Posted Date: December 8, 2016
Contact Zonies in Phoenix, AZ celebrates their 25th Anniversary of hosting USDAA shows.
After several months of planning and coordination, Contact Zonies in Phoenix, AZ was ready to celebrate their 25th Anniversary of hosting USDAA shows at their annual December trial. Original club members were invited, retro-runs from the early 90's were incorporated into the schedule, and a photo booth was set up so both the club and competitors could commemorate the occasion.
The site was great - excellent grass, a fenced-in ball field and beautiful scenery. Things were coming together nicely on Friday evening during set-up and everyone was excited for the fun to begin the next day.
When the show crew arrived early Saturday morning, they found the field in shambles. Strong, overnight winds blew over winged jumps, rolled tunnels across the field, crates were everywhere and even the sturdiest of canopies were in shambles. To complicate matters more, the winds were still too strong to run, and for everyone's safety, the show committee made the decision to postpone the start of the show until early afternoon when the winds were scheduled to diminish.
Competitors made the best of the situation, opening their nearby homes as a place of refuge for folks who traveled from the opposite side of town. Others embraced the scenery and took their dogs for a long walk around the community park, had lunch and even got a little holiday shopping done at the nearby outlet mall.
A small crew of folks stayed onsite to put the show back together. The photo booth was a carnage of canopies, props and memorabilia for the anniversary celebration. Courses were re-set, the score table rebuilt and secured, damaged canopies piled together and folks began sharing their set ups for competitors who lost canopies, crates and other belongs overnight.
By 1:30 p.m. Saturday afternoon, all the festivities planned for the day were now rescheduled for Sunday and the show was underway again with a slightly modified schedule. Competitors were excited to wrap up Saturday's competition under the lights with a fun Strategic Pairs course designed by judge Candy Gaiser.
Zonies Award L to R Annie DeChance for USDAA; Zonies President, Kathryn Blumenfeld-Jones;
Show Chair Anabel Schafnit
There was still a slight breeze Sunday morning, but nothing to hold up the show. After the local Grand Prix qualifier, the show was stopped in both rings so everyone could enjoy a delicious catered meal and be part of the anniversary celebration and presentation.
Founding members were recognized and asked to share stories of the early days of agility in Arizona - days when there were no ring barriers at all, it took three Standard Q's to get a title, a variety of breeds competing, 30-inch jump heights, a 6' 3" A-frame, and if they were lucky, two shows were scheduled in Arizona in the same year.
There were also stories of major road trips, making friends in neighboring states and the camaraderie of cheering and supporting everyone, sharing strategies and training tips, and truly wanting everyone to succeed and get a Q.
Zonies Founders: Top Row - Connie Heaton, Paul Kent, Sandy Comise, Kathryn Blumenfeld-Jones;
Seated - Joyce Hayes and Marsha McIntosh
In true Zonies fashion, the memories and friendships from 25 years ago shared at the ceremony were experienced and felt throughout this show. So many people stepped up to help the club in a variety of ways, and despite the challenges faced on Saturday morning, smiles where everywhere, silly jokes were told and new friendships formed. This continued throughout the weekend.
Congratulations and thank you to Contact Zonies for being part of USDAA for the last 25 years and for continually demonstrating good sportsmanship, despite the plans of Mother Nature, and for ensuring competitors always enjoy attending each of your trials.
Photo Credits: Top photo by Martha Molever; Photos two and three by Ann Mulchay Photography www.AnnMulchayPhotography.com