Can you say distractions?
It was an interesting day of agility, that's for sure. We were sandwiched between the carnival and the 4-H building which of course had its doors wide open because OMG people the smell. I had to go in there to use the bathrooms which unfortunately were next to the pigs and I'm telling you my eyes were starting to water and the next day I still can't get that smell out of my brain. And these pigs were all freshly scrubbed and laying in pens with nice fresh shavings and all gussied up for the show ring. I cannot begin to imagine what it must smell like on the little local farm let alone those big industrial hog farms. Seriously, it was something special. And the screaming... Maybe you've heard a chorus of 100 pigs all squealing/screaming at the same time but that was a new one on me. It was like when a group of dogs start howling in unison but a hundred million times louder and higher pitched. Somehow my dogs didn't seem the least bit bothered even though we were crated maybe 50 yards away. There was also Elvis music and other country favorites coming from the 4-H building because no pig contest would be complete without. BTW, Elvis plus dog agility, it doesn't get much cooler than that.
I had to go in the arena to see the pigs being judged. Don't worry, I cut through the area where the sheep were being penned to avoid the pig smell. The pig contest consisted of a bunch of teenagers whacking their pigs on the sides with sticks to make them trot around the ring. I couldn't figure out what they were being judged on-maybe whoever has the least amount of poop smeared across their butts wins? It certainly wasn't personality because the feistiest pig that had Strummer ears and Strummer attitude got ushered out of the ring right away. I finally worked up the nerve to ask one of the judges. There were lots of judges and this one didn't seem too busy. It turns out pig shows are kind of like dog conformation shows. The judge watches them trot around and decides which one will be the tastiest based on how they move and their structure. Or maybe the judge made that up to mess with me, who knows. But the main judge gave a little speech about why that pig when he made his decision and it seemed to back up what the other judge told me. You see, agility trials are educational.
The big rule to remember about agility trials at the County Fair is that you should carry your camera with you at all times because you never know when the tractor parade may go by.
There were some cool tractors there.
I was developing a case of tractor envy even though I'm not sure what you do with a tractor. Jonny's always talking about moving out of Boulder to some land out east so we could have donkeys and so far I've been firmly against this plan but maybe I'd reconsider if I could have a tractor. And maybe some horses.
Another thing to remember when you go to the County Fair is that you should wear your awesome pink pirate skull socks that your equally awesome husband got for you.
And make sure you let everyone know where they are in case there was any doubt.
How did the agility go you ask what with the 'Ring of Fire' roller coaster and the people screaming on the 'Ring of Fire' roller coaster right next to the start line for the baby dog classes? So loud that you can't even hear the 'Go' announcement on the speaker?
Are we barfing yet?
As it turns out this was a great set-up for Strummer because he wasn't too bothered with the coaster and the screaming and it was so loud that he couldn't hear the dog in the ring. Crazy freak dog, he was much calmer than normal. Can we please have big noisy roller coasters at all our agility trials? Sure my ears were ringing well into the night but calm dog at the start line, so worth it.
He ran in the only 3 classes offered-Gamblers, Standard and Jumpers-as did Lola and he didn't pick up any Q's but he was running nicely and most of our problems were run-bys/handling issues and baby dog stuff. He had great weaves, hit all 3 A-frames, great teeters, no knocked bars that I can remember (though I could be wrong about that), missed his dogwalk contact and had some trouble on straight runs of jumps. Don't know why but that seems to be such a hard skill for him. We've practiced it but not recently and he's so freakin' fast on a straight line of jumps mid-course or in a gamble that it's hard for me to keep up to handle him. He had an off course in Jumpers due to this and despite taking an extra tunnel and me settling him to continue on he still did 15 obtacles in 14.xx seconds. Whee, that was fun!
Lola was more distracted by the ample amount of poop in the arena dirt than the roaring coasters and screaming pigs. She started out with a nice strong run in Gamblers. Didn't get the gamble of course, the easiest gamble you could possibly imagine-out to a jump from a tunnel, teeter, jump, jump all in a straight line-easy peasy, but her opening was wonderful. She started getting a little flaky in Standard probably due to the heat but she laid down on the table despite the blaring sun (woo hoo for that!) and had an o.k. run with a missed A-frame contact and run-by/refusal. By the afternoon Jumpers class she'd had enough. It didn't help that I got lost by the 7th jump, the kind of lost where you're standing there like an idiot going, 'I'm lost, I'm lost'. As I stood there pondering the sea of jumps I lost her to the poop. I got her going again for a wee bit but it was hot and she'd had enough so I decided screw the course and ran her out of the ring over the last few jumps. This was super fun because it happened in front of a huge audience of people and there was an announcer giving the crowd a play by play over the loudspeaker. She tried to put a good spin on it for the crowd and had them cheering us on out of the ring but not exactly a crowd pleasing performance I'm afraid.
Overall it was a fun trial, small entry, nice courses, and one ring. What a luxury to not have to work classes that I'm also entered in as well as not having to run from ring to ring like a crazy person. It was a great opportunity for Strummer to get some ring experience with some huge distractions and who doesn't love a good pig contest?