Summer Agility Trials offered an opportunity for local dogs to earn the title of Master Agility Champion (MACH) at the Cabarrus Arena and Events Center.The Greater Monroe Kennel Club hosted the Summer Agility Trials Aug. 7-11, attracting dogs from all over the nation as well as those of local handlers who want their dogs to earn points toward an American Kennel Club title.The Monroe Kennel Club has organized agility trials since 2005; the event’s proper name is the Greater Monroe Kennel Club Summer Agility Trials. Throughout the four days of the event, 600 dogs made 3,732 course runs in four days, and eight dogs won MACH titles. She said that was a large number to reach MACH at this event.At this competition, the dogs were divided into classes determined not by breed but by their height at the shoulder, meaning that a dog didn’t have to be purebred to enter. They competed in “runs,” in which where they navigated two types of courses that include obstacles, jumps and weave sticks. They competed in one of four skill levels: Novice (in which the course has 14-16 obstacles); Open, 16-18 obstacles; Excellent, 18-20 obstacles; and Master, also 18-20 obstacles.Winners are those that complete their course in the shortest time and with the fewest penalties. Penalties are assessed for hitting a bar on a jump, missing an obstacle or going off course. The Master Agility Champion title – MACH, the highest of the championship titles – requires 10 perfect runs at the Master level. Qualifying runs at the Master level also earn one speed point for each full second under the course time limit. The team of dog and handler at the Master level run both courses in one day; if they complete both with no errors, they receive what’s known as a double qualifier, or “Double Q." A team earns a Double Q when they qualify 100 percent perfect on both courses in one day. To earn the MACH title, the team must have 20 Double Q’s and 750 points.On Aug. 10, James Davis, 30, of Charlotte was working with his male border collie mix named Slo-Mo, who failed to qualify during his jumpers course run. They were competing at the Master level, in which a qualifying run must be error-free. Slo-Mo had knocked over a few poles, but Davis said, “We celebrate after each run. It is all for the dogs. If there was a mistake, it was usually the handler, not the dog.” Davis was excited about his female boxer/German shepherd mix named Harley, who won the MACH award on Aug. 9 after six years of agility trials. Lynn Mitro, 44, of Harrisburg brought her two dogs to compete in the trials. “This is one of the most popular venues,” Mitro said. “It is indoors, air-conditioned and on artificial turf. Everyone wants to compete here.” Both of Mitro’s female German short-haired pointers were competing at the Master level for the MACH title. Kona had three qualifying runs over three days, and Clementine got her first qualifying run on Sunday, but neither earned a Double Q.Piper Novick, 14, of Highland Creek said she has found her passion. It started more than four years ago, when she had her father build some obstacles in the backyard. She went to a few agility trials and researched the competition on the Internet before she started training the family Sheltie, named Happy.As she became more experienced, she started working with Happy at Dog Haven in Harrisburg, under the instruction of trainer Deb Knowles. With that training, Happy earned entry in the Master level. Piper interns at Dog Haven and is training three of her own dogs: Happy and two other Shelties, a 3-month-old puppy named Dash and a 6-year-old named Scout. On Aug. 9 she bought a border collie puppy from a breeder and named it Kai. Piper hopes Kai will earn a MACH title.Piper hopes getting to train a dog from the puppy stage will give her the edge she needs. It will be a long investment of time, probably a few years, before the new puppy is ready for the Master level of competition. She brought Kai along Saturday so the puppy could get accustomed to the environment of the competition and to the waiting, which Piper said is the worst part.Happy did not make a qualifying run, tripping one pole, but still received praise from Piper. Piper said she thinks training for and competing in agility trials will be her calling, and she hopes to make it her career. She said she appreciates older handlers who share their knowledge. She hopes that knowledge will lead her to the Master Agility Champion title.
Friday, Aug. 16, 2013
Agility champions show their paces at trials in Cabarrus Arena
To learn more: For more information on the Greater Monroe Kennel Club, visit www.greatermonroekc.org/Events.html.
Marty Price is a freelance photographer and writer. Have a story idea for Marty? Email him at email@example.com.
The Charlotte Observer welcomes your comments on news of the day. The more voices engaged in conversation, the better for us all, but do keep it civil. Please refrain from profanity, obscenity, spam, name-calling or attacking others for their views.
Have a news tip? You can send it to a local news editor; email firstname.lastname@example.org to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Charlotte Observer.Read moreRead less