Posted Date: September 11, 2017
A.C.E. Agility Club in Westfield, MA held a trial on August 26-27, 2017.
By Nancy Obara
- Club: A.C.E. Agility Club
- Location: Westfield, MA
- Dates: August 26-27, 2017
- Chair: Ray Wheeler
- Secretary: Nancy Obara
- Judge: Elliot Kaplan
A.C.E. Agility Club held a USDAA trial for Advanced/P2, Starters/P1, and Intro dogs in Westfield MA on August 26-27. A.C.E. stands for Ability, Confidence, and Enthusiasm. Both the dogs and handlers entered in this trial showed a lot of all three!
This was a small trial with 50 dogs and 45 handlers attending. We limit this trial to the lower levels because we want to encourage the newer handlers to become active in USDAA by starting off in a comfortable setting. The atmosphere was relaxed and low key so as not to stress out the new dogs and handlers. There were 19 dogs running in the Intro classes over the two days, many of them making their agility debut. There were some really nice dogs running Intro that showed a lot of promise. I expect they will be tearing up the agility courses in no time.
The trial took place at the Westfield Fairgrounds. The ring is fenced in so the handlers didn't have to worry about dogs running out of the ring. There is plenty of room to walk the dogs and lots of shady areas for parking cars and RVs. The weather was very pleasant all weekend. There were plenty of workers for each class and we were fortunate to have a few people not entered in the trial who helped all day.
Judge Elliot Kaplan set out some fun courses for us to run. The challenges were very fair at all levels of competition. Elliot was very encouraging and supportive of the new handlers. Also, he used a "duck call" instead of a whistle, so even when a run went south, everyone had a good laugh. Elliot thought all the handlers were very good to their dogs and showed great sportsmanship throughout the weekend.
On Saturday night, we had a pot luck cookout with the judge, campers and a few exhibitors who stayed around. ACE member Mary McCulloch earned her title of "Chef Extraordinaire" for arranging the cookout and providing the main course. For those who wanted entertainment on Friday night, a BMX bike event was held on the other side of the fairgrounds.
The exhibitors had some nice comments about the trial, the judge and the relaxed weekend. Several exhibitors mentioned that we should continue to offer the Starter/Advanced trial as they have new dogs that will be ready to compete next year. One person commented that she was new to USDAA agility, but by the end of the weekend she had made several new agility friends. Dogs, friends, great weather... What a wonderful way to spend the weekend.
- Martha Davis & Tweed - P2 Standard & P2 Snooker
- Lori Kline & Kricket - P1 Snooker
- Nancy Obara & Okona - P2 Gamblers
- Judy Van Wyk & River - Starters Standard, Snooker & Jumpers, and Agility Dog