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West Valley Dog Sports Celebrates 25 Years

West Valley Dog Sports celebrated it's 25th anniversary on July 12th! By Annie Dechance

On July 12-13, West Valley Dog Sports celebrated their 25th anniversary of holding USDAA events! The weather was perfect for the celebration in Camarillo, California, and nearly 180 dogs participated in the festivities. 

Two of the group's original members, Kathy Lofthouse and Clydine Crowder, are still competing and attended the event. Two other original members, Karen Moureaux and Sharon Kihara, are still involved in dog agility but were unable to attend this year. 

Kathy Lofthouse and her dogs.

During the general briefing, before competition started, an announcement was made congratulating West Valley on their accomplishment. An anniversary cake arrived just in time for an afternoon sugar fix, along with a surprise for competitors.

The cake was delicious and pretty!

After Round 1 of the Steeplechase qualifier was complete, competitors gathered around the hospitality tent to see USDAA President Kenneth Tatsch, cut the cake. He displayed some of the original paperwork from West Valley's first trial.

Paperwork from the first West Valley trial, including the handwritten course, accumulator score sheet, competitor list, and more.

A close-up view of the courses, which were reversals of each other. Note that the numbers are not necessarily on the approach side of the obstacles. It was assumed that the dogs would take them "in flow."

Tatsch provided some interesting statistics:
  • Only three jump heights were offered: 12", 21" and 30"
  • All three jump heights competed against each other
  • Only a Grand Prix course was offered and it consisted of two rounds; competitors needed 20 faults or less to qualify
  • The course had 12 obstacles, was 125 yards and the standard course time was 60 seconds; both courses were something less than a figure of "8".
  • Winning score was 12.60 faults. 
  • 19 different breeds competed; the three most popular breeds were Rottweilers, English Springer Spaniels and Shetland Sheepdogs
  • No Border Collies were entered
  • The results from the first trial were first place, Sandy Moore and Graf (30"); second place Scott Brown and Magik (21"); and third place Carol Roe and Rainie (21").
Ken Tatsch and Trial Secretary Jan Olson are shown here discussing the paperwork from the first trial.

There were other celebrations during the event too. On Saturday, two competitors earned their ADCH titles: Eileen Hawthorn with Dazzle and Evy Criswell with Drew. What a great way to help celebrate a silver anniversary!

Eileen Hawthorn with Dazzle.
Evy Criswell and Drew, along with judge Candy Gaiser and USDAA President Ken Tatsch.

Hard working volunteers Linda Smith, Doug Hansford, and Maureen Scheall. 

Congratulations again to West Valley Dog Sports! We look forward to celebrating more milestone anniversaries with you and other "pioneers of agility" who help shape our great sport.

Check back later when Kathy Lofthouse will provide a more detailed history of how West Valley Dog Sports got its start!

Annie DeChance has been competing in agility with various mixed breed dogs for over 18 years. She is Communications Director for USDAA and can be reached at or 972-487-2200, ext. 108.

All photos courtesy of Annie DeChance.


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