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Riverside Canine's First Annual Strategy Cup

It's all about the games! By John Marcus

Its a familiar routine in between trials for the Riverside Canine Center USDAA trial organizing committee. The emails begin, "What do you think about doing this...?" The four indoor trials per year in Rhode Island are well-run, well-attended and always feature outstanding judges. There is an abundance of laughter, fun and camaraderie, some of it born out of sorrow as this New England agility community has lost more than its share of talented handlers and one-of-a-kind dogs. But there is always room for improvement, for something new and different and exciting, to get people even more amped up about coming to a USDAA trial.

Riverside Canine Center. Photo courtesy of Shannon Kelly.

This is the first year since the inception of the New England Regional Championships that Riverside will not be the host club. There was a palpable vacuum, no third ring, fancy podium, decorations, T-shirts or sponsors. It was time to add a brand new event, something that hadn't been done before. Riverside members started thinking about different options, some adapted from the long running Mid-Atlantic Agility Showcase, which features a unique triathlon with cash prizes. 

Rather than just trying to copy an existing event, the crew began to brainstorm:
"What do you think about a triathlon?" 
"We want something different, something unpredictable, that any team could have a chance of winning." 
"What about the games! We love the USDAA games." 
"A games tournament?"
"A CUP! A games cup!" 

And so the Riverside Canine Strategy Cup was conceived. The inaugural Riverside Canine Strategy Cup will be held on August 7-9, 2015, at the Wide World of Indoor Sports in North Smithfield Rhode Island.

The Strategy Cup will be made up of three rounds. Rounds one and two will consist of competitors' scores from Dog Agility Masters Team/Performance Versatility Pairs Snooker and Team/PVP Gamblers. Round three will be a special game, adapted from Bud Houston's blog, called "What's My Line." In this game, competitors will attempt to perform all the obstacles on the course as efficiently as possible without omitting or repeating any. Cash prizes and trophies (cups) will be awarded to the top three Performance and Championship competitors. All heights will compete together as time will be added to all rounds for the smaller dogs, and all who enter will be allowed to run in all three rounds.

The goal is to start a new and fun tradition where strategy and skill are rewarded and anything can happen. With cash and a cup (or six cups!). The Strategy Cups may not go to the fastest dogs, but to the handlers and dogs who know each other the best and can plan the perfect courses for themselves. With a little heart-stopping buzzer-beating luck thrown in. And a cool logo.

Want to test your ability to strategize? Come join us!

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. Learn more about his dogs, read his blog and follow Riverside Canine Center's USDAA trials on Facebook.


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