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USDAA Message

A letter from USDAA president Kenneth Tatsch.

Looking down the road, we have two judging clinics coming upone in Maryland, July 16-19, and one near Sacramento, California, July 23-26. I hope everyone will consider these opportunities to up your game. Whether you aspire to be a judge or not, these clinics are a great way to learn what's involved in judging, from course design to interpretation of the regulations. An examination is offered at the end of the clinic for those who wish to advance themselves as judges, and those who dont wish to go through the examination are welcome to run their dogs in the match held for those applicants who are testing.

We are often asked what characteristics are necessary to be a judge. Some attributes described by past applicants and judges on their applications include having integrity, being organized, efficient, honest, confident, personable and "cool under stress." They also commented that a judge must enjoy learning and meeting new people. Of course, stamina and enthusiasm are necessities, and a touch of humility is good too. Anyone who has been running a dog certainly knows what that means. The best judges will find they are lifelong students of the game, learning from their experiences week-in and week-out.

As for why someone would like to be a judge, I can't say it any better than a couple of applicants who are now judges. One wrote, "Judging will give me the opportunity to stay active in the sport, and I feel, provide me with more insights and perspectives on the sport." Another says, "I spend most of my free time thinking about this addictive sport. So why not put some of this time to more constructive and better use designing courses and judging USDAA trials?" And a common statement among many judges: "I want to give something back to a sport I am privileged to be a part of."

Of course, for those who may have never given it a thought, consider, too, that it may help in training and performance to know what the judges know. It is all very useful information in understanding the premise of dog agility and formulating realistic expectations. I can't recall any occasion where someone, whether certified for judging or simply attending for information, didn't leave saying it was a beneficial experience. Give it some thought and mark your calendars - we look forward to welcoming you to one of these clinics.

On a separate note, I want to thank A.C.E. Agility Club for their hospitality at their 25th anniversary show last month. It was indeed a pleasure to reminisce with long-time and newer club members while watching dogs run. It was a great event on a beautiful weekend outdoors.

In that same vein, everyone will want to try to join in the festivities with Keystone Agility Club as they celebrate their 25 years as a USDAA affiliate at the upcoming Mid-Atlantic Regional Championships in June.


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