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Haute TRACS 4-day Trial is Huge... Huge Fun! by Karey Krauter

The atmosphere was that of a holiday sleep-over: 430 dogs entered, 60 DAM teams, over 5000 runs, four rings and judges, over 100 RV's camping literally ringside, all under perfect Northern California springtime blue skies.


Congratulations to Haute Dawgs and Two Rivers Agility Club of Sacramento (TRACS) on successfully hosting the first ever 4-day combined Haute TRACS USDAA trial, this recent April 14-17 weekend! The 4-day show was born out of the collision of AKC and USDAA trial weekends at the Dixon May Fairgrounds, in which TRACS conceded their regular USDAA weekend to the local AKC club and opted to join forces with Haute Dawgs on the following Haute Dawgs' regular USDAA weekend.

Thursday and Friday were like a little self-contained 2-day show with a full slate of classes and a DAM Team tournament. Saturday and Sunday held another full slate of classes plus a local Grand Prix and a Steeplechase. Anyone entering a dog in everything all four days ran in 19 classes total! All of the tournament classes had parallel performance program options, so everyone got to join in the fun. The atmosphere was that of a holiday sleep over camper party: 430 dogs entered, 60 DAM teams, over 5000 runs for the weekend, four rings and four judges, over 100 RV's camping literally ringside, all under perfect Northern California springtime blue skies.

Our masters and tournament judges Dan Dege and Tim Verrelli each had on the order of 500 runs per day to judge, so we got them off to an early start each day and they ran efficiently and tirelessly until dinner time. Fault limits only had to be imposed on Saturday which was the heaviest day holding both the Steeplechase and Grand Prix side by side. There were 102 22" dogs in the Steeplechase alone. Our Advanced and Starters judges Mike Wagner and Kellie Verrelli concluded their rings in half the time of the other rings, which allowed Mike to even get to run his dog in some masters classes and Kellie was a trooper at the score table while her husband judged.

Dan's courses seemed to have a recurring theme of threadling between jumps after 180'ing over them. His Thursday Masters Gamblers course garnered particular attention, with only eight dogs qualifying out of a masters class of 160 dogs. Those eight made it look easy, though! And what is it that our Canadian brethren do different from us that all our entrants from north of the border (three of them) were amongst the Q's?

The gamble had two primary challenges, with our best dogs falling short on the second element of the gambleafter passing the initial one, as spectators held their breaths hopefully. The first challenge element was sending the dog straight ahead out of the first pipe tunnel into a second curved tunnel entry without having the dog curl into the handler (and hence look directly into the wrong tunnel entry). The second element was to keep the dog out of the surrounding four possible off course tunnel entries and instead push out to a jump. Once out of the "tunnel farm", the final "challenge" was a home stretch for the dog to return back towards the handler.

The positioning of the dogwalk into the middle of the gamble forced handlers to make a choice from which side of the dogwalk to handle the gamble. If a handler stayed outside the dogwalk, they had greater challenge handling the entry into the second tunnel, particularly because the gamble line essentially forced you to be on the side of the initial tunnel entry you didn't want the dog to curl towards. If a handler stayed inside the dogwalk, they were closer to the second tunnel entry, but were seemingly a million miles away from the final two jumps, with very little maneuvering room. So one might say the name of the game was, "Pick your Poison".

Judge Dege made the following comments, which are included here in their entirety because one can never get too much info on what goes on in the mind of the Judge!

Judge Dege made the following comments, which are included here in their entirety because one can never get too much info on what goes on in the mind of the Judge!

"I like to design gambles that make someone think and that are not just about speed. The way it was set up allowed for two different handling positions each with it's pro's and con's. the way someone approached the gamble had a big influence on whether they had a good shot at getting the second tunnel since dogs "curl" toward where they last saw the handler. The gamble line right up next to the tunnel was on purpose, and I knew the approach would be difficult but not impossible. The guy from Canada was the first to figure it out, and I was very happy to see a Lab get it as well, since I don't think just BC's should be able to get the gamble. I was very surprised that more dogs didn't hit the proper opening of the tunnel though. I figured if I pointed a straight tunnel directly at the proper opening of the next tunnel it would help negate the "curl". Many dogs just gave up after going through the first tunnel and turned around and went back into the same tunnel, I attribute this to lack of drive out of a tunnel and thus more training or a better approach is needed. "

"The second part of that gamble was the 'push' after the second tunnel out to jump #3. This I thought would have been the more difficult maneuver since the dog needed to push away from all 4 tunnel openings. AS we know a lot of dogs returned to the handler via the 1st tunnel. I personally would have dropped my dog after tunnel 2 (assuming I would have gotten the proper opening of #2) this helps to clear the brain and then redirect out to jump #3. This would have stopped the quick and instinctual drive into tunnels and get back to mom or dad post haste kind of behavior. It would not be a refusal since they dog didn't see the next obstacle and it certainly isn't training in the ring since all you are trying to do is complete the gamble."

In summary, Dege expressed, "It was interesting, though, hearing competitors before the gamble say, "It's only tunnels and jumps - just like a novice gamble."

The top placing DAM teams were:

1. Fourward Bound (Lynneia Holladay/Kalua, BC, Carole Mann/Pete, BC, Sue Marshall/Sassy, BC)
2. 3R's (Lisa Dewey/Rush, BC, Stacy Peardot/Rumor, BC, Terry Simons/Reveille, BC)
3. BRATS (David Skovak/Dan, BC, Tammy Langer/Coty, BC, Greg Leal/Tala, BC)
4. Spy's Wicked on the Trigger (Jim Basic/Spy, BC, Ann Croft/Trigger, BC, Nancy Gyes/Wicked, BC)

The performance alternative to the DAM Team tourney was the Performance Pentathlon Pairs. These were pairs rather than trios because performance trios are just too hard to form. The top placing Pentathalon teams were:

1. Wired for Sound (Sarah Johnson/Cruiser, BC, Candy Gaiser/Wog, Foxhound)
2. The Play Police (Pam Richcreek/Petey, Sheltie, Kathie Leggett/Heather, Sheltie)
3. Pay the Piper and Hoagy Will Run (Kim Collins/Piper, Sheltie, Ken Hynes/Hoagy, BC)
4. Big Cheese Little Cracker (Jackie Slater/Keeper, BC, Linda Greene/Colby, GSD)

The winners of the Grand Prix were:
26" 1. Ann Croft/Trigger, BC, 2. Lisa Bowers/Slick, BC, 3. Nancy Gyes/Panic, BC.
22" 1. Sharon Freilich/Rip, BC, 2. Rachel Sanders/Fable, BC, 3. Lynneia Holladay/Kahlua, BC.
16" 1. Nicole Carazo/Lilu, ACD, 2. Susan Anderson/Jenny, sheltie, 3. Moe Strenfel/Jitters, mini aussie.
12" 1. Kimberly Sisak/Pheobe, papillon, 2. Greg Louganis/Dobby, JRT, 3. Lorrayne Bailey/Molly, papillon.

The winners of the National Performance Championship were:

22" 1. Jim Basic/Swift, BC, 2. Erika Maurer/Chase, aussie, 3. Kathy Van Der Maaten/Buddie, BC.
16" 1. Ken Hynes/Hoagy, BC, 2. Peter Vollmer/Cole, sheltie, 3. Anne Croft/Caper, BC.
12" 1. Melissa Henning/Donnay, sheltie, 2. Kathie Leggett/Heather, sheltie, 3. Barb White/Dexter, sheltie.
08" 1. Rachel Sanders/Trump, JRT, 2. Lorrayne Bailey/Chili, papillon, 3. Gail Mahood/Flint, corgi.

The Winners of the Steeplechase were:

26" 1. Nancy Gyes/Panic, BC, 2. Stacy Peardot/Able, BC, 3. Anne Croft/Trigger, BC.
22" 1. Debbie Berkley/Ricki, BC, 2. Shannon Miller/Vixen, BC, 3. Nancy Gyes/Riot, BC.
16" Rebecca Cheek/Nicholas, sheltie, 2. Cindy Glantz/Jagger, sheltie, 3. Stephen Carazo/Axle, ACD.
12" 1. Kimberly Sisak/Pheobe, papillon, 2. Nancy Jones/Pip, toy fox terrier, 3. Jeanne Nixon/Brandy, JRT.

The winners of the parallel two-round performance Leap'n'Chase were:

22" 1. Candy Gaiser/Wog, Foxhound, 2. Anne Kajava/Olav, Beardie, 3. Nancy Campanile/Tucker, Lab.
16" 1. Peter Vollmer/Cole, Sheltie, 2. Todd Benson/Kira, BeagleX, 3. Kevin Gast/Sam, sheltie.
12" 1. Kathie Leggett/Heather, sheltie, 2. Melissa Henning/Donnay, sheltie, 3. Barb White/Quincy, PRT.
08" 1. Lorrayne Bailey/Chili, papillon, 2. Arlene Watson/Scully, All American, 3. Nadine Harmon/Bree, pomeranian.

Titles of note earned (photo by Doghousearts.com):
ADCH - Cheri Scannell and BC Risk with Saturday's gamble.
ADCH - Stephen Carazo and ACD Axle who came into the weekend needing two standards.
ADCH - Susan Rapillus and Sheltie Fritz running dead last in Sunday's Snooker and needing a SQ.
ADCH - Tracy Sirbello and Kelpie Zelda with Saturday's gamble.
APD - Justin Bradley and aussie Rusty with the Saturday's gamble.
LAA-Bronze - Sandy Rogers and BC Brink.
LAA-Gold - Nancy Gyes and BC Wicked.
LAA-Silver - Rob Michalski and BC Hobbes.

The management of Haute TRACS is already planning an encore 4-day USDAA event next year; mark your calendars!

New ADCH's and APD's at Haute TRACS trial

Ediitor's Note: Complete show results of placement winners, qualifiers and their scores will appear in the "Results" section of the Subscriber Services area.

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