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Blast from the Past!

Kathy Lofthouse shares a few photos and memories from USDAA's early years.

Recently, longtime agility competitor Kathy Lofthouse unearthed some great old pictures of agility "back in the day." Kathy was generous enough to share them with the USDAA news page, along with her recollections of the times.

First photo is myself, English Shepherd Just Rufus, John Gilbert and Peter Lewis [Editor's note: these two men were among agility's first competitors; Lewis headed the United Kennel Club committee that created rules for the new dog sport they named "agility," and Gilbert edited the UK's agility magazine]. The photo was taken at the end of a seminar which was held in Scottsdale, Arizona in 1993.  As you can see, it was very windy. The red ribbon was for doing the best in the event at the end of the seminar (red is first place in England so John and Peter awarded Rufus and I with a red ribbon). The seminar was a lot of fun and several handlers who are well-known today were in attendance with their young dogs.

Photo number two is of Rufus and myself competing at an event in San Diego, California in about 1994. Jump height? Thirty inches. The judge was Darlene Woz [Editor's note: Darlene retired from judging a few years back and now runs an agility contact obstacle rubberizing company called Rubber on the Run].

Photo three is of Rufus on the cover of The Agility Voice magazine, which is the magazine for the agility club in England. I had written a letter to the editor, John Gilbert, about agility in the US and how I was pleased it was gaining in popularity. I told how we we had to drive hundreds of miles to compete a couple of times a year, that the main event in the agility calendar was the Pedigree Grand Prix of Dog Agility, and that Rufus and I had been flown to Texas to compete and were able to meet and make many good friends from all over the country. The dogwalk in the photo was built according to the then specs in use at the time and was 10" wide. It was not the greatest and it was due to this that my husband built my own dogwalk, which I loaned to the local agility club for trials. Things have improved since then and I am now about to purchase my fourth dogwalk, which will be rubberized.   

The fourth photo is of Rufus meeting Ruth Hobday during an agility seminar she gave the couple of days before a judging clinic and competition held in Placerville, California in 1992. For those who who are not aware, Ruth Hobday wrote the book series Agility Is Fun! and at the time was a top competitor in England with her working sheepdog, Heidi. It was a lovely way to spend a few days as I was able to take part with Rufus in the seminar, and attend the judging clinic as well as the competition. The judge at this competition was Darlene Woz, who was supervised by USDAA President Kenneth Tatsch.

Thank you, Kathy, for sharing these fun photos and recollections with us. Now, I know that there are others of you with photos of no-longer-used equipment and younger-looking versions of ourselves. Share your early agility memories with me at and we might use them in a future article!

Want to learn more about agility's early days? Check out the three article series called "The History of Agility" that first appeared in Clean Run Magazine and now are available on Clean Run's website. You can find those articles here:


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