2013 Cynosport World Games

By Brenna Fenders

Photos courtesy Great Dane Photos

The 2013 Cynosport World Games took place from October 23-27 at the Tennessee Miller Coliseum in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. This event, which is the United States Dog Agility Association's annual national competition, travels to different locations in the US most years but includes the same competitive classes, culminating in the Grand Prix of Dog Agility Championships, Performance Grand Prix Championships, $10,000 Dog Agility Steeplechase Championships, Performance Speed Jumping Championships, Dog Agility Masters Team Championship, Performance Versatility Pairs Championship, Veterans All Around Showcase, Junior Handler Showcase, and the new Masters Challenge Biathlon Championships. There was also a special awards presentation for those earning the new Lifetime Achievement Award, Diamond, which requires over 1,000 qualifying scores (with a minimum of 100 qualifying scores in each of the Masters titling classes).

Agility classes took place in five rings in the Coliseum, which, up until the event, had never allowed dogs indoors. The dirt surface was praised by competitors because it was expertly prepared by the site maintenance crew, who has extensive experience with horse shows. The weather was surprisingly cold, even inside the indoor arena.

Although agility was the focus, with walkthroughs beginning as early as 6:15 am on some days and classes extending into the evening hours, there were nonagility aspects as well. There were many vendors available for shopping. Live music from local bands played in between classes on the weekend and at the competitor welcome dinner which took place at the Oaklands Historic House Museum. The dinner came with a guided "mourning tour" of the house. On-site dinners were available on site Friday and Saturday (also with musical entertainment). Aside from shopping and eating, competitors could run their dogs in course-a-lure, watch disc dog demonstrations, try herding, or play in nearby fields and parks.

An open-feed live stream took place during the week with limited commentary. A multi-camera stream of each finals event, with commentary from internationally known agility competitor Julie Daniels, USDAA President Kenneth Tatsch, and others, was recorded for video-on-demand and DVD purchase.

Reaching the podium during finals events included many "repeat performers" from years past, including Kate Moureaux, Daneen Fox, Paulena Renee Simpson, Ashley Deacon, Andy Mueller, and many more. But there were also those on the podium who have never placed in a Cynosport event before, like Melanie Behrens, who came in second in the Veterans All Around with Willin', Rachel Evers and Kubby, who were third overall in the Performance Biathlon, Linda Womer and Sonic, who finished second in the Grand Prix, and more.

Behrens says, "I have been to eight Cynosport events, and have competed with Willin' in all of those eight events. This year was our first time making it to the podium and it was such a thrill to be there with Willin' in his last year of competing (he's almost 12). Although he was not my first agility dog, he was the first one that was capable of competing at that level, and he is a very special dog to me because he has taught me much of what I know and was quite tolerant of my mistakes along the way. I always knew he belonged on the podium, but I could not make it happen in previous attempts! It was emotional for me to hear my friends cheering him and to be there in the spotlight with my best buddy." Evers, who was at her very first national agility event, says, "Kubby and I have been competing in USDAA since 2008, but this was our very first Cynosport. We had a great season leading up to the event, and after winning Performance Masters Challenge at the Western Regional, I decided it was the year to give 'the big show' a try. I sent in our entries and made it my goal to try to run clean in both rounds of Performance Masters Challenge Bialthlon, which is our favorite event. Kubby was amazing! He traveled like a champ (first time on a plane!), ran his heart out, and made me so proud to be his teammate. We achieved our goal of running clean in both Masters Challenge Standard and Jumpers, and had the absolute thrill of making the podium at our first national competition. It was an adventure I will never forget, and I am so grateful!"

Courses, designed by judges Evelyn Robertson, Bob Griffin (from the UK), Francisco Berjon (from Mexico), Scott Chamberlain, Scott Lovelis, and Adrienne McLean, were challenging, particularly in the Masters Challenge Jumpers and Standard classes. Behrens says, "Well, with [my dog] Elf, I loved the Team Jumpers course the best, but I ran a different course with Willin'. With Willin', my favorite was Team Standard, which I ran smoother with him than I did with Elf! I also loved Team Snooker as it challenged me to find a plan that included four reds but no extra A-frames or weave poles in the opening, in order to make it easier on his body." Evers preferred a different course: "My favorite course from a technical perspective was Masters Challenge Jumpers. The changes of direction made it difficult to keep the dogs running on a tight line, and I was able to use a serpentine (one of Kubby's strongest skills) to save some time through a particularly tough part of the course."

Congratulations to the 2013 Cynosport World Games Champions:

Grand Prix of Dog Agility
12" Sandra Rogers and Quill (Parson Russell Terrier)
16" Ashley Deacon and Dash (Pyrenean Shepherd)
22" Cynthia Hornor and Spice (Border Collie)
26" Daisy Peel and Solar (Border Collie)

Performance Grand Prix
8" Betsey Lynch and Luna (Papillon)
12" Alicia Nicholas and Ho (Papillon)
16" Pamela Fish and Edge (Border Collie)
22" Paulena Renee Simpson and F5 Tornado (Border Collie)

$10,000 Dog Agility Steeplechase
12" Daneen Fox and Masher (Papillon)
16" Kayl McCann and Funkee Monkee (All-Canadian/mix)
22" Lauren Mitchell and Wicked (Border Collie)
26" Desiree Snellman and Pace (Border Collie)

Performance Speed Jumping
8" Katherine Elliot and Whim (Jack Russell Terrier)
12" Alicia Nicholas and Ho (Papillon)
16" Pamela Fish and Edge (Border Collie)
22" Paulena Renee Simpson and F5 Tornado (Border Collie)

Dog Agility Masters Team
Featuring Presto Chango
Revolution and Tori Self, Presto and Terry Smorch, Feature and Susan Garrett (all dogs are Border Collies)

Performance Versatility Pairs
Power N' Skecher
Skecher and Barb Davis (Shetland Sheepdog), Power and Kate Moureaux (Border Collie)

Masters Challenge Biathlon
12" Andy Mueller and Crackers (Jack Russell Terrier)
16" Ashley Deacon and Dash (Pyrenean Shepherd)
22" Kayl McCann and Slyce (Border Collie)
26" Daisy Peel and Solar (Border Collie)

Performance Masters Challenge Biathlon
8" Dawn Weaver and Puzzle (Papillon)
12" Laura Dolan and Race (Shetland Sheepdog)
16" Dudley Fontaine and Maverick (Border Collie)
22" Kelly Brauneck and Furley (Border Collie)


For full results and courses from the event, visit www.usdaa.com/news.cfm.