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Relaxing on the River

Cynosport competitors, USDAA staff members, and workers joined together for a dinner aboard the Belle of Louisville. By Brenna Fender

Approximately 200 competitors made sure not to miss the boat Wednesday night for USDAA's annual dinner event at the Cynosport World Games. Last year's event took place at Churchill Downs, but this time competitors climbed aboard the historic Belle of Louisville for a relaxing two-hour trip on the Ohio river.

When competitors arrived they were treated to a buffet dinner with lots of delicious choices. USDAA President Kenneth Tatsch welcomed competitors to the Games and explained that each table's centerpiece, a replica of a steamboat with a Cynosport plaque on it, would go to a lucky participant at each table who had a note taped under his or her seat. There was lots of cheering as competitors learned who would go home with this nifty keepsake.

After dinner and dessert, most competitors went to the upper deck to enjoy the lovely weather and sights, as well as to chat with other competitors from all over the country (and world). They got the chance to talk about their lives, dogs, and the event so far in a relaxed atmosphere. Along with competitors, USDAA's Tatsch, Andy Hartman, Heather Smith, Tev Brannan, Merlene Stiles, and Brenna Fender were all present, as were many workers and volunteers, like Tom Kula and Helen McNenly.

Competitors were very positive about how this year's Games are going so far. "It's fun! We're enjoying it," said Linda Womer, VMD, who came from Gilbertsville, Pennsylvania with her Papillons. Barbara Silverstein, who traveled from Gibbsboro, New Jersey with her Italian Greyhound, Deuce, for the event, said, "It's running a lot smoother than last year. Everything is starting on time. It's all coming together. Everybody is helpful and pleasant. The judges are making everybody comfortable." Although Cynosport may not be perfect, Silverstein said, "I've heard a lot of comments about how USDAA is listening to people and making positive changes."

One of the topics of conversation on the Belle was the courses of the day. Annie DeChance, who ran her mixed breed, Stella, said, "I thought both courses were excellent. They were fun to watch. They were technically challenging but still gave dogs the chance to open up. Gamblers was particularly interesting because you had just 28 seconds. It put a new spin on things."  Silverstein said she felt there was a lot of misunderstanding about the the directions for Gamblers at the start of the day, although her dog did quite well.

As the boat ride came to a close, competitors had the chance to check out and purchase photos taken of them in front of the Belle of Louisville. All-in-all, it was a great night under a beautiful moon with lots of fun friends!

Photo by Karen Moureaux,


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