Sunday, July 22, 2012

On the Fence About USDAA Nationals

Trying to decide if I want to enter Steeplechase and, provisionally, Grand Prix and if I should try for that last leg of Grand Prix.  I'll enter Team for sure since I committed to my team last winter.  It'll be fun and I'm looking forward to it.  However, the other classes?  The 22" weave poles are throwing me for a loop.  Plus the stubborn, non-customer friendly attitude of USDAA creeping back.  Gives me an icky sort of feeling.  Also a sort of feeling of do I really need to give zillions of $$$ to this organization for the privilege of exposing him to those ridiculous weave poles?

Perhaps 2" doesn't seem like a lot to some people, maybe people with little dogs or slow dogs or less driven dogs, sensible steady eddies.  But if you have a big, fast, driven, crazy off his head pony of a dog with a very long back and no sense of self-preservation then that 2" is huge.  And also maybe you care a lot more about your dog than you do about competitive excellence or ribbons or USDAA Nationals or how crazy other people think you're being over 2".  I get a little twitchy when people try to tell me I'm being silly over the health of my dog, especially when they have absolutely no experience training and trialing the type of dog I have.  Maybe I can think of a zillion other things I can spend that entry fee money on other than an organization who doesn't care about me or my dog and can't even give anybody the simple courtesy of an explanation for their whacked decisions.  And isn't it the job of the company providing the service or product to prove that their product is safe to the consumer rather than the other way around?  In other words, if anybody should be providing scientific peer reviewed studies it should be USDAA to prove those 22" weaves are safe for all kinds of dogs rather than competitors/costumers trying to prove them unsafe.

If I decide not to enter Steeplechase and Grand Prix that's a $112-$157 ding to USDAA's pocket ($45 for Steeple, $47 for the remaining local Grand Prixs, $20 for the warm-up run and $45 for Grand Prix at Nat's if I get the GP Q).  Or I could enter Steeple and the warm-up run and still cost them $47-$92.  I could put that money towards another day or 2 in UT before XTERRA Nat's. so I could pre-ride the course and have a day or two to relax after the long drive.  Plus a full day less of USDAA Nat's. if I don't do anything but Team.  If I do the other events it's a minimum of 4 days, would push up to 5 if we made Team finals.  Poor Strum, his brain will fry with all that.  Never mind my brain.  Never mind all that driving back and forth even if it is only 40 minutes.

Right now I'm leaning towards Team only, it feels like the best option.  So glad I'm not traveling to this event and have the flexibility to change my mind up to the last minute.  Hope that whatever mysterious reason USDAA has for its 22" weave poles is worth a potential $157.


  1. Elite Forces of Fuzzy Destruction had some well-said things to say about USDAA, and the follow-up comments included some notes that people should vote with their pocketbooks.

    I think that if the nationals were less than an hour from my home, I'd be hard pressed to decide not to go.

    Also, I'm not going anyway, 22" weaves or no, so I don't have to make the decision one way or another.

  2. Thing is, if people really want to go to Nat's., they're going to go. They're not going to let weaves or anything else stop them. I don't think for a minute that my ding to USDAA's pocketbook is going to sway them. I've been boycotting the AKC, McDonald's and all those fast food places, and zillions of other really bad companies for a lifetime and none of them have gone away. And really if people want to get in a stink about funding agility organizations, supporting the AKC is WAY worse than funding USDAA Nationals in terms of what you're financially supporting.

    This is more about what I'm personally comfortable with, what I'm o.k. with exposing my dog to, what I'm o.k. with paying for. I don't get 'Nationals Fever' the way some people do. I want a certain level of service in return for my hard earned money and for my time, I want Nat's. to be a fun experience and if USDAA can't/won't deliver that then I'm fine with finding something else to do. No shortage of fun things to do with the dogs in fall in Colorado.

  3. And it's not say that in general I don't think voting with your pocketbook works. I think many of the positive changes we've seen in USDAA have been because of people doing just that on the level of local trials combined with the effects of the economy. I wouldn't be surprised if they're digging in their heels over the weaves at Nat's. simply because they feel they can, because enough people will still want to go. It's one of the few places left where they feel they have control. I guess we'll see in a couple months if their gamble is correct.