s turf so great to run on!