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Ring Wise: Equipping the 2014 Cynosport World Games

John Marcus was part of the MAX 200 equipment crew at the Games, so he had an up-close look at what it takes to outfit such a large event.

Six rings. Five days. Thousands of runs. 

It takes a lot of agility equipment to support an event as large as the 2014 Cynosport World Games. It also takes a lot of work!

Al Lamphere, owner of MAX 200 Performance Dog Equipment, left Port Byron, a small village in western New York near Syracuse, with a truck and trailer on Monday October 6, 2014. Loaded in the truck and trailer were five-and-a-half rings of agility equipment meeting USDAA specifications. Six days, 2,814 miles, 11 states, and 269 gallons of diesel fuel later, on Sunday October 12, Al arrived at his destination: Morgan Hill, California. 

During the next seven days, Al and his wife Irene, co-owners of the family-owned MAX 200 business founded in 1980, provided and coordinated the set-up and maintenance of the agility equipment for the 2014 Cynosport World Games. With two additional workers, they would assemble, maintain, and move equipment; provide electronic timing equipment, including large display screens and wireless microphones for the judges; provide a timer feed to the live stream; and staff a sales booth. 

Harley Frazee with Quix using a seesaw provided by MAX 200. Photo by Karen Moureaux,

The Cynosport package Al transported across the country included all contact equipment for five rings, 90 jumps, 150 jump bars, 12 tunnels and enough spare parts to ensure the event could continue without interruption through the Grand Prix finals on Sunday. The typical day was 14 to 16 hours of work for the crew. The dark and damp pre-dawn routine consisted of setting up and checking timing equipment and helping the course builders secure, stabilize and align equipment. During the day, equipment was shuttled around the site on a golf cart and the rings were monitored for any equipment-related issues. Max 200 provided additional equipment Saturday and Sunday for the World Cynosport Rally ring and Doggie-Do-Right (Dog Agility 101), a fundraiser for a local rescue organization, A New Tail Rescue. 

On day one of the competition, a circuit board in one of the timing eyes failed and a spare was quickly brought in and set up. Several weave poles had to be replaced during the week after some hard hits, and a few of the water bags being used for stabilization had to be replaced and refilled.

One of the challenges of the event was that the facility owners did not permit the use of two-sided tape for securing weave poles. Studded tunnel and teeter holders were not permitted either. On day two of the competition, a compromise was reached and a member of the MAX 200 team spent four hours grinding the studs down on 36 tunnel huggers and five teeter holders so that they would be allowed.

Another challenge was the timing of the warm-up class. The "Power & Speed" class had an opening and closing time but used a different logic than the games that are programmed into dog agility timing systems. After some thought, Al was able to figure a way to use the timers for the class, with some instructions to the volunteers doing the timing.

MAX 200 will be providing equipment and expertise at the 2015 Cynosport World Games in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. Hopefully, before that, Al and company will get some rest after their long drive back to New York! 

Candy Gaiser with Kyna taking one of MAX 200's jumps. Photo by Karen Moureaux,

John Marcus lives in Vermont where he and his wife, Lisa, raise and train Cavalier King Charles Spaniels for agility. He believes that fun and competition are not mutually exclusive. You can find his dogs and his blog on line at Follow Riverside Canine Center's USDAA trials on Facebook.


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