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Pioneers of Agility - Cheryl and Ron Pitkin

Please welcome Cheryl and Ron Pitkin into the USDAA Hall of Fame as Pioneers of Dog Agility!


In the early 1990s, Cheryl Pitkin enrolled her young Rottweiler in an obedience class with accomplished competitor, trainer and author Julie Daniels. During class, she met Brenda Buja. After a few sessions together, the three of them started talking about this new sport of dog agility and wondered how to get involved.

These discussions lead Cheryl, Julie and Brenda to start regular dog agility training sessions with Jean McKenzie at Mount Ida College in Massachusetts. Jean literally had the only set of agility equipment in the northeast.(Jean was recognized by USDAA as a Pioneer of Dog Agility in 1997 for her work in New England.)

A few months later, a phone call to USDAA President Kenneth Tatsch led to Cheryl becoming one of the founding members of NEAT New England Agility Team and a member of the USDAA-Pedigree® demonstration team.

Cheryl and her husband Ron were instrumental in bringing agility to the New England area and getting the general public educated and involved in USDAA and the sport of dog agility. In the 1990s, Cheryl would perform at numerous equestrian events across the country as part of USDAAs national demonstration team sponsored by Pedigree® brand food for dogs, and she became a USDAA judge.

Ron was a huge supporter of several groups in New England and was supplier of agility equipment throughout the region. He frequently volunteered to build and deliver equipment to local shows and all along the east coast. He was also known for doing the unexpected, like delivering a locker full of lobsters from New Hampshire to the 1995 Grand Prix Championships staff in San Antonio, Texas, which was served up in style by the chief chef at the Marriott Riverwalk Hotel, host hotel for the event.

Even their daughter Julie helped promote dog agility a few years later. At the age of five, Julie ran one of the family's Rottweiler before a packed house in the Junior Handler event at the 1995 championships. It was such an amazing run, it brought down the house as the audience saw this young, petite girl controlling a massive dog through a course!

The popularity of dog agility is where it is today because of people like Ron and Cheryl Pitkin, whose love, enthusiasm and commitment to promoting dog agility and USDAA to the public contributed to the growth, evolution, and excellence that those in the sport enjoy today.

All the way from New Hampshire, please welcome Cheryl and Ron Pitkin into the USDAA Hall of Fame as Pioneers of Dog Agility!

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