Posted Date: October 9, 2013
Part 2 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 too for you to check out. The judges have shared courses with us as well so that you can see their design style. The spotlight today is on Scott Lovelis.
Brenna Fender: What breeds of dogs do you currently have and do they compete in agility?
Scott Lovelis: Australian Shepherds - yes!
How did you get involved in the sport of agility?
We got our first Aussie and had her with us at a race track event. Someone saw her and said that we should get involved in this "new" dog sport, and that she would give us her trainer's phone number. We had seen a couple of agility demos and really liked what we saw, so we made the call. The rest, as they say, is history.
This is the first time you've judged for the Cynosport Games. How did you feel when you were asked to judge this year? Was it hard to decide to do it?
This is my first time at bat, and like any rookie that is called up to the big show, I was excited and scared at the same time. We all think that judging Cynosports is a huge honor, but that comes with a huge responsibility. We have to make the correct call in a split second, for each and every dog that we judge. People spend a great amount of time, energy and money to get to Cynosport, so we need to make sure we are doing our best and give them the time, energy and focus that they deserve.
Have you ever participated in the Cynosport World Games as a competitor?
My wife Tracy and I competed in Del Mar, California in 2000 and 2001, and every year that it was in Scottsdale, Arizona.
Do you find that your experience at the event gives you any special insight into judging the event?
Not really. I remember how some days we waited all day to do a run, but as a judge, I will be out there the whole time!
What courses did you design for this year's Games?
I believe that I designed a Team Jumpers, a Team Relay, and a Grand Prix. We kind of design by committee. We don't know which courses will be used until we get there.
Do you find that designing courses for Cynosport is different than designing courses for a trial for a local or regional event?
The challenges are the same, and I tried to design courses that are worthy of the best dog and handler teams. But, you also don't want to raise the bar so high that you crush those teams that may be playing for the first time. I also tried to make my judging path efficient so I am not doing 40,000 steps everyday!
Are you doing anything in particular to prepare for judging this year's event?
Trying to shed those extra pounds, and do some cardio work for stamina.
How would you describe your style of course design?
I have had my courses described as "deceptively simple." They look and walk easily enough, but at speed, things kind of pop up that the handler did not quite notice while walking. I like to see the big dogs extend and run, so speed usually brings on the necessity for extra handling.
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?
Don't over-think it and have fun! It sounds a little over-simplified, but I don't really throw in tough, compound challenges, so a simpler line or an extra step will go a long way. Step to the line, take a deep breath while looking around the ring, smile, and revel in the fact that you and your dog are running at Cynosport, and it doesn't get any better than that.
Check out some of Scott's recent courses:
Photo courtesy of Photography by M.