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What is "IFCS"?

An introduction to this international competition and information on how to try out for the US team by 2012 team coach Rachel Sanders.


Every two years, USDAA sends a team to compete at the International Federation of Cynological Sports (IFCS) World Agility Championships. The championships have been held every two years since 2002.

The competition is open to all types of dogs regardless of pedigree or Kennel Club affiliation. There are four height divisions: Toy, Mini, Midi, and Maxi, with three team members in each height. Teams compete for Gold in Standard Agility, Jumpers, Snooker, and Gamblers. The All Around competition is based on the combined scores of the four individual classes. The Biathlon Class combines scores from a Standard Agility and Jumpers class. The Team Triathlon event consists of Standard Agility, Jumpers, and Team Relay classes. Each country can field up to two teams for the triathlon event. Each three-member team must consist of two heights and must contain both small and large dogs in each team. One team is named a small dog team as it must contain two small dogs and one team is a large dog team as it must include two large dogs (toys and minis are small dogs, midis and maxis are large dogs). Other competitors on the national 12-member team serve as alternates that can be substituted onto the two three-dog teams.

The next championships are being held in the U.S. in 2012, with the exact location and dates still to be determined. The process for selecting the 2012 US team started on January 1 of this year. The 12-member team is selected based on the points they accrue from placements at a team selection event. There are 15 events named as team selection events or 4-Star events (seven regional events, seven local events with 4-Star status and the 2011 USDAA Cynosport Games). The points come from the four Dog Agility Masters team classes (not relay), the Grand Prix, and the two new International Handlers Challenge Classes (IHC Standard and Jumpers), plus the Steeplechase event at the Cynosport Games.

In preparation for this year's selection process, there is a new team website (www.IFCSTeamUSA.com) which acknowledges past team members as well as contains all 2012 IFCS Team related information and reports showing the points standings. A yahoo group has also been established for anyone interested in following along with the team selection process, fundraising, and the contenders for the 12 team spots. The Yahoo Group is IFCSTeamUSA2012.

Anyone interested in competing for a team spot needs to file an intent to compete form before they compete at a team selection event or at the latest by March 31, 2011. The handlers can then choose which three events (plus the 2011 Cynosport World Games) they wish to compete at for points. The make-up of the events can be one 4-Star local event and two regional events, or three regional events. Once a handler/dog has competed at an event, their points are logged into a database and can be viewed by anyone accessing the team website.

Currently there are over 70 dogs and handlers who have filed intent to compete forms, but as the March deadline approaches, I suspect there will be many more forms turned in. It is my hope that handlers will assist me by not filing them all on the last day (like I do when I enter a show!).

In the past the team members have had to finance a large portion or all of their travel and accommodation expenses. It is hoped that this year there will be enough funds raised to pay for the team members expenses and enough for a team practice prior to the event. The new IHC classes can be scheduled at local USDAA events for fundraising purposes. Clubs holding this class as a fundraiser are asked to donate between 50% -100% of the proceeds of those classes. USDAA will donate a matching percentage of its IHC class licensing fees. Information about the IHC class can be found on the USA Team Website (http://ifcsteamusa.com/news/ihc-class/) and on the USDAA website (http://www.usdaa.com/article.cfm?newsID=1645). Any money donated to the team from a club hosting an IHC class can be listed on the team website if the club contacts the team coach at IFCSteamcoach@USDAA.com with details.

Additionally, we hope to have a giant raffle at this year's Cynosport Games and hope that USDAA clubs, equipment manufacturers, and other dog-related businesses will donate raffle prizes. People will be able to purchase raffle tickets and assign where they wish to place their tickets even if they are not attending the Games in Louisville. All raffle prizes will be listed on the team website with a link to that organization's/person's website if it features information regarding the raffle prize. More information about the raffle will be available soon.

If anyone wishes to contribute to the USDAA/IFCS World Team, they can send money to the USDAA office with checks can be made payable to U.S. Association of Cynological Sports, a nonprofit corporation in support of amateur international canine sport. Please email the team coach with the donated amount to be acknowledged on the team website.

We hope to make the 2012 USDAA/IFCS World Team the best team that USDAA has ever entered in international competition. Whether you are trying for a spot on the team, supporting the team with donations and fundraisers, or cheering the team on, USDAA is grateful for your support. Keep your eyes on the web for more updates on this upcoming event.

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