Bella and I made the long trek to Tulsa OK for AKC Nationals last week. We started off with a stellar warm up day, including the Time to Beat run above. It was great to see friends from all across the country, especially Cavalier and Pumi competitors. It was also amazing to see how the competition had grown since I first went in 2004 with Maya and entry was limited to the first 500 who could meet the points requirements and overnight their entries! This year there were over 1300 teams running in 6 rings who all had at least 400 speed points and 6 double qualifying scores in Masters level competition in the previous year, a challenging goal in itself.
We started the first full day of competition on Saturday feeling positive but a bobble in each of Saturday’s runs put us out of the running. Newbies and long-time international competitors alike had some breathtakingly fast runs and moments of despair, times where they got lucky and times where the calls did not go their way. Nothing beats being there on the ground to see them all. Agility Nationals with its huge entry, small number of runs, and long wait times is its own particular beast, in some ways thrilling and in others frustrating. Although we didn’t do it this year I look forward to trying to hit our goals again next time.