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2012 Cynosport World Games in Review

A summary of the event. By Brenna Fender


The 2012 Cynosport World Games ran from September 26 to September 30 in Commerce City, Colorado, just outside of Denver. The show, held at Dicks Sporting Goods Park, took place on soccer fields, with three rings covered in natural grass and three in artificial turf. Surrounding grass and turf areas offered lots of space for vendors, crating areas, spectator seating, and additional activities like Lure for a Cure (a lure course for all breeds benefitting the National Canine Cancer Foundation) and dock jumping. But agility was the main draw. Competitors came from all over the world to take their shot at becoming a Cynosport champion; in addition to the many competitors who came from all over the US, handlers also traveled from Spain, Russia, Japan, Mexico, Costa Rica, Puerto Rico, Canada, Switzerland and England. Judges Sheri Boone (US), John Zhao (China), Francisco Javier Alegre Sancho Paco (Spain), Steve Croxford (England), Mark Wirant (US), Martin Gadsby (Canada), and Frank Holik (US) presided over the event.

Splash Dogs dock jumping events were popular with spectators and competitors alike at the Cynosport World Games.

The first day of competition, Wednesday, was marred by light rain, which made some of the rings too muddy. As a result, competition was delayed by two hours so that the runs could take place on dry ground. The delay didn't seem to affect the spirits of competitors or their dogs who all seemed to enjoy the cool weather. In the evening, a hard rain rendered one of the rings unusable for the rest of the event. Organizers had to reassign the classes in that ring to others, but competitors handled it well and the event continued smoothly.

A Golden Retriever takes the tire.

After Wednesday's quarterfinals, Thursday saw the beginning of Dog Agility Masters Team, Performance Versatility Pairs, and Veterans All-Around classes, as well as Performance Grand Prix Semifinals and other classes. In the Team classes, groups of three competitors ran in different Championship-level classes and their scores were added together for a Team score. In the Pairs classes, two dog-and-handler teams from the Performance Program worked together to earn a team score. Older dogs competed singly in the same classes (at lower jump heights) as part of the Veterans All-Around.

Friday's classes culminated in the evening running of the Performance Grand Prix Championships, which was a hotly contested competition. Congratulations to the 2012 Performance Grand Prix Champions: 8" Brenda Kautz and Mika (Papillon), 12" Joan Meyer and Neil (Shetland Sheepdog), 16" Jerry Simon and Tango (Border Collie), and 22" Leigh Pepper and Rapture (Border Collie). See them here.

Late Saturday afternoon, top teams in the IFCS All-Around competition after the IFCS Standard and IFCS Jumping classes ran a three-dog relay event. It was fun to see so many countries represented. On Sunday afternoon, the winners of the IFCS competition were awarded. Click here to read a list of the winners.

Saturday night's $10,000 Steeplechase and Performance Speed Jumping Championships were very exciting, particularly when there was a tie for the 26" Steeplechase Championship. A run-off between Svetlana Tumanov with Skippy and Rosanne DeMascio with Strafe was required, and the crowd was on the edge of their seats in the surrounding bleachers. When Tumanov's dog earned a fault, spectators knew that DeMascio basically only needed to go clean to win. She ran a conservative and flawless run... until one bar of the very last jump (a double) fell. Perhaps because she ran conservatively, her run was slightly slower than Tumanov's.  DeMascio and Strafe took second place, still a lofty achievement for a very young dog at his first national event. Congratulations to the 2012 Performance Speed Jumping Champions: 8" Megan Foster and Tommy (Jack Russell Terrier), 12" Joan Meyer and Neil (Shetland Sheepdog), 16" Stacy Peardot-Goudy and Wally (Border Collie), and 22 Paulena Renee Simpson and Graphite (Border Collie). See them here. Also, congratulations to the 2012 Steeplechase Champions: 12" Daneen Fox and Masher (Papillon), 16" Jen Pinder and Taser (All-American), 22"  Gabrielle Blackburn and Zing! (Border Collie), and 26" Svetlana Tumanova and Skippy (Border Collie). See them here.

Sunday at Cynosport found the main ring action-packed, starting with the Performance Versatility Pairs Relay, which, added with the rest of the PVP runs throughout the event (Standard, Gamblers, Jumpers, and Snooker), produced the new PVP Champions, Believe It! (Amber Abbott and Summer and Jubie Rueschenberg and Squeeky). The Team Relay class came next, with all three dogs from each team running a leg of the course. The Dog Agility Masters Team Champions were also crowned based on cumulative scores, and Pure Adrenaline (Mary Ellen Barry and Maizy, Jen Pinder and Britain, and Kayl McCann and Funkee Monkee) took home this honor. See the winners here.

After the Relay was complete, six junior handlers participated in the Junior Handler Spotlight, running a course in the main ring under the watch of spectators and the Cynosport live stream. Young handlers from several countries ran their dogs (some borrowed) in this non-competitive event. Read more about these handlers here.

In the early afternoon, top veteran qualifiers showed that they still had what it took to tear up an agility course in the Veterans Showcase. This was also a non-competitive event, but don't tell that to the dogs who gave it their all on course. Congratulations to all the Veterans Showcase participants: Adrienne McLean and Judy (All-American), Michael Weintraub and Sasha (Coton de Tulear), Tim Verelli and Cleopatra (Scottish Terrier), Kristin Sittner and Tika (Shetland Sheepdog), Jill Rossi and Corky (All-American), Tammi Stone and Splash (Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever), Judy Turner and Suite (Border Collie), Katrina Scott and Baby (Border Collie), Bill Pinder and Fable Border Collie, Annie DeChance and Stella (All American), Deborah Davidson Harpur and Magi (All-American), and Kellie Verrelli and MarTini (Giant Schnauzer). See them here.

Annie DeChance on course.

USDAA President Kenneth Tatsch.

Before the 25th running of the Grand Prix of Dog Agility Championships began, USDAA President Kenneth Tatsch made a few remarks about the history of USDAA, starting with his experiences seeing agility in Britain for the first time and bringing the sport back to the United States, where a group a new enthusiasts helped him build equipment and host demos. Tatsch mentioned many of the former and current competitors who helped out in those early days, including Joyce Zmek, who has attended and worked at every Grand Prix Championships event. Zmek has the honor of being one of the first winners of the Grand Prix of Dog Agility.

Then the Grand Prix Finals began, and they were very exciting. One tremendous run came from Andy Mueller and his Jack Russell Terrier, Crackers. The two poured on a no-holds-barred run that set the bar so high that no one could overtake it. In each jump height, the competitors were all top-notch, with many runs being so good that you couldnt imagine how another could top it, until someone did! For example, in the 22" class, winner Stuart Mah and Ares won over second place Mary Ellen Barry and Maizy by only .05 of a second. Congratulations to the 2012 Grand Prix of Dog Agility Champions: 12" Andy Mueller and Crackers (Jack Russell Terrier), 16" Jen Pinder and Britain (Shetland Sheepdog), 22" Stuart Mah and Ares (Border Collie), and 26" Delaney Ratner and Kelso (Border Collie). See them here.

In addition to all the great competition and fun extra activities, USDAA staff celebrated the 25th anniversary of the Grand Prix of Dog Agility and USDAA itself by offering a memorial area where competitors could check out memorabilia from agility's early years as well as a display dedicated to pioneers of the sport who have passed on. There were also dinners offered on the grounds Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights so that competitors could gather, chat, and eat after a day of agility and before a night of finals competitions.

A banner paying tribute to USDAA agility enthusiasts we have lost.

By late Sunday afternoon, the crowds were clearing and workers began packing their things. Its always sad to say goodbye to so much fun and excitement. We look forward to seeing you all next year!

All photos by Karen Moureaux, ContactPointPhotography.com.

Brenna Fender is a freelance writer and editor. An active agility competitor from the mid-90s to mid-2000s (with a dog in training now), she lives in Florida with her Whippet, Beagle, and Papillon, along with her husband and two young children. She can be reached at bfender@usdaa.com.

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