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USDAA Loses Friend and Supporter Bill McGilvray

Agility community shocked with news of tragic auto accident.


The agility community was shocked and saddened by the passing of Bill McGilvray of Action K-9 Sports Equipment Co., in a car accident on March 23 in Southern California. Bill was a partner with his father Duncan McGilvray at Action K-9. Both Duncan and Bill have have been long time friends and supporters of the United States Dog Agility Association.

Though Duncan was the more visible of the two, you could say that Bill was the driving force behind the scenes at Action K-9, where he was in charge of scheduling and manufacturing. Action K-9's deserved reputation as a maker of high quality agility equipment was due in large part to Bill's talent as a welder and fabricator.

Bill also competed in agility, with his dog, Casey, who was the official tester of the equipment they built. Bill's father, Duncan, said that though Bill was a private and quiet person, he was also very caring, taking two young men with limited opportunities open to them under his wing and teaching them the skills that allow them to make a living as part of the Action K-9 family.

USDAA President Kenneth Tatsch recalled the first time of their meeting in Los Angeles at a West Valley Dog Sports' event almost 15 years ago, when Duncan and Bill showed up to erect a prototype set of equipment in the parking lot, seeking to gain USDAA approval. "Bill was full of pride and enthusiasm, walking across the dog walk himself to assure me of its safety. That was just the beginning. Within a matter of days, Duncan and Bill had incorporated design elements I had requested to address safety and functional concerns. They earned our respect and got the approval they sought." Recalling a more recent encounter, "At our last meeting in 2003, Bill boarded a plane for Dallas to help with assembly of exhibition equipment for the Summer Combined military demonstrations held in conjunction with the Grand Prix World Championships. This was a special set of equipment designed by Action K-9 from the ground floor, using some scant specifications received from Europe. This was the first time such equipment had been manufactured by outside interests, so it offered some unique challenges. Once assembled and tested by the European sport's champions who came to Dallas from Russia to perform the exhibitions, they were elated, saying, 'It is the best equipment for our sport in the world.' Bill was excited to see his creation put to use for the very first time as the champions hurled themselves over the 6' wall and across the various ramps. Bill's focus on detail in his work and and enthusiasm for dogs is exemplary of what it takes to get ahead in anything, whether business or sport, and he will be missed by all of us in the dog sporting community."

The USDAA community extends its deepest sympathy and condolences to Duncan, his wife, Vee, and daughter, Wendee.

Elements of this article contributed by Jim Basic.

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