As winter in Texas sees temperatures plummeting to a brisk 50 degrees, it’s the perfect cue for me to warm things up with the return of the Wednesday Wrap Up! I’m happy to announce that our weekly conversations are back, just as the holiday season twinkles into view. Let’s bundle up in the spirit of togetherness and talk dog agility!
UKI U.S. Open
I recently had the privilege of providing commentary alongside Kama Rueschenberg at the UKI U.S. Open in Jacksonville, Florida. Featuring 1024 dogs and 6 rings, the event was live streamed by 4LeggedFlix from November 15-19, 2023. You can still purchase the Video On Demand (VOD) for $50. This includes all preliminary rounds from each ring in addition to the nightly finals (only the finals have commentary). CLICK HERE FOR FULL RESULTS
I’ll start my wrap up by saying that Kama was extraordinary in the booth. Her past experience at the U.S. Open and World Agility Open (WAO) provided invaluable insight into her commentary. Livestream viewers loved her positive comments and clear explanations of the scoring and rules for events like Gamblers and Biathlon.
The level of competition at the event was remarkable. Many top handler-dog teams participated, showcasing their skills in spite of challenging weather conditions. Impressively, the event still ran on schedule or even early each day. The finals, which included Speedstakes, Biathlon Agility, Games, Team Relay, and the National Final, were held indoors at the end of the day on meticulously groomed dirt. These courses, often extending beyond 250 yards, bore a distinct European influence, especially evident in the memorable courses designed by Hungarian judge Tamas Traj.
In talking with competitors at the event, I learned that the challenging nature of these courses was a major draw for them. These courses, larger and more varied than those typically seen at AKC events, presented new challenges that gave them a lot to work on in training for next year. Interestingly, these were not just the elite competitors focused on international events. Many were trying UKI for the first time, and were regular competitors from either USDAA or AKC.
Dog agility has always been about more than just the chance to win ribbons and gain recognition. It’s about the challenge, the personal growth with one’s dog, and the community spirit. UKI, which brands itself as an organization ‘for competitors, by competitors,’ seems to be fulfilling this drive for novelty, challenge, and fun.
Holiday Movies: Love Hard
And now I need to hear your opinions. Is Die Hard a legitimate Christmas movie? Is Love Actually as terrible as I remember? What happens when you combine these two movies? Love Actually + Die Hard = Love Hard.
While Love Actually features charming British accents and a confusingly large cast where everyone is somehow connected, Die Hard showcases Bruce Willis making “Yippee-Ki-Yay” cool and walking on glass better than anyone else. Cross these two streams, and you get Love Hard, a romantic comedy that’s less about Santa and more about unexpected plot twists and questionable life choices. By the way, did you know that Die Hard has been preserved in the U.S. Library of Congress due to its cultural significance?
The movie subtly debates whether it’s actually a Christmas film or just a love story that happens to have a Christmas tree in the background. It’s like arguing if Die Hard is a Christmas movie because there’s an office party and some tinsel, or if Love Actually is just a series of awkward romantic encounters that could happen any time of the year but just so happen to be during the festive season.
I’ll let you decide, but Hannah enjoyed watching it again (the movie was released in 2021), so I think we may have just added Love Hard to the 1964 Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer in our family Pantheon of Christmas movies.
This Week’s Podcast
Bad Dog Agility podcasts are back, and Jennifer, Sarah, and I hope to release a new episode every Tuesday. In this week’s episode, Sarah interviews Sammi Flynn who is the creator of the AKC agility course maps Facebook group, a fantastic resource for agility enthusiasts. The fascinating (and highly useful) goal of this group is to archive every AKC agility map from every trial.
Sneak Peek: Next Week’s Podcast
Next Tuesday, we’ll be posting podcast #325 where we talk with UKI co-founder Greg Derrett about the inaugural UKI North American Invitational. But before you delve into the podcast, here’s an important reminder: the deadline to submit your entry for the Invitational is fast approaching on December 17th. The event will be filled using a seeded draw, your UKI results determine your seed. However there is also a group “L” for participants who haven’t yet competed or placed in the relevant UKI events.
Remember to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with your thoughts on Die Hard and Love Actually! And if there’s a good Christmas movie you’d like to share with me, I’ll add it to the list.