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Event Report: Riverside Canine Center of New Hampshire

A Not-Memorial-Day-Memorial-Day-Weekend trial in Rhode Island. By John Marcus.

In the summer of 2013, Riverside Canine Center trial co-chairs Val Duff, Joan Lawson, and John and Lisa Marcus were brainstorming about the four USDAA trials they host each year in Rhode Island. One result of this activity was the incentives for new competitors that are now being adopted by other clubs around the country to encourage people to try USDAA agility. These include registration discounts, mentoring, games tutorials, and special crating areas.

Local competitors Cindy and Delaney Ratner share Gamblers tips with new and experienced competitors before the general briefing on Friday morning. Photo courtesy of John Marcus.

One of Riverside's trial weekends is Memorial Day, and the co-chairs agreed that for 2014 it would be a good idea to try a Not-Memorial-Day trial Friday through Sunday. This would ease traffic concerns travelling to and from the trial and allow competitors to attend three days and have non-agility time available (*gasp*) to commemorate the holiday as they chose.

The trial was held at Wide World of Indoor Sports in North Smithfield, Rhode Island. WWIS is an indoor soccer facility easily accommodating two rings on Sprinturf with air conditioning and plenty of crating and vendor space. Masters/PIII/Veteran judge Marty Gadsby brought some outstanding courses to challenge the competitors. Starters/PI and Advanced/PII judge Michelle Du Bois had just the right attitude to put competitors at ease while testing their skills.

Judge Gadsby ring was scheduled for 540 runs on Saturday with an estimated finish time of 8:30 pm. Course builds were efficient and quick, competitors were on the line and ready, and workers rotated in before the split in the schedule so the ring didn't stop between walk-through groups. The last run finished shortly after 6:00 pm and the first course was built for Sunday morning by 6:30.

Saturday also featured an impromptu fashion show when several competitors showed up brightly attired and spontaneously shared a pack of knee socks.

High fashion! Photo courtesy of Lisa Marcus.

Saturday's Grand Prix course:

Many dogs carried a lot of speed and turned wide from jump #12 to jump #13, looked hard at the #8 seesaw, and had a hard time getting back to hit the #14 weave entry.

Sunday's Masters Challenge Standard course:

A great example of this class, offering multiple challenges with many potential handling possibilities, particularly the opening #1 through #5.

Forty dogs earned more than 50 new titles, from Starters titles to Platinum, making it a memorable Not-Memorial-Day-Weekend and the start of a great new tradition.

Riverside Canine Center is hosting the New England Regional July 11-13 in North Kingstown, Rhode Island. The event closes June 24th. Find the test schedule here.

John Marcus lives in Vermont where he and his wife, Lisa, raise and train Cavalier King Charles Spaniels for agility. He believes that fun and competition are not mutually exclusive. You can find his dogs and his blog on line at  Follow Riverside Canine Center's USDAA trials on Facebook at


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