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Talking with Carol Voelker

Deborah Davidson Harpur talks to the last of our judges for the 2010 Cynosport World Games (which start next week!).

Name: Carol Voelker
Hometown / Country: Little Falls, Minnesota
Years active in Agility: Since 1993

Deborah Davidson Harpur (DDH): Have you judged for the Cynosport Games in the past?

Carol Voelker (CV): Yes, 05, 06, and 08.
DDH: Are you doing anything in particular to prepare for judging the Games?

CV: Not really. Preparing for a judging assignment like I normally do, except that I don't have to worry about bringing the courses. Always feels like I'm forgetting something when I leave the house for the airport. Bag is way too light!
DDH: Do you find that designing courses for cynosport is different than designing courses for a trial for a local or regional event?

CV: Yes and no. I try to design like I normally do. However, I will let it sit a day or so, and go back to it more than once. I find that letting it sit will allow me to catch things.
DDH: What breeds of dogs do you currently have and do they compete in agility?

CV: I have a Nystka a 12-year-old Border Collie X (Heeler X Sheltie), Kynetic eight-year-old BC, Zyme three-year-old BC X Heeler, Gyza, and a two-year-old BC. They all compete except Gyza. She is not quite ready yet. Hopefully next year.

DDH: Why did you become an USDAA judge?

CV: Back in '97, I was interested in learning more about agility and its rules. A clinic was offered in Phoenix, and my grandparents were living there at the time. So it was perfect; I could attend the clinic and visit with my grandparents. I challenged myself to do the best I could, but was not pressuring myself to pass. When I passed, I wondered if this was something I really wanted to do. After doing a couple assignments I found that I really enjoyed the judging experience.

DDH: What do you think are the qualities that make a good agility judge?

CV: Organization, ability to concentrate for long periods of time, knowledge of the rules, consistency, flexibility, and a good sense of humor.

DDH: What is the biggest challenge in judging that you have experienced?

CV: Weather. You may have a very nice course, but Mother Nature has different ideas as to which way the tunnel is suppose to face, where the jumps should be placed, and what the ground and even visibility should be.

DDH: What advice can you share with competitors who hope to come through with a clean run on one of your courses?

CV: Relax, have fun and don't forget to run!

DDH: What do you enjoy most about USDAA agility?

CV: The relationship that develops with your dog, and the people you meet and the friends you make.

Come see Carol and the rest of the judges next week at the 2010 Cynosport World Games in Louisville, Kentucky!

Deborah Davidson Harpur has been active in dog agility since 1998. Before that she raced karts, was a nationally ranked driver, and was a writer/editor of Karter News Magazine, a national publication.  Since her move from racing on the track to running different breeds of dogs on the agility course, she and her dogs have really embraced all that agility offers. More about her team at

Photo by Chris Everson


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