Posted Date: September 30, 2013
Part 1 in a series of interviews with judges from the upcoming 2013 Cynosport World Games.
The 2013 Cynosport World Games will be running Wednesday, October 23, through Sunday, October 27 at the Tennesee Miller Coliseum in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. The event will be judged by four judges from the United States (Scott Chamberlain, Scott Lovelis, Adrienne Lynch, and Evelyn Robertson) and two international judges (Francisco Berjon from Mexico and Bob Griffin from England). These judges will each design courses for the event but they will judge a variety of courses that are not necessarily their own.
Over the next coming weeks, we will be interviewing the judges for the big event and posting some of their courses for you to check out. First up is English judge Bob Griffin.
Bob Griffin and some of his dogs. Photo courtesy of Cyd Griffin.
Brenna Fender: Where do you live in England?
Bob Griffin: I live in a village called Indian Queens in Cornwall which is in the far South West of England.
What breeds of dogs do you currently have and do they compete in agility?
Together with my wife, Cyd, we have six Kromfohrlanders, five Border Collies, and two of their crosses. At the moment, I run two Kromfohrlanders and Cyd runs one Kromfohrlander and a Border Collie, although we both have young Border Collies in training.
How is training and trialing in England different from what you perceive it to be like in the US?
My perception is that one of the differences is that you analyze everything in far more detail than we do, both in training moves as well as course design.
I think the main thing is that in general our courses seem to be a lot tighter and more complicated than yours, particularly in the higher grades, and we only have one title, that of Agility Champion, which can only be obtained once you are in grade 7. It is possible to progress as far as Grade 4 on points but you need a lot of them so most progression is done on wins.
We only have one set of agility rules which covers all grades so the difference for each grade is in course design and course time.
How did you get involved in the sport of agility?
Having competed in obedience, breed, and working trials, it seemed like a natural progression to give agility a try in the early 80s and I have been "hooked" ever since.
Have you judged a Cynosport World Games in the past?
No, although I did judge at the Mid Atlantic Showcase in 2011, which I thoroughly enjoyed.
How did you feel when you were asked to judge this year? Was it hard to decide to do it?
I felt very honored and privileged when I was invited to judge at this year's Cynosport World Games so it was a very easy decision to accept.
Have you ever participated in the Cynosport World Games as a competitor?
What courses did you design for this year's Games?
Grand Prix and the Masters Challenge Standard.
Do you find that designing courses for Cynosport is different than designing courses for a trial for a local or regional event?
Yes. Having previously judged at major events, the most recent being Crufts this year, I realize how much handler's nerves can play a part in their performance. I try to take this into account along with the criteria of the event as well as spectator appeal.
Are you doing anything in particular to prepare for judging this year's event?
Studying the USDAA Rules and Regulations.
How would you describe your style of course design?
I like flowing courses with technical sections where changes of speed are required and where the handler will have various handling options. This not only makes it more interesting to judge but also takes into consideration the different abilities and styles of the handler/dog combinations.
What advice can you share with competitors who hope to come through with a clean run on one of your courses, at Cynosport or elsewhere?
Concentrate and stay focused for the whole course, and above all, enjoy it.
Thanks, Judge Griffin, for sharing your thoughts with us here on USDAA.com! Best wishes for safe travels to the big event.
Brenna Fender is the editor of USDAA.com, among other things. She can be reached at email@example.com. Interested in writing for USDAA.com? Let her know!