Saturday, December 1, 2007

The Big Show!

Since Anne and I were already set up at the show site and we were not scheduled to compete until around 10 - 11 AM anyway, we set our alarm got 7 AM. I know, it is hilarious because there is no way Travis would ever sleep that late. I believe he dutifully awoke just before 4 AM again with lots of fidgeting. At 5 AM, I fed Travis in the bathroom and quietly put on my shoes. I decided to take him for a walk. I took him to the available grassy areas for him to do his business and then we just walked for a little while down the street. At one point there was a man was closing in on us with the loudest footsteps (yes, Stephen..... louder than my bare feet on our hardwood floors :-). I decided to face him and let him pass us (aren't you suppose to look your attacker in the eye or something?) and then suddenly the car next to us blinked and I realized that he was just hustling to his parked car. He's lucky I didn't unleash a violent greyhound on him (does anyone know where I could find such a greyhound?).

Travis and I sat in the lobby for awhile and I gave Stephen a call. It was fun to people/dog watch. So many different breeds in such a fancy hotel. Travis can always use more exercise (at well over 9 yrs old he still has more energy than any greyhound anyone has ever known), so I asked the front desk where the stairs were. They said that they would have to get security since they are on an alarm system. Never mind, we'll just jog back and forth on floor 11's hallway.

We snuck back into our room, but Anne and Kira were already up. We got ready and walked over to the show site. That is the reason we stayed at the Westin......... its simply across the street and you can walk there. With Anna's help to and from the airport, we did not have to rent a car or pay for parking.

We watched the 20 inch dogs run Jumpers in Ring 1. I like to get a feel for how the course runs by watching the slightly shorter dogs (20 inch dogs). It was a fairly straight forward course except that the weave poles entrance was a little tricky. No matter, I was able to send Travis to jump #2 while I positioned myself for a front cross on the other side of jump #3 (a front cross is when you cross in front of your dog, changing which side of the dog you are on). Travis went straight into the weaves no problem. Towards the middle of the course, we were to do a big loop to the left and come back through the middle for a tighter loop. This can make learning a course difficult especially when the course is just a sea of white and pink jumps. Of all courses, this is the one I had to get mixed up on. I started for the 2nd tighter loop and called him off of the correct jump. I quickly realized my mistake and fixed Travis, but the damage was done, we had a refusal. My heart sank. I hated to make such a silly mistake at such a big event, but sometimes nerves get the best of you. Travis had been perfect, so big treats for him.

At this point we were not out of it. 4 clean runs do pretty much get you into the finals, but it might be do able with 5 faults. I still had hope.

Today, the greyhounds showed in conformation at noon. I stood ringside to watch. My favorite was a male named DM Dots N' Dashes (see white greyhound photo). He immediately stood out at me because he was so well balanced. I liked that his chest was not excessively deep and his hind legs were not over angulated. I checked the catalog and found that he comes from lines that the breeders are concerned about performance and conformation. Not surprisingly, the judge didn't agree with my choice and chose a brindle male (handler is wearing orange) that was nervous. I think that temperament should come into play somewhat, but it generally doesn't in the conformation ring. I did like the Best of Opposite Sex (best female in this case). She is the brindle female shown by the woman in purple. I wish the pictures where clearer, but this gives you an idea.

Helen showed Lyric. The judge did pull her out in the final line up, but in the end she did not place.

We know which show person actually trains their greyhound :-). Go, Helen!

A couple of hours later, we ran in the Standard class. Everything went perfectly except for Travis missing the entrance to the weave poles. It wasn't a tricky entrance, but he simply skipped the first 2 poles. The rest of the course was perfect. With 5 more faults added to our tally, getting to the finals appeared very unlikely. It was disappointing, but maybe he will run well tomorrow.

At night we had the agility banquet. The food was a little strange. The salad came out and everyone appeared to have badly wilted iceberg lettuce. Anne didn't hesitate to put some of the brown leaves in her mouth. She decided it had been seared (I guess on purpose). I think I basically got a small plate of vegetables and rice for my $28. They could have at least given me some pasta. The best part was getting the #1 greyhound award for 2006. Yes, you saw it right.....2006. AKC is that far behind, but no worries. Travis is guaranteed to have 2007 as well. This time it was fun to pick up an award because they flashed a picture of Travis weaving.