The Real Time Canine II

After spending 2 years writing the Real Time Canine, the adventure continues with The Real Time Canine II. Read along as I look for just the right puppy to continue the experience. After false starts with Tim and Jed, I am currently training young Tam, and Spot, which are both off to a strong start. Please visit the RTC II to read about training sessions as they occur.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Spirit of Volunteerism

Sonia, Tom Hoeber and Ellen Nieslanik
I don't know the number of volunteers recruited to make our National Finals go around, but it's many. There are a myriad of jobs that I would never have dreamed needed doing until I saw them being done by generous, smiling souls this year in Carbondale. I will manage to credit only a few of them here.

Andrew (very funny) and LuLu

Linda, Terry and Lisbeth, Hand's camp, vendors, hand's camp
There are over 900 head of sheep on the ranch for the trial and practice fields. Watering, feeding, moving, setting, arranging, organizing and returning them is a massive undertaking and has gone as smoothly as you could ever hope for. Bridget is in charge of the sheep, and, with the help of Coleen and her talented Kelpies, they're all present, accounted for and on their feet.

Sheepdog central, Francis Raley, Barb Ross and Hub Holmes. Where's Tolly?
 If you've ever wondered who is responsible for all the paper work and how it gets done, your answer is Francis Raley from Crawford Texas. How is the finals reconciled, the scores kept straight, the entries accounted for, the rules kept track of, scores posted to the website, and so much more? Francis Raley and at the finals, she does it with help from Barb and Tolly. She's on her own for the rest of the year. Hub collaborates with Francis throughout, but he is our fearless leader and is really good at his unpaid job. Just for the record, Francis has been the HA Secretary officially and unofficially since 1985, when she also provided the field, the sheep, and cooked the hand's dinner for that year's finals. There would have been no finals in 1985 without her, and from my view, things haven't changed much.

Allison and Hub Holmes

Kit Strang, our most gracious and generous hostess
Norm Close judging the open field
I don't know all involved in the Hand's hospitality tent, Cathy Baliu for sure, but it is well stocked with every delectable thing. I have eaten breakfast and lunch there every day, and was even served once after one of my disappointing runs. Miss Geri from NM said; "you sit right there, and I'll take care of it." That's the spirit I mention in the title of this post. It's fun to be here even in the face of disappointment, for me any way. Judging is a thankless, tedious and monotonous job. Norm Close, Warren Mick, Frank Cashen and Peter Gonnett have traveled thousands of miles in each case to sort the runs. They're doing a great job, and don't let anyone convince you differently.

Kristi and Sonia
The Vanna Board
There are men and women running around everywhere doing every little thing. We have electricians, phone answerers, judging scribes, Kristi is running the horse business, Sonia exhausting and watering stock. There are score runners, set out crew, folks in golf carts ferrying spectators and hands alike, and Lord, lets not forget the parking crew. Thanks Bernie! I don't know who hatched the "Vanna Board" idea, but beautiful women parading scores almost immediately after each run adds the touch of levity that every finals should include. This is dog-trialing, not life and death no matter how serious some people take it. The "Vanna" girls are fun.

My national finals is over this year, my dogs are put up, my disappointment assuaged, and my smile firmly in place. My dogs ran well to get here, and I campaigned as hard as I could all year. This was decidedly not my year for the finals. That's OK... "that's dog-trialing" as they say. I'm remembering what my dogs did right, I'm carrying a lot of great memories, and I'm already making plans for next year.

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