We're off on vacation soon and I'm trying not to freak out with the packing and preparations like I did last year before USDAA Nationals. The ultimate destination is Prescott Valley, AZ for DOCNA Championships but on the way we'll stop in Albuquerque for 2 runs of a USDAA trial then Flagstaff/Sedona for some hiking then Jerome, a supposedly funky little artist/tourist mountain town (hmmm, sounds like what Boulder is supposed to be) for more hiking then on to Prescott for even more hiking and some agility thrown in on the side.
Cody needs a standard leg and a snooker super Q leg to finish of his champ. title in USDAA and the local trial I hoped to do it at is the same weekend as DOCNA Champs. I decided I'd rather enter Cody in his last ever champs of any kind than go for the title. Not sure how many USDAA trials he has left in him since he has to jump over his shoulder height as a 10 year old but I'd rather have the experience of going to Champs than a piece of paper and fancy ribbon. And as it turns out there's a USDAA trial the weekend before in Albuquerque which we have to drive through anyway to get to AZ and the first 2 classes of the day on Sunday are Masters Standard and Snooker so I thought what the hey, we'll give it a go. It'll be a nice warm up for Champs as well. It doesn't look so great for a Super Q since there aren't enough 22" dogs and we'll have to be combined with a really competitive 16" class. There are 20 dogs combined for only 3 super q's, just one more dog and there would be 4 and maybe we'd have a fighting chance but oh well. Hopefully the course will be good for Cody and we'll give it our all. The judge is the same one we had at Regionals that didn't give us a proper walk through for the Grand Prix but since we're in the same ring for both classes it shouldn't be an issue this time. He has tough courses, we've had him several times before, so I'm not sure how it will go but we'll give it our best shot anyway. The next local USDAA trial isn't until Jan. of next year and who knows if Cody will be able to jump that height by then. I'm hoping he'll last until the April USDAA trial but we'll see. There are some USDAA trials in Utah and Nebraska but I'm not driving all over huxpux for a title, that's for sure, I don't care if we're 2 legs away.
I'm hoping Sedona isn't too hot this time of year for hiking. It's been hot when we've been there in November, I can only imagine what it's like a month earlier. If so maybe we'll try hiking in the San Francisco mountains outside of Flagstaff for a change. I love hiking amongst the red rocks of Sedona though, they're something I don't get to see everyday.
Prescott National forest is supposed to be nice, we'll have several days to check it out. DOCNA Champs start with a warm-up trial Thursday night. They offered standard and jumpers but I only signed up for standard. I don't want to fry the dogs out with too many days of agility. Champs start for real on Friday and run through Sunday but to make the finals of standard and jumpers on Sunday your combined scores from Friday and Saturday's runs have to be in the top 25%. So if we don't make the finals we can leave after Trigility (3-dog relay) on Sunday. I wish it was a different game on Sunday so that if you don't make finals you can leave Saturday night but I'm supposing most people won't want to go early and leave their teammates in the lurch. Who knows, maybe we'll make the finals and/or maybe I'll want to watch the finals anyway.
DOCNA Champs have another unique aspect in that they run simultaneous Champs in the east and west. The regular classes (standard and jumpers) and games are scored regionally but scores for the North American Challenge (DOCNA's version of the Grand Prix) are combined. Obviously there can be a huge difference between the 2 venues and how the courses are set and judged (biggest difference is that the east's champs are outside and the west's are inside) but there were big issues at USDAA Nationals with discrepancies between courses and judging from ring to ring as well. I'm not sure how you get around this, I think it's good to include as many people as possible from as large a region as possible so you get the most competitive field but once you move away from one ring it's never going to be equitable and you can only have so many runs in one ring. I think DOCNA's solution is good because you have both the regional and national competitions. It'll be interesting to see how it works out.
I'll try to post updates, photos, video, etc. from Champs but in my experience hotel wifi can be iffy so I'll see how it goes.