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Meet the Judges! (Part 2)

Learn about the rest of the judges at this year's Cynosport World Games! By Deborah Davidson Harpur


Name: Sheri Boone
Hometown: Cincinnati, Ohio
Years active in agility: 18 years
Occupation: Realtor

Deborah Davidson Harpur: What breeds of dogs do you currently have and do they compete in agility?

Sheri Boone: Border Collie/Whippet mix (14 years old) - Retired
Jack Russell (13 years old) - Semi-retired
Cavalier (11-1/2 years old) - Semi-retired
Border Collie (6 years old) - Currently competing

How did you get involved in the sport of agility?

Tammi Stone got me involved in the sport. We were both enrolled in obedience classes at the same training center. She saw my dog and thought she would be a good agility dog.

Have you ever participated in the Cynosport Games as a competitor?

I had previously competed with my first agility dog. I have been involved at Cynosport in some capacity of working or judging for numerous years.

Have you judged for the Cynosport Games in the past?

I actually judged in the late 1990s.

What classes are you judging at this year's Games?

I am judging Grand Prix and Team Relay. I am still waiting to see which of the other classes I will also be judging.

Are you doing anything in particular to prepare for judging this year's Games?

No.

Do you find that designing courses for Cynosport is different than designing courses for a trial for a local or regional event?

No.

How would you describe your style of course design?

Flow with challenges; sometimes it makes you think.

If you could invent a new game to be played at Cynosport, what would it be and how would it be played?

I have designed two games previously played at Cynosport. One is "In and Out" and the other is "REKOONS" (Snooker played backwards).

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

Don't over analyze it. Just run it.

Photo courtesy of Sheri Boone.

Name: John Zhao
Hometown: Hangzhou, China
Years active in agility: 7
Occupation: Senior executive in human resources management in one of the global top 500 corporations in China.

 

Deborah Davidson Harpur: What breeds of dogs do you currently have and do they compete in agility?

John Zhao: Viszla; he did and he's now retired.

How did you get involved in the sport of agility?

I am one of the pioneers of this sport in China. I starting by learning from videos on the internet, and participation in one clinic conducted by Ken Tatsch in Hong Kong gave me good knowledge of the sport.

Have you ever participated in the Cynosport games as a competitor?

No.

Have you judged for the Cynosport Games in the past?

I judged for the sixth USDAA International Dog Agility Sanctioned Trials in Singapore in 2009. That trial was for selection for Master Team in the Games.

Are you doing anything in particular to prepare for judging this year's Games?

Yes. I am enhancing the level of my daily work out. I was told that the competition day will be quite long and that I need to do it for several consecutive days. [Smiles]

Do you find that designing courses for Cynosport is different than designing courses for a trial for a local or regional event?

Yes, certainly.

How would you describe your style of course design? 

Since in China we usually run in a smaller size ring, like 20 meters x 25 meters,  the design tends to have quite a few sharp turns.

If you could invent a new game to be played at Cynosport, what would it be and how would it be played?

Good question! Let me think about it. Ha ha ha.

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

Take it easy. I think my course will not be more challenging than many of the courses that you have practiced for many times. Relax and focused, you and your partner will make it.

Photo courtesy of Cen Dajing.

Name: Francisco Javier Alegre Sancho, everyone calls me Paco.
Hometown: Teruel, region of Aragon (España) Spain.
Years active in agility: 13 years, since 1999.
Occupation: I work in a regional hospital in Teruel city. I'm male nurse and my job is chief of nurses in the Radiology Department.

Deborah Davidson Harpur: What breeds of dogs do you currently have and do they compete in agility?

Francisco Javier Alegre Sancho (Paco): Two Spanish Water dogs (male and female) that are 12 years old, and a four-year-old Toy Poodle (male). The Spanish Water dogs are retired; the male (Mushu) was competing with me until 2008. The female (Lanas) was competing with my wife until 2010. Now I'm competing with the little Poodle, Athos.

How did you get involved in the sport of agility?

I was learning techniques of canine education and behavior correction with Luis Ciurana in Valencia. He has a very good canine school (with agility club) and he introduced me in the sport of agility. At that time I did not have a dog to train, so I started in agility studying and learning to be an agility judge. I was a judge before I became a competitor.

Have you ever participated in the Cynosport Games as a competitor?

Yes, I participated in 2006 with Mushu in the Performance Program and my wife [competed] in 2006 too with Lanas in Championship program. I have experience as judge before [being] a competitor in this event.

Have you judged for the Cynosport Games in the past?

Yes, I've judged [the Cynosport World Games] in 2004 and 2008, in Scottsdale (Arizona).

Are you doing anything in particular to prepare for judging this year's Games?

Not especially, only reviewing videos and designing courses and exercises. I like very much to study positions and movements of judges in courses.

Do you find that designing courses for Cynosport is different than designing courses for a trial for a local or regional event?

Well, I think when I'm designing courses for [Cynosport World Games], I'm designing courses for a big and great event, perhaps the best in world agility. In that moment I'm not designing only for me, or for some competitors and clubs in local or regional trials, I'm designing for organizers and judges, volunteers, and for a lot of competitors and spectators in a very special event. The answer is yes, I find that designing courses for Cynosport is different because this event is different from other events.

How would you describe your style of course design?

I like a course that is ample and quick, with fluidity but also including a pair of critical points, yet not very, very difficult. I don't like excessively technical courses with excessively complicated exercises that, in my opinion, generally are breaking the fluidity. Speed and fluid movements are very important for me in my courses designs. I think, in a competition, traps (for dog) and mistakes (of handlers) must be directly related with speed and position more than with difficult sequences. That is my style.

If you could invent a new game to be played at Cynosport, what would it be and how would it be played?

I've invented a new game some years ago, with copyright in Spain in 2005, and I would like very much this game to be played at Cynosport sometime. This game is named "Dedalo;" it has three sections (with a very important central part) and its performance is based in the history of Minotaur labyrinth.

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

Nothing especially; I'm sure there will be [many] clean runs. I hope the courses are fun and interesting and all competitors enjoy them.

Photo courtesy of Francisco Javier Alegre Sancho.

Name: Steve Croxford
Hometown: I live in a small village called Wigston Parva in Leicestershire, England.
Years active in agility: 27
Occupation: Professional agility trainer and agility coach, formerly the Agility Team [Great Britain] manager for 10 years. (I stepped down last year.)

Deborah Davidson Harpur: What breeds of dogs do you currently have and do they compete in agility?

Steve Croxford: Border Collies; I have one dog competing actively and my wife, Yvonne, runs three dogs (also Border Collies).

How did you get involved in the sport of agility?

I used to do motorsport. I crashed a car racing at Silverstone and didn't have enough money to repair it and pay a mortgage (and stay married!). Yvonne had been competing in agility competitions in England already for a couple of years and I just sort of fell into it.

Have you ever participated in the Cynosport games as a competitor?

I haven't been involved as a competitor, but I did judge a USDAA event in Maryland around 1998, which was a great experience for me.

Have you judged for the Cynosport Games in the past?

No.

Are you doing anything in particular to prepare for judging this year's Games?

I have been going to the gym three times a week and have put myself on a diet (yes, seriously). I have also been studying the rules and regulations to ensure I am properly prepared.

Do you find that designing courses for Cynosport is different than designing courses for a trial for a local or regional event?

No, not really, although I have never designed a Steeplechase course before so that was fun.

How would you describe your style of course design?

I like technical but flowing courses that challenge the handler and dog without necessarily expecting the handler to be an Olympic level sprinter. But, watch out, I like subtle handling problems that are not always immediately obvious.

If you could invent a new game to be played at Cynosport, what would it be and how would it be played?

I would run two dogs and handlers together on mirror image agility courses that are side by side in the same ring in a form of knock out competition (a bit like some of the skiing events I have seen at the winter Olympics). It would be fun to watch and exciting if the two dogs are approaching the finish line almost together. You could have wild card runs for teams knocked out in the first round.

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

Keep focused and enjoy the experience of running with your dog whatever happens on course; and remember you trained it!

Photo courtesy of Ann Roberts.

Meet the rest of the 2012 Cynosport World Games judges here.

Deborah Davidson Harpur has been competing in agility since 1998. She currently handles 16 dogs of various breeds including Rat Terriers, All Americans, French Bull Dogs, a Staffordshire Bull Terrier, a Shetland Sheepdog, a Border Collie and more. She enjoys competing in USDAA agility and is the proud mom of USDAA roving reporter Rickie Roo. Her dogs are all proud canine ambassadors for the Active Care line of dog food by Breeder's Choice and for ilovedogs.com, tj.la, and ilovedogsdiamonds.com. You can learn more about Deborah and her dogs at pm2dogagility.com.

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