• Rain, Racing and Random Acts Of Kindness

    Well, the DogStar Easter Tournament over 4 days is now over, so here's my personal take on it. This is obviously my personal take, everyone will have their own experiences, and I believe from comments and conversations that they are all pretty much good.

    While DogStar team members started arriving on Wednesday night in preparation for setup on Thursday. Unfortunately due to other committments and children at school we didn't set off until Thursay afternoon. This was our first outing in our first caravan so I have to admit to a few nerves when towing for the first time, but it wasn't that bad. My passenger was more nervous than me. We arrived onsite and all the DogStars showed us some of the finer intricacies of setting up the caravan.

    Once we were settled in for the night it was all hands to the pumps on Friday morning with the final setup for the rings. There were 4 divisions of starters running and we had 2 teams entered in different divisions. Team 1 comprised Alva, Fern, Elsa, Lamorak and Muffin. Team 2 was made up of Clyde, Dreamer, Pepper, Peppa and Rosie. This was both Clyde and Rosies debut in starters.

    Both starters teams did really well and the new dogs performed very well. Clyde was being run by Hannah and after 12 months of hard work Clyde was running up and down the lane very well by the end of the day once he'd got into the swing of it. In the end the first team came 5th and the 2nd team a very good 2nd place.

    Friday was also the fun dog show with some very good entrants and an entry of 34 dogs for the most appealing face, by far the largest we have ever had. Lucy from Jerry Green had a very difficult decision judging the classes and there were some worthy winners including Hannah and Melora in best 6 legs who pipped Keith and Merlin with their outstanding ladybird costumes.

    Other tip for the day, as box loader do not leave your fancy dress costume on for the afternoon session, it freaks the dogs out.

    With Open starting the next day it was all hands to the decks for moving the marquee into position and putting the jumps into place. Well, a quick trip home for Keith to collect some additional jumps and everything was all ready for the main event the following day. After such a nice day on Friday with a lovely sunny sky things looked promising for Saturday and Sunday.

    Except nobody banked on Katie. Storm Katie that is.

    Satuday was actually okay for most of it, with some blustery showers but nothing us seasoned flyballers couldn't handle. DogStar and DogStar Devils were running today and had varying levels of success. For DogStar with Arthur, Melora, Angel, Domino and Fidgit fortunes varied and they eventually came 3rd, with the highlight being Fidgit running in both lanes.

    For Devils with Sparky, Nahkohe, Merlin, Bedevere, Prada and Ellie their fortunes were quite as good and despite some good racing could only finish 5th.

    As the weather started to close in and the wind arrived we went on with presentation with Jenna receiving her Flyball Dog award and Julie receiving Arthur's Sapphire award - a fantastic achievement for a resue dog. As the weather closed in we ended up with 'speed presentation' since the rain was coming down harder and the wind more ferocious and it was funny watching all the judges giving the rosettes to a nominee from each team in turn. Award for fastest went to Zoe who ran out from the safety of the event shelter to meet the teams halfway!

    As the thunder and lightning arrived we had pretty much the entire team hanging onto the marquee as we took the legs off and strapped it down since it was in danger of taking off. As it rained dogs and dogs (well you cant really have cats at a flyball tournament!) and the lightning flashed all around Nev and I decided after a short time that the best place to not stand was inside the metal marquee and we moved into the relative safety of the er... metal framed gazebos.

    Still, as it turns out we didn't all get zapped by several million volts of sky bound electricity and turned in for the night instead.

    And so Sunday arrived and with it some windy but relatively dry weather. We ony had Diddy Dogs running on Sunday and despite a good effort we couldn't quite achieve and ended up with a 5th place. You win some you lose some.

    You do have to feel sorry for the poor transit van driver who was pulled over and questioned by a couple of our Commando colleagues who were dressed in full outfits. The chap had only come to pickup the bouncy castle from the party at the pavillion the night before. Perhaps next year we need to have a sentry box on site at the entrance and park a commando there as a security patrol next year.

    Sunday evening started to close in and the weather followed suit unfortunately. By Monday morning when we looked at the ground it was obvious that the Multibreed part of the tournament just couldn't go ahead. Safety first and all that, and while we all love outdoor tournaments we're also very mindful of the safety of the dogs.

    And so we started to pack up. In the case of Monica and Jennifer this was more tricky than it seemed since they were camping. Surrounded by a lake. Actually it was more that their tent was floating in the lake and it's fortunate that they had a sewn in groundsheet. Still, we managed to get it all packed away and slowly started to pull the caravans out of the mud and water thanks to our team mates with larger 4x4 vehicles (Thanks Sally).

    For our hard working (and suffering?) team captain though - well as they hitched up the electrics in their tow connection failed and they had to drive home to pickup the other vehicle.

    All in all though from comments from other teams and from our perspective we had a fantastic time, some superb racing and you know what we may have lost a day, but the rest of it was fun. And no doubt we'll do it all again next year.

    I for one can't wait.

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