If you haven't had the opportunity to watch and catch the excitement as world class dogs and handlers burn around an agility course, well my friend, your lucky day has arrived! Leduc has had the honour of being chosen as the location for the 2013 Canadian National Dog Agility Championships, and that is all thanks to the dedicated and devoted human half of Leduc and area's Dynamo Dog Club.
This group of hard working and highly competitive people, along with their canine partners, formed 15 years ago and have quickly climbed the ladder to agility greatness. As a matter of fact, one of their number just achieved a Canadian first by winning gold in the Biathlon event at the World Agility Open Championships in Spain one week ago. Teri O'Neill and her Border Collie Tylt screamed around the course with accuracy and blazing speed to come out on top of hundreds of their seasoned European competitors. It was the first time ever a Canadian has won this event and a real coup for the Dynamo Dog Club.
Now another feather in their cap is that they have been chosen to host the largest dog event in Canada from August 1-4. During this time they will welcome between 500-600 highly trained dogs and their humans for four days of fun and fast paced competition.
The Canadian Nationals have never been held in the Edmonton area so one of the organizers from the Dynamo Dog Club, Seanna O'Neill, shared that everyone in the club is "Super, super excited about this! We are also looking forward to putting a bit of our own spin on this year's event and making it a little more exciting for the audience and competitors alike. One of the changes we have instituted this year is that we have created the Canadian National Junior Championships which will be running simultaneously with the National Championships. We are very proud that one of our junior members has stepped forward to spearhead the Junior Championships which will attract top notch youth and their dogs from across Canada."
Held at the William F. Lede sports fields, sandwiched between the LRC and Telford Lake, there will be 5 to 6 rings continuously running events throughout the four days with the champions in each category left to compete against one another, literally for "top dog", on the final day.
There are numerous categories of competition including a skills competition, six rounds of Nationals competition with three categories in each consisting of Regular (which is open to any dog), Veteran (dogs 7 years and over), and Specials (open to any breeds that cannot compete at the regulation height jumps such as chihuahuas or very large breed dogs), and finally a $10,000.00 Steeplechase.
Even though agility is open to everyone (and every dog!) at every level, at Nationals people will be seeing the cream of the crop in Canada as each dog and handler pair have had to earn enough points in regional competitions to earn their way up to Nationals. The winners of the National competition will then earn a spot on the Canadian National Team which will be competing at the World Agility Championships in the Netherlands in 2014.
However, the one element that the Dynamo Dog Club still requires to make this event a complete success is volunteers. "This is a huge task to take on about 600 dogs and their people and we are going to need approximately 200 volunteers to ensure everything runs smoothly." said Seanna. "People don't have to commit to the entire weekend to be a part of this event, just one morning or afternoon of their time would be great. They don't need to have any experience to volunteer and we will train anyone! Leduc has such a huge population of dog loving people who are energetic and work well together that we're sure it will all come together and turn out great!"
For those interested in volunteering or just to find out some more about this hugely exciting and fun sport, the Dynamo Dog Club has set up a website for the National competition at www.aacnationals2103.ca. This site describes all the volunteering opportunities and enables people to sign up online for a spot on the volunteer team. You can also discover all the details about the various competitions and classes, meet some of the Dynamo Dog Club members, read about the 25 year history of the AAC, see who the judges will be, and get a preview of the original handmade trophies the winners will be receiving.
So if you want to see the fur fly (in the most positive way possible!) make sure you come out to the 2013 Canadian National Agility Championships in August and cheer on both our two and four footed friends as they race toward excellence.