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Talking with Cynosport Games Judge Patty Drom

Emily Snider interviews Patty to get some insights on this returning judge.


Last year, Tania Chadwick wrote these words about Cynosport World Games judge Patty Drom: "We are lucky to have Patty Drom as one of the six judges at the USDAA Cynosport Games this year.  This will by Patty's fifth appearance as a judge at the USDAA's most prestigious event."

Well, we are even luckier this year because Patty is back for appearance number six!  She has been in agility since 1986 when she started training with the Dallas Agility Working Group. Patty has a degree in biology and worked as a project manager for retail point-of-sale systems for 20 years.  She then left her corporate job and in 1995 became the owner, operator, and training director of Dallas Dog Sports, a dog training facility located in Wylie, Texas. 

ES: This will be your sixth time judging at Cynosport.  What is your favorite part of judging this event?

PD: It is such an exciting event.  Everybody has been training and trialing for a year in preparation for their runs here.  It is really a total immersion in all things agility - the competition, the camaraderie, the teamwork, the "thrill of victory" and the "agony of defeat."
 
ES: Is there anything you don't enjoy about judging this event?

PD: Not really, unless you count the somewhat exhausting miles you put on in the ring, sweating profusely underneath your black USDAA judges shirt while standing for hours in the hot Arizona sun... it's all good!
 
ES: Do you plan to judge at Cynosport next year, or will you return as a competitor with Dewley?

PD: Next year will be Dewley's first year at Cynosport.  Dewley is a two-year-old male BC, not quite ready for the challenges of this world class event.  I'm hoping we can put the finishing touches on his training during the 08/09 show season and be ready for Cynosport 2009. 
 
My first agility dog, Scooter, an English Springer Spaniel, was a finalist in the 1988 (note: this is not a typo) USDAA National Grand Prix of Dog Agility event held in Houston, Texas.  I have competed at many other USDAA Nationals/Cynosport events with my BCs Jessie and Buzz.  My, how time flies!
 
ES: What would you say is the biggest difference between the first Cynosport you judged and the one you judged last year?  Do you anticipate any further changes this year?

PD: The competition of 20 years ago is vastly different from the competition of today.  The training keeps improving as does our knowledge of the sport.   Handlers are recognizing that they need to develop their own mental and physical fitness to be competitive at the National and International level.  On the other hand, as it was 20 years ago, dogs and handlers still come together at this event to renew old friendships, watch some great agility and  see where they stack up against the competition. 
 
ES: Does it take more time and energy to design courses for Cynosport than for a regular trial, or are you pretty well-versed in course design after 17 years of judging?
 
PD: I would have to say that it does take more time and energy to come up with the courses for Cynosport. There is so much riding on the outcome that you really want it to be right.  My goal in course design for the event is first and foremost to present a course that is a test of the dogs and handlers skill at this level of the game. You have big dogs and little dogs to consider, so the course flow takes a priority on the design.  Then you have to figure out if you can move about the course easily, getting into judging positions without difficulty or impeding the handler.  Then it has to pass muster with the Dave Hanson and Tim Laubach, who do a great job reviewing all the courses for Cynosport.  The end result of the course design process should produce a course that is challenging but fun to run, watch and judge.

Subscribers can log in to read last year's interview with Patty at http://usdaa.com/sub_article.cfm?newsID=613.

Photo by Tania Chadwick.

Emily Snider has been involved with dogs since early childhood, where there was always a Golden Retriever by her side.  She now lives in the Dallas, Texas area with her two Border Collies and one Jack Russell "Terrorist".  Emily has been involved in dog agility since 2004 and funds her agility addiction by working as a Civil Engineer.

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