Saturday, October 30, 2010

Kiln Agility Trial and Match - Oct 22,23,24, 2010

Kiln, MS RV park behind Harrison County Arena
Legs Earned:  Maxie: XJ1, XJ2
4 runs, 2 Q's

Hancock County Fairgrounds: Here's our wee little pop up camper (far left), amidst one wing of the big rigs in the RV park at Kiln, MS.  I was the first to arrive on Thursday and chose the end slot so I wouldn't be sandwiched in. It was a good decision.  We felt very much like we had the whole place to ourselves, though we had the longest distance to walk to the arena (far right).

CAMPING NOTES: $15/night. The ground is level. Kiln has no showers this year but there's a lot of construction going on and I heard they are building a bath house. There is a kitchen with a big freezer available, but it is locked up at night.  Need to get your ice out of there shortly after the last run each day.  The bathrooms are in the arena, far away from the campsites, so my portable pottie came in handy. Don't need outdoor carpet.  Nice grassy area under awning is fine.

Weather: We ran the AC during the day (85 degrees) and the heater at night (55 degrees).  Short sleeves were fine.  Didn't sweat at all and it wasn't terribly dusty, so as to bathing, I did fine with just a warm wash cloth, no soap.

Arena: The dirt in the arena was fairly packed and wetted down at night, so minimal dust. There were 2 courses, one for Jumpers, another for Standard, with an aisle down the middle.  Only one at a time was active.  There is no AC but it was not hot.  There was a nice breeze.

John, Willow and Michele
West side is behind us where lots of folks crated.
You can see Loralie's red tent on right.
 Crate Areas:  Lots of people crated on the west side under roof with open sides, near the concessions, but the afternoon sun beat down on that spot.  Loralie even pitched her tent under there and spent 3 nights.  I crated on the East side between the bleachers, nearest the RV park, and it was relatively quiet, no crowding, quite nice, morning sun was not hot.  It was easy to get into the bleachers, but a longer walk to the secretary's table and bathrooms. Forgot to get a picture.  Some people crated at the base of the bleachers but this took up so much space it left little room for people to pass.  There is also crate space at the north side by the horse stalls.

John came with me Thursday and Friday, in his own car. We brought Maxie, Lucky and Willow and we all slept cozily in the camper - Maxie and Willow in our bed and Lucky in the other bed amidst our luggage. We left BR around 9 a.m., arrived Kiln 11 a.m., set up the camper, went into the arena and set up my crate spot and got ready for the 2 p.m. match. The crates being at the bottom of the trunk, everything else has to be offloaded to get to them, which works fine if we set up the camper first, but not if setting up your crates first.  John watched the match on Thursday and most of the trial on Friday, took some of the videos, and left around 3 p.m. Friday.  He took Willow home with him. The photo above was taken with my iPhone, just before he left. Since John's days off are Thursday and Friday, that makes it easy for him to join me in setting up, but difficult for him to stay Sat and Sun.

The RV Experience: Swamp Dog Agility Club, out of New Orleans, took good care of us RV'ers.  Had a Pumpkin Carving on Friday night, with about 6 people, and a Whine and Cheese tasting on Saturday night, with about 15-20 people. Both were fun. Kay and I were the only people from our club there, although everyone was invited. Instead of doing Brags, everyone got to complain about their worst mistake in the trial.  Mine was that I got too cocky.  I only needed one Q in XS to get Maxie's AX title, so I only signed up for 2 runs.  We NQ'd on both!  We Q'd on both XJ runs, so got our first 2 legs in that class, with a 1st place and a 2nd place.  We were signed up for Sunday XJ as well, but I got injured and had to forfeit that run.

Maxie over tripple, Kiln
Videos: I posted all of Maxie's videos, plus all the other 8" dogs Maxie will be competing with in X classes next year, plus something new, photos of the score sheets.  I got to meet more of the handlers -- a talented, experienced bunch.  The videos are here. It takes me 3 days to process, label and upload all the videos I take. The files are huge even though the quality is not very satisfactory.  I'd like a better video camera someday but they are expensive.  Are you listening, Santa Claus?

I usually use a tripod, get the best left/right fix on the course, and don't zoom unless the whole rest of the course is at a distance.  I try to stay on both dog and handler from GO to when they leave the ring. It is interesting to watch how each team behaves right after their run -- either elated or bummed out. But when we got there we discovered John had taken the tripod out of my trunk to take to family reunion and had not replaced it.  So we hand-held all the Friday videos.  Fortunately, Sheryl wasn't leaving Baton Rouge until Friday afternoon.  She was able to send Wayne to my house for the tripod and she brought it to me in time for Saturday's filming.

The Match:  Lucky ran twice in her first match on Thursday afternoon.  I can't remember how she did and we didn't take any pictures or videos as I had intended, but she seemed comfortable in the ring.  I also ran Maxie two runs, but on the first one I forgot it was practice, so we ran the course then left the ring with another minute to spare.

I didn't think the match was well organized.  Both rings were going simultaneously, and without a PA system nor even a megaphone, you could not hear when your turn came up, or even when the ring was available for a walk through.  The courses were all nested -- novice, open, excellent.  I just chose to run the Excellent courses, and since I didn't even have time to walk one course, Lucky and I just got out there and ran all over the place.  For some stupid reason, I had signed Lucky up for 4 runs, Maxie for 2.  Then I forgot and Lucky only ran 2 of her runs. 4 runs in one day was plenty for me.  I don't know how Tracey and others run 6-10 times in a day.

I did appreciate that no treats were allowed in the ring.  I remembered a few years back I attended a Kiln match with Maxie (before he began competing), and observed some handlers tossing food treats into the dirt at the contacts, and the next day competing dogs would stop and sniff those areas.

Lucky:  She did fine with all the excitement and noise, but she isn't used to being crated during the day.  She was good as gold, but when I let her run free in the RV field on Saturday night, she went so wild, charging too and fro, on one pass she grazed my left leg and the force knocked me down, twisting my left knee. I iced it twice Sat night, but was hobbling around on Sunday with my old knee brace on, trying desparately to pack up, missing most everybody's runs, and had to miss my XJ run as well.  By this time John had gone home and I had to concentrate on packing up or risk getting left behind with no one to help me hitch my car up.

Charlie and Sheryl, Kiln, Novice Jumpers
Sheryl:  Looks like the training Sheryl and I have been doing these past three months, plus her own classes and practice, have paid off well for her.  She and Charlie earned their NAJ title, moved up to OJ, and Q'd at least twice, maybe 3 times, on Saturday and Sunday (I missed videoing one run on Sunday and still don't know how she did).    She may have her NA title as well but even she isn't sure.She started limping midway thru her last run on Sunday and is still nursing a pinched siatic nerve in her butt.  I had that happen to me 2 years ago, it happened so fast and hurt so bad, I fell to the ground, limped for weeks, and it never has exactly fully healed!  It still aches but is not debilitating.

Plans and Goals: This week I've spent icing my knee and back and taking it easy, either watching a lot of Netflix TV series, or going thru paperwork, throwing away tons of crap I once thought was so important but now doesn't interest me, to make way for remodeling the art room in case my parents need to move in with me. The new fence, and daily practice, will have to wait.  Wasn't in my plans, but there it is.  I need my knee to be healed by November 26, 27, 28, for the next agility trial in Lake Charles, where I SINCERELY HOPE AND PRAY THAT WE EARN OUR EXCELLENT TITLES: XA and XAJ.  We only need 1 Q in each, but I will not be cocky. I will enter us in EVERY run we can enter, that will be 3 in each class.  I have learned my lesson, dear God, do you hear me???????? No more over-confidence.

Camper Issues:
We had a problem with the trailer's crank handle this trip.  I had absentmindedly draped the chains over it when hooking the tongue up to the back of the car, so when we got to Kiln the crank handle was bent in so far it wouldn't clear the shaft.  When John tried to straighten it, it broke off.  We both had to bounce and bounce and strain hard to lift the trailer tongue off the ball and move it sideways enough to clear.  Then there was no way to level the camper except with the feet.  Before leaving, I was fortunate enough to find a strong man to help me hitch the trailer back up to the car. Back at home, John was unable to replace the wheel assembly because someone had welded it onto the tongue, but he was able to remove the handle itself.  But he found out the company is out of business and there is no comparable replacement.  I finally found a welder on O'Neal Lane who, for $5, welded the broken pieces back together.  Whew!  That was a bargain. We need to spray paint it and put it back on.

I am pondering how to build a portable privacy screen to place around the pottie chair so it can be used outside.  I've been going thru all kinds of designs in my mind, from PVC and fabric, to just clamping a tarp to the existing awning and canvas support poles.  I want something that goes up and down easy, doesn't take up much space, is lightweight, weatherproof, and wind won't knock it down. I would like it not to look totally "red neck", either.

No comments: