• The Champs Edition!

    Friday Teams : 2 Weather : Sunny and Wet Crowns : 1 Tiaras : 1

    Sunday Teams : 1 Weather : Sunny and Wet Crowns : 0 Tiaras : 1 Injuries : 1

    Well, it's been and it's gone. This was my first champs (well, actually Teresa's first champs since she was running Domino, I'm just a 'DogStar Groupie') and it's fair to say it was an eye opener. And exciting. Its also fair to say that for me I think the racing itself is secondary to the event - a festival of flyball with the whole country attending was awesome.

    First things first though, and as much as I'm sure everyone is dying for the racing report, actually there are a few pieces of admin that I'd like to run through first.

    Take A Bow Please.....

    Okay, first off please take a bow the BFA committee. Yes, including you at the back. There aren't that many places where a whole group of people would take an entire week out of their lives to setup an entire championships for a bunch of people that they don't know. We know a couple of the committee members and talk to them, but that's it - we don't know any of the others, have never met them but are grateful to them for their hard work and dedication that made this a wonderful experience. Frankly with the crap you have to put up with the admiration I have personally for you has only increased. We run a couple of shows a year and yes they are hard work - this was in a different division (pun intended) entirely. Thank you and well done.

    Congratulations.......

    I'd like to extend my congratulations to Aces, Rotherham and Storm Chasers on their divisional wins. We had the honour of watching the racing and it was truly one of the most exciting things we've seen at Flyball.

    Not Forgetting.......

    A big congratulations to every team that took part, no matter whether you we're 1st, 6th or had to withdraw but still carried on racing with other dogs or went NFC, everyone there made it an event to remember.

    Firsts

    There was quite a few firsts at Champs for us, Nahkohe, Domino, Fidgit and Penny ran for the first time at Champs, and Keith (bless him) despite having been before was a 'running' virgin with Bedevere.

    Last But Not Least......

    A special thank you to Julie and Keith, who despite numerous disasters in the run up to champs still managed (mostly) a smile on their faces and supported us.

    And so, onto the event itself from this DogStar's point of view.

    Thursday

    It was a good omen. Everything was packed and quite how we'd managed to get the tent, dogs, kids, weekend camping supplies, dog cages, two cakes and everything else in the car was a wonder. Lesser people would have given up and taken two, but no, with a steely determination Teresa had shoe-horned everything in (including the driver using a crowbar and small mallet). I checked the house and we set off to Catton Hall. Champs was here at last, the 'event of the year' finally upon us and racing imminent.

    Upon arriving we were greeted by a large field full of tents, caravans, motorhomes and small blue furry creatures from Alpha Centauri. Okay, you've got me, there weren't that many motorhomes. But what there was was scale the like of which we'd never seen at Flyball. In a previous life when we did agility (not with Domino) you kind of got used to that size, but never at flyball up to this point.

    After parking up and erecting (blowing up?) the tent we met the rest of our team mates for a quick natter before heading off to Tesco. And this is where the problems started. Generally speaking I can cope with most things, but Ive met my nemesis - the travelator at Tesco Lichfield. Word of advice for anyone that goes next year, either use a hand basket or go to Morrisons. Its not that it's bad as such, but since theyve built the store on the car park and the shop is actually on level 1 you have to push the shopping trolley onto it and it holds it with the iron grip of a dog coming down the flyball lane. The end result is that a shopping trip that should take 45 minutes (15 each way plus 15 shopping) ends up as an hour and a quarter - yes it takes that long to get up it. Its like being an active part of division 1,348,857 racing (seed time measured in hours).

    Once everyone was settled we put the event shelter up, which oddly was no longer grey like it was at Driffield, and this one also had windows. Much debate surrounded this event shelter with the DogStar team firmly divided on whether this was in fact the one we had at Driffield or some weird canvas imposter.

    Friday

    Anyway, enough waffling. Friday arrived and after a fitful sleep marginally interrupted by a few, er, 'merry' people outside the tent, one of whom 'couldn't see' (and yes we know who you are!) racing started with our Diddy Dogs and Devils teams in action. It was actually a bit of a culture shock since Devils had last raced in Division 8 at Scarborough and we were in Division 42!

    So, Diddy Dogs started racing and Fizz, Meg, Ellie, Ginnie, Misha and Penny broke out in their first leg with a time 3 seconds faster than they'd been running at training. Hmmmm. After that the dogs seemed to get the excitement out of the way and settled down into their usual pattern thankfully,

    They lost ther first race, but then went on to win the remainder in fantastic style and picked up the runner up spot which everyone was very proud of. Every dog performed well, crossovers were getting better and better and the dogs and owners alike seemed to enjoy the day.

    Devils were up next with a lineup of Domino, Seve, Archie, Stripe and Nahkohe. Angel was originally pencilled in to run with this team, but due to Melora being injured she had been drafted back into Dark Knights.

    Not wishing to be outdone Devils decided to break out on their first race as well with a super time of 20.82. Clearly the dogs had all had three shredded wheat for breakfast. Thankfully they did actually settle down again after that and despite losing their first race in 5 legs they pushed most of the teams to 4 or 5 legs in each race and won 3 out of their 5 races. The only crown of Champs went to Teresa with Domino and Devils eventually took 3rd place, which was very good given they were seeded 6th.

    As the DogStars whiled away the evening with food, cake and drink the dogs slept having had a busy, exhausting day and doing themselves proud.

    Saturday

    We weren't racing on Saturday, but it was Liz's birthday, so more food, cake and drinks ensued! Liz had been busy all day running the NESSR stall which raised a considerable amount (£700+ if memory serves).

    Sunday

    DogStar Dark Knights were racing on Sunday, and despite the changes to the team lineup with Melora injured there was a bet on that we could complete the triple and break out in the first leg. Alex lost that bet and had to cough up 50p to Sally. Even so Sparky, Angel, Arthur, Bedevere and Fidgit raced well and all the dogs seemed to be hyped up. They were racing in a ring that had lights without timers, so Louise's starts were not as impecable as usual since she didnt always know how early or late she was. Trust me when I say that Louise is usually a perfect start monster regularly racking up 5 in each competition.

    By the end of race 4 Liz decided she was going to pop a muscle in her calf and had to be helped to the first aid tent to be attended to. This left Arthur runnerless and Julie stepped in to run her own dog. Yes, we have photographic evidence, and they are some of my favourites from champs.

    Feeling the absence of Melora though and despite some close racing the Dark Knights sadly ended up 6th in their division (although in fairness they were seeded 6th).

    Given this was our first Champs, we went down to watch the Div 3/2/1 racing at the ring side having heard so much about it. OMG was the racing good. OMG was the mexican wave orchestration by Richard from RFT good. OMG ..... well, just OMG really. Exciting, fun, audience partitipation - it was like some weird canine version of Rocky Horror without the weird costumes (thankfully).

    We went to presentation in the evening and I have to say it was moving, funny, and it was fantastic to see so many flyballers celebrating their sport and joining in.

    So thats the end of Champs 2015. Roll on 2016!

    Onto the awards :

    The award for a wonderful tournment goes to : Everyone at Champs

    The award for thrilling racing goes to : Everyone at Champs

    The award for patience in the face of adversity goes to : Julie

    The award for 'You pulled it off in style' goes to : The BFA Committee, helpers and teams

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