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Meet the Judges: Evelyn Robertson

Part 3 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 week, we will be interviewing the judges for the big event. The judges have shared courses with us as well so that you can see their design style. The spotlight today is on Evelyn Robertson. 

Photo courtesy of Joe Camp.

Brenna Fender: What breeds of dogs do you currently have and do they compete in agility?

Evelyn Robertson: I have two Border Collies, and both are competing in agility. My younger dog is 4 1/2, competing in Championship 26" and my older dog is 12 and now competing in Performance 16". I am trying to remember that at 12 years old, she does not need to enter every available class. 

How did you get involved in the sport of agility?

I started in agility with my first Australian Shepherd. We went as far as I could in obedience (ASCA CD) and herding did not work out for us, so I was looking for something for us to do. Agility was the answer.

You've judged at the Cynosport World Games before. How does that impact your plans to judge this time? Will you do anything differently?

I judged in 2011, the second year that Cynosport was in Kentucky. I decided to return because, well, I was asked! And it's not as likely that I would attend with my dogs in Tennessee, since I live in Seattle. It's an honor to be asked at all, and an honor to be asked more than once! Regarding plans to judge this time (versus last time): Relax more, and work even harder! But I don't think I will do anything really differently, just do the best job I can and have a good time as well. And try to keep the stress levels low wherever I am judging. I found the trial committee very supportive.

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

I have competed several times at Cynosport, with four different dogs, in California, Arizona, and Colorado. The insight I have from being a competitor is to try to make everything as consistent as possible in any class that is judged in more than one ring. And seriously, walking all the courses in the morning and running them later is not as hard as many people think it might be.

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?

This year, I was asked to design Team Snooker and a Grand Prix. 

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

Yes and no. For Team courses, I think it should be about the same. Give people options in the strategy courses so they can decide what works best for them. For Grand Prix and Steeplechase, they need to be fast and flowing, but not easy. And I need to be very comfortable with getting where I need to in order to judge consistently and fairly. And you'd better like your course, because you will be judging it all day long.

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

Just trying to keep on my toes in regular judging assignments, watching other judges work (for informational purposes, not a critique), and trying to watch as many dogs as possible to keep my eye trained.

How would you describe your style of course design?

It is often described as "fun but challenging" or "challenging but fun." I love it when people say they want to set a course up at home or at class. I try for good flow and moves that I think would be fun to do with my dogs.

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?

Trust your dog, support your dog's path, don't take anything for granted. Bribery is strongly encouraged! It won't help you, but it's still encouraged [she laughs].

Check out one of Evelyn's courses here and two more, from the 2011 Cynosport World Games, below.


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