April 7, 2021

Episode 280: NAC Wrap-Up with Judge Tim Verrelli

In this episode (1:08:22)

In this episode, Sarah and Esteban welcome special guest Tim Verrelli, judge of the AKC National Agility Championship Finals. Podcast co-host Jennifer Crank doubles as a special guest as she won the 16″ Finals at this event.

You Will Learn

  • Who won the NAC and PNAC titles this year.
  • Which podcast participant has been doing agility the longest.
  • What breeds Tim has run in agility.
  • When Tim designed the Finals course.
  • Why Esteban loved the Finals course.
  • What obstacle replaces the chute in AKC.
  • How Jennifer won her 2nd NAC in 3 years with P!nk with the fastest time in all heights.
  • How the ESPN broadcast affected the Finals.
  • Why ESPN cut 10 dogs out of the Finals broadcast on ESPN2.
  • How livestream comments about preferred dogs created a controversy.
  • When and where the Premier Cup will take place.

Mentioned/Related

Watch Jennifer and P!nk

Listening to bad dog agility, bringing you training tips, interviews and news about the great sport of dog agility. I'm Jennifer I'm Esteban and I'm Sarah. And this is episode 280 today's podcast is brought to you by hidden board.com and the new Teeter TeachIt and easy to use tool that controls the amount of tip on your Teeter. So you can introduce motion to your dog in a gradual way,

go to hit board.com for the new Teeter, teach it and other agility, training tools and toys. He's discount code BDA tend to get 10% off your order. That's hidden board.com today. We're doing the wrap-up podcast for the AKC national agility championship. So that's the American kennel club and we have two very special guests to help us do that. Our first guest is actually a regular a co-host here on the podcast.

Of course it's bad dog agility instructor, Jennifer crank the 16 inch winner at this year's nationals. Jennifer. Welcome. Welcome. Welcome. Excited to be back again this time, almost more as a guest versus a cohost. Don't worry. We're going to put you to work as a cohost guest and the host, and you will be hosting our second special guests.

The judge who designed one of the, in my mind, legendary now, AKC nationals, finals courses, Tim Vareli, Tim. Welcome to the podcast. Good to be here, guys. All right, well, let's get right to it. Tim. Tell us a little bit about yourself, your dogs, your personal history with the sport of dog agility.

Okay. Well, I've been involved in the sport of dog agility since 1993, basically. Wow. My wife was involved with it with her Springer spaniel who just adored me. She was having problems getting through a jumpers course at the time and I made the stupidest comment. Any man can ever make was, well, why don't you let me try. How hard could it be?

Wow. You know, this story is familiar. I don't know where I've heard it before. I feel it in my bones. They announced it during the preferred part of the, the championship run runs. But so I went out, healed him around the course qualified and she handed him to me and says, okay, he's yours now. So that's where I started.

Then I became a USDA judge in 95 and an AKC judge in 2006. I've judged in all the States in the United States, plus several distinct countries, Costa Rica, Mexico, Canada, Bermuda, Spain, Australia. So I have a lot of background That is amazing over the course of this long and storied career. Would you say that you're judging more now or less now compared to earlier in your career and how much,

how much trialing do you typically do Trialing? I still do quite a bit trialing. I do once or twice a month. Even during these, these current times, judging has slowed down a little bit just because things go in circles with judging, you get the flavor of the month. Do I just plus all the new judges come out and then they get a lot of things and then they go,

Oh, let's go back to some of the older judges. But so I judged about once a month, typically. Interesting, very interesting. And what kind of dogs are you running now and have you run over, you know, these 20, 20, some odd years. Okay. Currently I'm running three Scottish terriers and occasionally my wife allows me to run her Tumi and,

or her moody before that I had a giant schnauzer before that I had the Springer Spaniels. So I've competed in almost every height. There is. Wow. That is super interesting moody. That's also very cool. Does your wife also judge? Yes. My wife also judges, that was one of the reasons we went to Australia is because they could do it two for one bring to bring a couple,

they both judge. And that's how we got the Australia gig. That's awesome. That is very cool. All right. Well, let's talk. I just want to like jump right into jump right into these finals. How does the AKC figure out which judge does the finals? Can you, is that something that you're able to tell us here on the podcast?

Is it drawing straws out of a hat? Well, I can tell you that the majority of this year's judging crew was actually supposed to be doing last year's this course, or the courses I designed for this year were actually the course that I designed for last year, which I made some tweaks after last year's fell apart. And ironically AKC came out and asked,

you know, when everything was, was going offline, they were saying, Hey, can we just put out your courses? So they could do virtual at home and everybody was hemming and hawing about it. And I basically said, no, I don't want my course out because I want to see it run. I spent a lot of time on this course and I wanted to see it run and not just have everybody do it at home because it just wouldn't be the same.

I do know that there was some political moving around, but I think I got the nod because I have the international experience I had just judged earlier the EO team tryouts. And so they wanted something a little, a little different when it came to the finals this year or that year. And now this year. Yeah, there are a lot of things I really liked about the finals.

And I think at this point, I want to turn it over to Jennifer A. Little bit. I want to hear your on the final course, especially the course design the issues that are presented to you as a competitor, and then have you and Tim kind of walked through, you know, the, the, what, I guess what I would call the key points in the course,

I thought in general, the courses this year were more difficult than I was expecting. I felt very guilty for under preparing my students for the quantity of basically the quantity of backsides and threadle, and, and they were very traditional backsides in the sense that a lot of two seventies, but In the preliminary round, I'm just talking Courses in general, just for the courses in general,

I thought that they were harder than, than years past, which personally I was okay with. But like I said, I felt, I felt, I felt like I under prepared my students for them looking at challengers round in challengers round with Swift, I had to do two threadle and the backside, which I thought was a lot for what we are traditionally used to an AKC.

So by the time we got to finals, I was, I was ready for anything. Right. We'd gotten through all these other courses that were much harder than I was prepared for. Obviously I'm a fan of the final sports. I ran two dogs on it. Both of them were clean and take ended up winning, but I thought there was very good consistency of the courses in all of the rounds,

like the preliminary rounds, the premiere course, I really liked the premiere course on a Friday. I thought it presented appropriate challenges without being like too much. And I do know that there's a lot of talk of like, you know, invitational courses will be different than nationals courses. And I thought they were. I just think I under under-prepared in that regard,

although I did set up one of Tim's your EO, speaking of judging EO, one of your EO courses to try to prep for nationals. And then so for the finals course, I thought, I think of there being a lot of things that happen on finals courses, whether or not the judges intend to or not. But I like courses that you're going to see handler variety.

Like I don't want to go to finals and watch 75 people run the exact same plan. Like I want to see changes in plan. I want to see a little strategy, so not just execution, but strategy as well. And it included that I think, you know, good crowd appeal is when you have something maybe a little technical at the end,

right. Everybody's sitting on the edge of their seats right up until the very end, you know, so things that don't require super long lead outs, nobody wants to sit there and watch seventy-five people do a three jump lead out. So like all of those elements that I think of is making up really good final sources were there. And what I liked about this particular final sports is it really did test the handling as opposed to a course.

And I would say this in any round, but especially finals, of course, that comes down to, well, can the dog keep the bars up and make the contacts I got on? Like, versus that it's just down to that. I like forces that are going to be combination of trained skill, like contacts, we pull entries and jumping, but also handling.

And I thought, this course did that. Right? You had crosses after the A-frame, which says A-frame good that we full entry discrimination off the dogwalk those all testing skills, but also handling a lot of choices coming out of that tiny tunnel on the end, what people wanted to do there, the section right there on five, six, seven. So I thought it was kind of the perfect blend of skill and handling.

And those are kind of some of the things that I looked at, why I liked that course so much. Yeah. I really liked that skill element that you mentioned there, because I think it's definitely possible where you get courses, you know, everybody runs it the same way and then it's kind of the fastest dog wins, right. Who happens to have the dog with the most speed and it kind of removes that handler element.

Yeah. So I don't, I don't really like that. So Tim, you've now heard from the, the champ, the now two time champ, right. With pink. So now you've won the national jewelry championship twice on top of the, I think three Westminster wins need to keep track you're winning all the time. Okay. And so she's kind of gone through the course here.

And so were these some things that you had in mind when you were putting this course together? Okay. Well, first off I do have to say when they asked me to design it, the first thing they said to me was don't give them a boring finish. Don't just do like, you know, dogwalk finish it off. So the first thing I designed on this course was actually that ending.

I really wanted to see what choices people would make and would they do the right things for their, for their dogs. And you saw that in, in the running, you know, as dogs took 17, you know, it was fine, whichever way you went, if you handled it, 17 was the jump after the straight title, but then you can sit and just in your mind count,

as you saw dogs go really wide and you're like, okay, you may have faster ground speed, but you just wasted two seconds on your 17 turn. And then you're really wide on 18 to 19 and you have two more seconds. So somebody who's efficient can pick up four seconds on you. And that's what I really wanted with this course, with that challenge that there and also the whole five,

six, seven was how are you going to handle it? What path are you going to pick? And is it going to work for your dog? Right. Right. I love the options because that's where you generate that variety and handling. Even when you do something as basic as what do they call it, the bi-directional jumps or tunnels where you can choose one way or the other.

Right. And I think they did have some of that in the preliminary rounds. I think there was a bi-directional jump in that challenge. I think there was a bi-directional jump. There was actually hybrid hybrid. Yeah. Jump number two of hybrid W was, was interesting. And, and that's one thing that we've tried pushing more is, you know, bi-directional jumps,

shouldn't just be about, Oh, well, I don't have to judge a refusal. There, there should be some sort of an advantage by going one way or the other. If you take it straight within, you have to deal with whatever comes after. If you push for the backside the harder before, then it should be easier after. So the same thing here is,

you know, I found it very interesting. Some of the dogs, Andrea, for instance, with her Pappy on when she went five, you know, she specifically asked me, I'm going to have a problem. If I turn them in and go towards the dogwalk and then push for another backside, they go, you're not on the approach to six doesn't matter what you do go for it.

So it was just interesting to see the different handling styles for that entire sequence, that five, six, seven. Yeah. Did you anticipate as the, so it's a challenge in and of itself without the draw of the dogwalk, but the draw of the dogwalk adds another layer onto that. And we saw a lot of dogs at least head for that.

Dogwalk I'm not sure that any actually took it, but they, So that dogwalk Oh, several dogs too. So was, was that in your mind as the course designer or was that like, That was just an added bonus. I didn't really expect it to be that much of an issue, but it was an added bonus. So my question on number five is,

did you go out of your way to make that a five foot bar or was that just the bars that they used and therefore it was a five foot bar that was just the bars they had because I, that was what got me is I train on four foot bars and it was split. I didn't get, I didn't get, I didn't get out of the way.

Like I am running through and thinking, why did I have so much difficulty at the point I needed to step up where I thought I'd be for the blind, the wing was there. So I had to take an extra step to my right, and then I missed the blind and I, you know, that's, that's on me, right. Training on shorter bars because the shorter bars are harder for the dog.

So that's what I do. But the bigger bars being harder for the handler. So, you know, my friend Abby telling me, she's like, if that would have been a shorter bar, you would have been fine, but we didn't do enough training on this big jumps. And it was just in your way. So I wasn't sure if they just told you,

Hey, we're using five foot bars, or if you went out of your way to make that one, a big jump, To be honest, I didn't even check to see what length bars I'm just so used to everybody using five foot bars. Now that I just assumed it was going to be a five foot ball. Well, it was a nice added challenge.

I will say. That is super interesting because we typically had a, I think five foot bars for years. And then when we realized that they were still using four foot bars, in some places, we actually had to go back and train with four-foot bars to help our dogs out. And then I was like, Ooh, it is easier to get around on some of these backside,

SERP type maneuvers, what we're going to do for everyone who's listening. Because sometimes it's it's, if you haven't seen the course map, right. It's kind of hard to know what we're talking about. So what we're going to do is in the show notes, there's going to put up the course map, the original course map. And I had done like a,

like a preview analysis of the course map. We'll go ahead and throw that up. We did that for VIP members, but we'll just make that publicly available. So you guys can see some of the things that we're talking about, and that was before any dogs ran to looking at the course before, without knowing. Yeah. So, so this is where I think Tim,

you get a lot of credit because when I'm looking at a course, I typically feel like I've got all the answers, whatever level it is. Right. You know, we spent a lot of time looking at courses, breaking them down, running, and training and all that stuff. Right. But I got there to that end spot and I was like,

you know, I don't really know the best way to take the dog here. Now. Obviously the way, the way the map is the way the course set up a little bit different. But my conclusion at the end of my analysis was there, you know, I got to get out there and walk this course to really think about which line is going to be the best to close out again,

getting, getting those options. And we saw so many, there was, there was a big division amongst the handlers, right? Some turn the dog right over that job. Others turned the dog left. It wasn't like everybody went one way and then like one or two random people went, the other, like, there's a pretty good split between the two,

but if that's going to make people like me, think, I think that's really, that's really a good course design. And the other thing that's kind of related to that is you had to the two fastest times, right. The 20 inch winner. Right. Which just guys, you and hallelujah. Right. And Jennifer here with pink and the 16 inch class,

they both ran clean in one, but they both ran other dogs right. In the finals that did not get through the course clean. Right. You got them. Right. Some of these things I thought of was clean, just not well, okay. Yeah. Okay. That's fair. Jessica actually ran three dogs in that 20 inch And Bailey didn't make the televised the,

well, we'll talk about the televised broadcast in a bit. She also ran optimist and I actually was curious when they, when they did it, I looked to see, and she was actually a second faster with hallelujah coming out of the straight tunnel than optimist when she had the problem with the, with the refusal that she got at the next jump. So how Lou,

you still would've won, even if optimists had been cleaned at that. Cause she had a good second, but that also comes from the third time running and she's like, you know, partly gassed, partly winded. Right, right. Yeah. Yeah. But yeah, but my point is that yes, these two handlers, you know, they crushed it,

but also before they crushed it, they didn't crush it, you know, such was the, the, the level of the course, you know, just having those really interesting elements where I'm not saying anybody was confounded, but I'm just saying it was not an easy course to get through. And I think it made for really a great viewing. So I think the other thing I was thinking about this today,

about what I liked about this course, I mean, there, there are like five different parts of this course that we could talk about that one of the other great aspects was the big long sections that let the dog really show their speed and also challenged the handler. Another interesting spot on the course that I really liked was after they do the A-frame, they have the,

the number nine job, and then they have to turn sharply to the triple a Jessica and Jennifer were all over that turn, right. Working really hard to control that term. But we saw what felt like a million dogs take the, the back number 19 off course, right. Where they turn, you know, the handlers calling them or their, their rear crossing or whatever the handler's doing.

But they end up taking that extra jump. Did you know it was this like a dogwalk situation? Did you know that was going to be a huge trap there? That one, I knew that he was going to be a problem because I just had a feeling that if people weren't handling that well enough and not anticipating and telling the dog, Hey, you're taking this jump and we're immediately turning,

you're going to go wide and they were going to get some really weird things. Yep. Yeah, absolutely. So do you sit there? I imagine as a judge. Okay. I know as an instructor that sometimes when I'm putting together things and like running my hands together in Gilead, thinking about what do you do that just a little bit, just a little bit,

Not when I'm designing, cause I'm not trying to be devious, but when you see something that actually comes out and you go, yeah, that's good. I mean, I've always had a philosophy with agility with other things is that, you know, you're out there, you and your, your dog. And I think if your dog is a sports car,

you buy yourself a sports car, you better know how to drive it. So you're going to get some of these spots. You better know how to give them directions and tell them what they're going to do before they take off. So they know what they're doing once they land. And that's why I loved that sequence specifically on this. Yeah, absolutely.

And one of the very cool things is you've got people setting up this course. There were people that set it up the same day and were posting on Facebook. We set up the ending the same day. Right. We, we, we set up, we set up the ending just because I really wanted to see like, which way was going to be faster.

And I think, well, I mean, we'll have a post about that. Some other time taking a closer look at that. Okay. One more thing about the finals course and here I'm gonna throw it to Jen because I, this whole time, I thought I had learned this from Sarah, but it turned out Sarah Linder from Jen. So I just want to go to the original source.

People may or may not notice that the number 16 tunnel is not of full, big, old, regular 20 foot straight tunnel. It's actually a little bit short. Jennifer, can you tell us a little bit about that? Well, when they first removed the shoot several years ago, we saw the removal of the shoot and then it was just gone and it disappeared.

But around the same time, we started to see on a lot of other courses, international courses, other organizations, these short 10 foot tunnels. And I said, I bet what's going to start to happen. People judges are Going to take the short, straight tunnel and replace it with the shoe. And if I'm correct and Tim would know better than this,

I think, you know, some of the organizations even encouraged it and said, you know, where you would normally for the shoot throw in this straight tunnel. So we're AKC would previously say to tunnel passes. They actually allow three tunnel passes. Now, if one of them is a short, straight tunnel, it doesn't have to be straight, but it can't be bent past a certain degree.

It has to be like a 45 degree turn or less. I don't know, it's a very soft event, but this tiny tunnel, this short tunnel that almost is there to replace what was previously the shoot. Yeah. First of all, I would never put a shoot there because then I would've been stuck straightening it, but yeah, Jen is right.

I mean, the biggest reason that we add or use the, the 10 foot tunnel now is because it's the one tunnel that we can have, or it actually can be straight. AKC is pretty stringent to check, to see both the entry and the exit on tunnels. That's why you won't see a straight 20 foot tunnel normally on course, because you have to see the entry and the exit.

So you'll see these with light bends, with the exception of the 10 foot tunnel, they let us do that. One of the things I always find interesting with, with straight tunnels or with tunnels in them is handlers. Don't think about the fact of what the dog actually sees in the tunnel because when the dog is coming out of a tunnel, we're going in.

As soon as the dog goes straight into that tunnel, they see 17, they know where they're going, but the handlers don't think about what the dog sees until they see the dog. And it's like, okay, but the dog has been key on this next jump. Since before I went in, after it cleared, you know, the jump back,

which was, you know, the five 15 combination. So Yeah, and that was a new edition. I just looked it up in the judge's blog. And that was like October, 2019 that they began allowing that. And that, that's what I remember, Jennifer. I remember listening to one of her like instructional videos and she was like, this is now allowed.

And I think you're going to start seeing it in local trials. And then here we are at the finals and there's that a short tunnel. So kudos to Jennifer for recognizing, you know, the trend on the horizon and then being prepared for it here, The short, straight tunnels. It's fun. They're fine. We train them a lot. And I,

you know, I like the safety of them. They're light, they're visible dogs. Don't aren't slipping and wiping out as much. So I'm a fan, Tim. I think you just made some equipment companies, some, some dollars. I turned to Sarah. I was like, we need to get this 10 foot tunnel. Like, we're not just going to shorten up one of our longer tunnels.

Like I want a legit 10 foot tunnel Because you also want to think, and this is something else you don't think about. If you take any of the longer tunnels and you try squishing them down, you really making it harder on the small dogs because you're compressing all that wire inside. And now they're running instead of being a little on, basically the,

the fabric of the, of the tunnel they're having to hit those wire ribs the entire way through. That's a really great point because I was like, okay, we can just start in our tunnel and we have big dogs or, you know, a small dog. It's a must maybe even for the larger dog. Yeah. I think you definitely need to get the,

the short tunnel in there. All right. So Tim, let me kind of zoom out a little bit, get a little more general with you for a second. What do you think? Well, okay. Let me start with AKC nationals because it's such a big event, a little bit Westminster as well. I think of them as kind of top-down events where the things you see there,

people say, and the things that people struggle with, people say, okay, over this next year, I'm going to work on these things, right? So Jennifer feels, she underprepared her students. I guarantee you next year, they're going to be over-prepared right. So they're going to be attacking these elements. They're going to seek out trials and judges who are putting up elements like this,

or similar to this. So it can be very impactful on kind of where agility goes over the, over the next year. So when you look at the longer arc of say, you know, maybe the last a year or two, and I do understand that, you know, the pandemic and fewer trials and all that's changed a little bit, and then looking into the future,

you bring out your crystal ball year or two, like what kind of general trends do you think you're seeing specifically in the American kennel club? Th that's a tough question. I think that you'll start seeing more technical courses that aren't as, as vanilla cookie cutter. I mean, everybody loves those, but they're kind of boring after a while you we've all run the same courses over and over and over again.

And the one thing I've heard from everybody that went to nationals was they really enjoyed that they had to step up their game. And I think that's what we're going to start seeing, especially with the trend and push more, everybody's going for the agility grand champion and you need the premier legs. And that is you start going to see some of these more,

somewhat technical, but also, you know, just let's see what you and your dog can do. The sport is evolved. Let's evolve as well. Interesting. Yeah. I think as a group, agiley competitors like to be challenged, right? They like to step up. It's why we're in the sport. We find interesting things, you know, and no disrespect to obedience,

but like old school of BDA was kind of the same routine. Right. And you did it a couple of times and then you would get a title, but agility, like that's what was so cool about it. Way back when, you know, like every course is different and people are like, Oh, you know, it's always different. It's always something new,

but you make the very good point. Like everyone here on this podcast, right. Has been around this sport, like basically 20 years plus. Right. So we've kind of been around the block. You've seen just about everything. And so for me to look at this course map, and I remember getting the Course, I woke up and they're like,

is the course map and posted. And then when it was, I was like, Whoa, I'm really excited about this course map. Definitely got to watch the finals. I'm I'm glad Jennifer made it. So that's an exciting thing. I think like an infusion of enthusiasm when people are challenged. And so, you know, agility, I feel like it needs to constantly evolve to meet the demands,

meet the challenges that people want. Right. And I feel like maybe we're, we're transitioning a little bit because with the, like it's been awhile since premiere was introduced. Right. And so I feel like when it first came out, it was kind of like this extra class, you know, some number of people were doing it, but not in general,

all the masters dogs. Right. And, and now I feel like we're transitioning into being more seen as a regular part of agility and, and you have new dogs coming up that are now being prepared for that from the very beginning and how like the puppies are trained for, for instance. Right. And so I think that we're going to see a transition from the,

Oh, that's kind of the new thing, you know, maybe I'll do that. Maybe I won't to, to people just expecting that they're going to compete, you know, on those courses. And at that level, I mean, when we think about just nationals before there was premier and IFC, there was the state championship. Right. Who remembers that?

Right. I remember it, but it seems like a really long time ago that we did the state championship. So that just kind of gives you an idea of how long this has been around how long, you know, premiere has been a part of the national championships. For instance, I think they said 24th champion. And I agree because we're, we're seeing a shift in that not only is premier now part of the grand championship as Tim mentioned,

but, you know, we saw the rule change. It used to be, you had to be in masters to do premiere and AKC said, okay, no, any dog, you know, sort of, they're allowing dogs to start at younger. And then I was going to comment about nationals. You know, it was the state team tournament. Then if you recall,

winter time to be right. So Friday format used to be time to beat. And then they said, you know what, let's throw premiere in. So we are seeing a shift from AKC and from the, I think that the demands and comments of the exhibitors as well to make premiere more regular, right? It's not this specialty class, but now you can say,

Oh, I'm going to the trial. And I'm going to enter four classes, or I'm going to enter five where it used to be like I'm going to do standard and jumpers and may be a gain. So I, a hundred percent agree that we're seeing that shift. And just as I mentioned, the courses this year, having a stronger tendency, even in the preliminary rounds of the backsides,

and then the challenge is having the backsides and the threadle. So I agree a hundred percent that we're going to see less vanilla. I use that term a lot. So I liked that Tim, when you mentioned that less vanilla cookie cutter courses and a little bit more variety, make, make handlers, have the skills and make them think a little bit in strategy.

And, and I'll say Just in, on vanilla's behalf that I enjoy vanilla is my favorite flavor of ice cream, but I understand your point very, very well. Okay. Now I want to talk a little bit about the broadcast because I happen to know about Jennifer and Tim have watched it, I'm guessing because they wanted to see what they look like on TV.

So, which is fabulous, which is fabulous. Fabulous. So Tim, let me, let me start there. You know, you're going to be on TV and did that affect your wardrobe and, and shoe selection? Were you conscious of that? Well, no. We were told what we had to wear so that I had to wear khaki pants.

I knew that I had to wear a blue blazer with a shirt and a tie and I haven't worn a tie in, you know, eight years. So I had to find ties that fit. I was just glad and looking at at the, at the broadcast. And I had some people say, well, I didn't really notice you. And I go,

dad and I did my job as a judge, unless you just noticed that I was walking in the background, then I wasn't in the way I did my job. And that's all that matters. Right, right. Oh, I had a quick question. I was wondering, where did they position? The second judge who was spotting the dogwalk? Were they in the ring or were they were Outside the break?

Because when I was wondering about that, was it Marco ran, the other side, ran the other side and he had said too, he actually said to Carrie, the young, the director, they can see that he was planning on going that. So we positioned the other judge outside the ring so that there were no obstructions for anybody that decided to go.

I mean, that was an interesting spot too. I, I, I, I would like to talk with Margo about it when they went to the outside, I was like, Whoa, I was surprised. And it's hard to surprise me. It's hard to surprise me. Okay. Very cool. Very cool. And then, so let's talk a little bit about the broadcast.

Everybody had a chance to watch it. What were some of the things that we liked about the broadcast? Let me start with, well, before we get to that, let's just highlight the fact that this was on TV TV. We're not talking about a live stream. This was on ESPN, ESPN, ESPN, the deuce that's right. As it's affectionately known among sports fans spend a lot of time on ESPN,

right. And this is a trend that we're seeing. So, you know, quick, quick little history lesson on broadcasting agility, right. It used to be like a decade ago, right. They used to put the national championship on animal planet. That's where we were introduced to agility more than 20 years ago. Right. It was on animal planet.

Then it wasn't on TV for years and years and years, and Westminster really brought that back. But they were on Fox sports. One, they put the invitational on animal planet as well for a year or two. Yes, exactly. Yeah. Nationals. And they invitational. Then, then, you know, really it was, it was a big deal to have it on Fox sports,

one with Westminster and, and it's been on Fox sports one for several years. And now they were drawing between 800,000 and over a million. Yeah. I mean, it was, you were getting a lot of viewers and these, obviously these, the majority of these viewers are not agility competitors. So we're having more people introduced to the sport and we think that's a great thing.

Right. But this year it switched or there, there was a new agreement between AKC and ESPN. And so now ESPN is going to for the next several years, hold these events and they're showing nationals, I believe they're going to be showing the premier cup. And so, yeah, so they had this agreement. And so this was kind of the debut or the re debut of the national agility championship on network TV.

Right. Right. It's a big deal. I think it was for five years. And what we'll do is we'll link to that article describing the deal of the contract between ESPN and the American kennel club. And so what they do is they have a live stream, right. So you could watch the challengers round on the live stream. You could watch the preferred finals on the live stream and also see the regular finals on the live stream.

But it is only the regular finals that was broadcast on television. Correct. Right on ESPN two. So you watch it on Sunday, live on the live stream. And then they did a lot of editing, which was a good thing because the live stream was really rough for the vinyl. Right. And then watch it on, I guess it was Wednesday.

So like two nights ago, right on ESPN two, two hour broadcast loaded with commercials. Of course. But yeah, let's talk about what we'd like. So I liked that they had it certainly right. It's on cable TV. Yeah. That a lot of people could get access to it. Let me start with Jennifer then. Jennifer, what were your thoughts on the broadcast?

The good, the bad. A lot of the similarities I noticed on this broadcast from Westminster, which is as an agility person, everything is just a little bit too zoomed in, right. It's a little bit too close and it's very hard to get an overall picture of what's happening. I heard an exhibitor say that they were watching the preferred from in their car and they had no idea what the course is.

They weren't finalists until they got down there and walked it. Now, I think what that does to the average person watching is it makes it super exhilarating, super exciting. The dogs are going fast. You have those camera angles in the tunnel. So I think as an exhibitor, we kind of have to step back. I saw a lot of complaining and,

and, and look at it from both perspectives. So while personally I would have preferred a more panned out view. It's not all about me, right? I mean, they're not putting it on ESPN to as much for the exhibitors as for everyone else. And they want to make it fun. And they want to show a diverse group of dogs. I'd diverse group of handlers,

Heights, breed, sizes, speeds, all that. So personally I would have loved them to zoom out a little bit and have a better idea, you know, of what the, the course was. But I think they do a good job of like on the heartbreaks, talking about the history of the sport or highlighting some of the dogs, those,

those special stories, I think are a nice added bonus that they add in. I know at the beginning they did like the pen to 3d. CRCD where they take you through the course, which is kind of, kind of cool. So I think there's a lot of great things about it. I, unfortunately I know they have to cut some dogs out so they didn't show every dog.

That's always kind of a bummer for those people that were cut and I do feel bad for them, but I thought it was very similar having the experience of Westminster. I thought it was very similar. So for me having a little experience, I thought it was, it was, you know, a match. We had Terry announcing the same, you know,

but for somebody that was new and different, I could see where there would be some, you know, change things that they might recommend changes on. Right. Right. Tim, what do you think about the camera angles? Because those tight shots pretty much, it really destroys your airtime. You know, if they're going to be focusing on the dogs and the obstacle,

how are we ever going to see the judge? Well, I understand that, but I mean, what the, the home viewer wants to see is the dog. I know that the competitors want to see what the handler is doing, but the home competitors don't, I mean, the home viewers don't care about that. They want to see the dog.

So I completely understand why everything is tight on the dog. One of the things I think is funny is that, you know, when we're we're taping it, we know they're going to edit it. So why are we taking these big, long pauses for commercial breaks when they're just going to edit an inserted in any way? Right. Don't understand that because,

Oh, my grade, during the event, during the event, you know, that's why it did take two hours to run, you know, the finals, when it was, you know, 90 dogs or none, a lot faster, it would have been nice because first of all, for the competitor sake, you're trying to get ready to go,

but it's, you're like, you never really know when you're going to go in and that's gotta be really tough on, on, not as experienced handlers, like, like Jen she's used to it, you know, she can go at it at a moment's notice, but also as a judge, you get into a rhythm and you want to keep going,

so you don't want to go, Oh, let me slow down. Oh yeah, this is a next to, this is a really fast dog I gotta be on with, you know, I want to just keep judging what I think wouldn't be really cool if ESPN would ever do it was if you ever walk, if you watch the foreleg and flicks,

they had a very good view and their videos were pretty good. Be great to have a, the broadcast what they're doing, but then do a picture and picture, which either showed you an overhead view, which you could easily do. You could Mount a camera up in the rafters, and then you can just, you could see where they were on the corpse the entire time and get that perspective,

or even use just the four legged flakes as a picture in picture. That would be what I would personally would love to see change in the future. But, you know, nobody asks me for my opinion. Well, I mean, that's a really good compromise. The other thing that I was thinking you could do is basically have a little wider out in some spots.

And you know, it's really the switching because when you switch from angle to angle, your mind has to reorient the course. And when you're switching just for a few seconds, and then you're switching again, your mind just never grasp it. Right? And so you can, you can switch like once or twice on a, on a big, broad view.

But what I was thinking they could do is, you know, zoom out a little bit as your, is your basic shot and then have your tight tunnel replay. The slow-mo right. That's where you really get in on the dog. They typically do it with like the contacts. Did they get the contact Right after the dog finishes running, they always had like a replay shot.

And so using those shots to play shot, right. And you can be very focused in, on the dog or the dye jumping in the handler's arms or the dogs weaving, you know, changing it up for each dog. Like maybe you do a rotation we're going to do we've tunnel dogwalk down, jumping into the arms and then repeating that cycle, you know,

for, for each dog, I think something like that would be, Well, the other thing that I wanted to point out. So, so actually I'm sure that Jennifer and Tim didn't watch the live broadcast. Right? They were, they were, Tim definitely didn't watch it. Right. Cause he was in the ring. Jen, maybe you caught a little bit,

but you know, mostly you're getting ready. We watched the entire live broadcast. And then we also watched the entire one that was on ESPN. And let me tell you the edited version. And let me tell anybody who was so excited about nationals, that they were watching the live stream. The edited version was significantly better because when you think about it,

you know, when I was thinking about it later, when they're doing it live, when they would cut the from camera view to camera view, there has to be somebody saying, okay, cut to camera two. Okay. Cut to camera three. Right. And they weren't always right, right on. Right. Sometimes you would see like an empty tunnel for a few seconds and then they would go,

you know, which camera is it? You know? And there were many, many moments like that, but in the edited version, all of that went away because you can, you can go back to the original footage and you can switch right where you want to. And so it really was much better. And I think some of the views were a little bit more zoom.

They used, cause I'm sure they had footage from like every angle. And so they replaced some of the most egregious spots with better views. And I, and I thought the final broadcast was a lot easier to follow than the live was. Right. Right. And next on the broadcast, I do want to talk about the, the people who were involved late during the commentary.

So as Jennifer pointed out, Terry Simons is back. So he doing, he has been doing the Westminster broadcast and that's for Fox. And so now he's doing this for ESPN, which is a different network, which I think is pretty interesting. Usually each network kind of has their own commenters and they don't, you know, work for other networks. So Terry provided the,

you know, the agility side, the agility expertise side. And then he worked alongside Carolyn Manno, M a N N O. Hopefully I said her name correctly. And the reporter, who's doing the interviews of the handlers after they run, you know, when they're all breathing really hard. And Jennifer was so good, Jennifer here, in fact, we'll see her smiling.

It was Tony Collins who did it and they're both messed up. So Jennifer, tell us a little bit about the interview that we'll like, what she asked and how hard you're breathing and what are your thoughts on that? I will never forget my first interview post Westminster. And it was the first time, you know, you'd come across the finish line,

they interview you. And I watched it back and I was like talking fast, breathing heavy. It was so awkward. And I, to this day, I'm embarrassed. So right away as I crossed the finish line, like without any hesitation, Harry's Carrie was like, go do your victory lap. I was like, Oh my gosh, I just got done running.

So I go to my victory lap and I walk right back. So now I've run the run and on the victory lap. And they're like, all right, interview time. And I just like stopped and did like yoga breathing. I was like, I'm just going to deep breathe, deep breaths, deep breaths, deep breaths. Because I knew I would be like panting so heavy in the interview.

So I worked really hard on not sounding like a really heavy breather through my mask. And after my run, it was, it was, yeah, it was definitely a moment I put some conscious effort into, but as far as the questions go, they were very generic. I felt like they were almost all the same questions to every exhibitor. You know,

I've had situations where they interview you and it was very run specific like, Oh, we saw, you know, you really got that tight turn on number 17. Tell us a bit about that, which I like, it's a little more personal. It wasn't tell us about your relationship. Great run out there. You know, what are your thoughts?

So I thought they were really generic, but as you already mentioned, it is the kind of first event of many that they're going to be doing. I have no doubt in my mind, they're going to learn. They're going to improve. They're going to make things better. And I think the fact that they even did interviews is awesome. You know,

they didn't have to, they could have easily just said, here's your winner, have the camera up and move on. So while I think it could use some tweaking, it was a good first effort. I'd like to see them make some changes as they go with regard to the questions, how each winter tell, you know, something specific about their run or their team,

you know, versus just that generic, how does it feel? Type of question. Right. Right. And, and the, and the person doing it. It's actually, she's been like a sports anchor. Right. So Tony Collins and she's very, very good. And I definitely want to see them do a little bit more prep. Right. Obviously they're going to be new to the sport,

but you're right. The more they do it. So let's say they bring a Tony on for the next several years. Right. She's going to be learning each year and getting better and hopefully studying the sport a little bit, because that's what we saw with Jen hail. Right. Jennifer Hale, who did the commentary for Westminster? Yes. Westminster and Fox sports.

Right. She, she interviewed, she did some, I think football, but she was doing a lot of basketball, like for the new Orleans pelicans and you're interviewing, they're like, you need to know something about the sport. Right. You need to be like, Oh, the challenge of today's game for you, Mr. Famous person, you know,

Anthony Davis was X. Tell me a little bit about that. And so that's where she was able to get those kinds of questions for Jennifer after she'd been around it at Westminster a little bit. And she kind of knew a little bit about dogwalk jelly. And so hopefully Tony Collins certainly we'll get there. You know, one thing I would like to add is Tony Collins or whoever the,

the reporter on the ground is maybe doing a quick interview with him. I was just thinking that I was literally just thinking that I was literally thinking about, they should have talked to the judge, Not about him, not about our love for Tim and his course design and bringing him on the podcast. This is about, I think it would enhance the,

the brighter, You know, the football Stadium doesn't change from game to game. Right. But the judge is an integral part of the experience here, you know, putting that together. So I guess it would be, I kind of like, I guess it's a little bit like talking to a coach, but it's just different. But the other thing I was going to say is like the benefit of experience,

like listening to Jennifer talk and she's like, well, the first time I was on network TV, blah, blah, blah. Right. But now I've been on network TV so many times that I, I, I put some conscious effort into how I appear. I think that's fantastic. It speaks to, it speaks to your illustrious career And agility.

Tim, how do you think judges would take that? Being interviewed, having to do a little like 32nd bit. Okay. The, the irony is judges. We take photos and we do that all the time, but we're always worried about looking stupid. So actually in the era of COVID wearing a mask, we don't worry about it. Cause I don't have to worry if my smile is stupid,

if I'm not smiling or any of that stuff, I did feel for, you know, Jen and the guys that, that just finished, you know, the, the last one that, that they're, you know, the, the top seated team they finish and to a T almost every one of them looked at me like, you want me to do what now?

Do a victory lap. No, I'm good. Now I got to do this, but they almost all look like, yeah, give me a second. And then I'll do my thing. Well, it's kind of funny, like, who are you doing it for? Because they cut it out of all of the broadcast and there's no spectators the event.

So There's really no need, I suppose, if you, you could, I think it's tradition. You know, It was actually a lot of people that were in the upper things. I mean, nobody was congregating, but there was still a lot of people more than like at the invitational where you were all on the first floor, there was no second floor you could get around.

And there was a lot more people around watching. Then you did it at say, you know, the invitational or I don't know what the setup is at West coast. What's the benefit of having made the finals. You get to stay in watch and all the workers and everything. Yeah. Yeah. Very interesting. Okay. I'll definitely put that down.

You know, I'm going to be doing kind of the wrap up article a wrap-up article for AKC nationalists, including a list of what I feel like, you know, maybe things they can consider for the following year and hopefully all the right people will read that. Okay. So I'm going to get now to the booth very quickly, because I think there's one thing that we do need to adjust.

And that's Carolyn Manno apparently made some comments about preferred dogs. So, you know, for, from her point of view, she doesn't know anything about the sport. So I, I'm not, I'm not blaming her. And the, and the comments I think that she made were along the lines of the, because remember they did the stream, so this never made it to ESPN today.

So those of you who only watched the ESPN two, have no idea what we're talking about because you just saw the regular finalist. But remember they also streamed the challenge around, right. And then the, the preferred national championship. And so they brought her on and her and Terry were doing commentary for the preferred national final on the live stream. Right.

So that never made it to TV or ESPN too, but they were there. And so something to the effect of that, you're not going to see the precision that you're going to see in the regular class. Basically the heavy implication there being the preferred dogs are not quite as good. There are cut below, obviously people who, not just people who ran it,

but I think a lot of people were deeply offended by this. And so from my perspective, having also done commentary for the live stream for four layer flicks with various people over the last several years until this whole AKC TV took over, she's getting a lot of the information as a newcomer to the sport, right? So she's never run a dog, right.

She'd probably never been to an agility trial. And so she's getting a lot of the information from Terry, from AKC, from listening to comments and things like that. So it really, I don't blame her so much. I think when we look at this, rather than saying, you know, she said this horrible mean thing, and she should never come back again,

is that we, we being, I guess, agility the agility community, or more specifically AKC needs to have in place. If they're going to do this next year, where we're her interior going to be doing the preferred stream they need to have in place, like an explanation of preferred, maybe a graphic that they can throw up there just for the live stream.

Obviously they don't need it for the, the televised ESPN two stuff, but just an explanation of preferred, like how you got there, what kind of dogs are running in there and basically giving them the same billing. Right? We understand that you're only allotted two hours and you can't fit both regular and preferred in there. You know, it makes sense to do regular.

I think a lot of people can live with that, but those are the kinds of comments where I think they're very innocent on her part. Like she doesn't really understand. And so, you know, she's just kind of parroting what's being said around her, or even not even parroting, like we don't know that they said that, but just making the logical conclusion.

Well, I, you know, just now while you were talking, I decided to see what AKC does say about preferred and you know, this could be, this could be the research that she did because this is on AKC site. And it specifically says AKC preferred agility allows dogs to jump one height lower than the regular jump height division. And it gives them five extra seconds to complete the course.

The program is great for seniors or dogs who have suffered injuries. Okay. I think that's what she said. Right. Or that's what somebody said. I've heard a lot of criticism of, of, of people who are upset about how preferred is presented, saying I'm, you know, I'm tired of it being presented as something for old or, or rehabbing dogs.

And it, that's not all of the dogs, but you can see that that is what AKC themselves is presenting this as an option. This is, is the conclusion here is this is kind of the driving force behind offering it. So I guess our point is just like, let, let's take a step back and, and I guess give a little grace to,

to the announcers for, because remember again, they can't go into the new one. They can't go into the nuance of all the different reasons that people go into preferred. Of course they are going to be making these generalizations. You can spend like 10 seconds, you know, saying a long run-on sentence of all the different kinds of dogs to get in there.

For me, the, the big change was the year we went to Westminster with Rudy, Rudy, the really the phenomenal bulldog. Right. And so they jumped preferred as their, as their natural height. And when I heard it, then it made a lot of sense, you know, because I ran a Rottweiler back in the day and they have to jump 24 inches or so huge.

But what would it have been like if I could have run her 20 inches over the entire course of her career, like it preferred, could she have run? Like, I don't know, an extra year or two, you know, could I, could there have been less injury or pounding or something like that life there's lots of, lots of good reasons to do it.

I think I would just like to see the AKC kind of take this head on and address it directly. But as far as Carolyn Carolyn Manno, the, the announcer, I don't, I guess I'm not as angry at her specifically. Like I understand the comment it's not great. And I, and I don't like that, but I'm not out there saying she shouldn't come back because actually I think she did a really good job.

If you listen to what she was saying, she was very on top of it, about who the coordinator. Right. And the winning time, the time to beat who the current hot seat person is. Yeah. And she had her sheets and shoot they'd be very smooth. It was, it would be as if she knew the dogs, she would be like,

and so-and-so has been doing agility for six years. And they're from, you know, Tennessee and all this stuff. Right. She was very smooth. He was very good, better, I would say than Terry's counterpart before this last year. And I remember at Westminster the most recent year, they added someone new and it's because the person who was there before and had been there,

he was, he was a man. And I honestly, I forget his name. I'm not being spiteful. I just literally forgot his name. He did a really poor job. Like there was no improvement from year to year. He would say insulting things. He would make jokes. And then he went out there and did an interview where he basically admitted that he did no prep work that you had has Terry do everything.

And he just didn't view it seriously as a sport. Right. And like, for me, like that was the final straw. I was like, you know, I can be very supportive of the telecast, the broadcast and Terry and everybody else. And the job Jennifer Hale is doing the improvement. They show, you know, I remember Jennifer Hale that first year was like,

Oh, this is the apparatus. And people lost their mind. Right. A Jody people are like, what is an apparatus? It's equipment? It's dogwalk Giulia equipment. What are you talking about? The apparatus, this is not gymnastics. Right. And, but she learned, right. She learned what a dogwalk was and what we poles are and not calling them sticks in the ground and things like that.

And so that's the kind of improvement I think people are looking for. So from that perspective, my view is that Carolyn did a really good job during the actual broadcast. And I, I personally would like to see people, you know, maybe forgive her for that ignorance on her part. And, and, you know, I would lay it a little bit at the feet of the AKC here.

I help them out on the live stream a little bit. It also occurred to me just now that they knew going in that they were not, they were not going to have the preferred finals on TV. Right. They're only doing it for the live stream. And let's be honest, how many people are watching the live stream that aren't agility. So from my perspective,

I bet that whole preferred finals is essentially Practice right. Regular finals, which is then going to be broadcast on TV. Right. So it's working out all of their kinks, working out their camera angles and what they're going to say and how the course is going to run. Yeah, yeah. No, totally, totally agree with all of that. But you know,

we'll see what happens next year. One of the thing I want to point out related to the issues about the preferred dogs is the, the fact that not only were the preferred finals, not broad tasks, but even dogs who were in the regular final, like they qualified their way in, had their runs excluded from the ESPN two broadcast. That's the repeat broadcast,

not the original live stream. The live is live. Every, every run is seen and you can see it on streaming on the ESPN app, but in an app that some people had problems getting with. In fact, I don't think even we got it free. Right. We had already, we already paid for that. So yeah. But hopefully they'll work that out for next year.

But on the ESPN too, like the polished more polished broadcast, they excluded 10 different dogs And this is something that's how they did that. Yeah. This is something that we knew Might happen because it has happened in broadcast before. So, you know, I was prepared enough to print it out the running order so that I could check off dogs if they,

as they run and see if they left off any dogs. And the one thing that I will say about how they did it, especially because I know in some past broadcasts, there were dogs, there was like one broadcast where like only one dog was caught cut and I'm like, come on, you can fit in one extra dog. Right? The one thing that I'll say about how they did it is it was strictly based on finishing order.

So they, they cut out the, the bottom, you know, one, two or three dogs from the height classes. Now they didn't cut out any 20 fours because it was such a small class, six dogs, and they didn't cut out any 24 seas, such a small class, also six dogs. So they didn't cut out any of those dogs,

but it was strictly based on Results. So that part, I think if you're going to remove some dogs, then that is a good way to do it. Now you made a fantastic point to me about why that might not necessarily be true because some of the top seated dogs ended up at the bottom because they, you know, they're pushing for speed.

They make a mistake. They end up with an off-course and they ended up being, Let's talk about it very quickly is the 20 inch class. So the runs are reversed seated, right? The finals runs. So generally you're getting faster as you get toward the, the end dogs. And I think that's one spot. I feel like Terry could have done a better job explaining how we got to the finals,

how many dogs entered the event? You know, that we're taking a certain percentage into the final. These are the best of the dogs from the weekend. And even within the finals, like we're moving toward the dogs, getting a little bit faster and building some suspense around who's going to win. But in the 20 inch class, the second and third seat have dogs,

right. Both had like a lot of errors and they end up getting chopped out because they just cut out the bottom dogs. But it doesn't make sense in, in the, in the bride, in the, in the story arc, because yeah, because the dogs who could challenge to win were getting eliminated. Right. That's part of the suspect. Right.

And they just, The runs entirely. So you go from like a clean run, that's, you know, one speed to a clean run. That's a couple of seconds faster. And that's how you get your winner. Right. And this is obviously on ESPN. Like, this is not like, you know, Terry, wasn't running around here deciding which dogs are going to be on TV or not.

So that completely convinced me that you're right. You can't just, you can't just lop off the bottom dogs if you're, I mean, personally, obviously I would rather see all the dogs there, but so now my, my compromise would be the top five seated dogs are protected from being cut. And then you take the bottom couple. If you have to cut anybody personally,

I would love it. If they just made it, you know, a two-and-a-half hour broadcast or remove some of the commercials, everybody knowing in advance, at least for this first year. Like, I think there are people who didn't know, they fully expected to be on TV. They were already on the live stream and, you know, they got friends and family watching and then nothing.

Right, right. So that's disappointing. Whereas if, you know, in advance you can be like, Hey guys, you know, of course we're on the live stream, but you know, we had a really poor runs. We're not going to be on the final broadcast. You know, I think if people knew in advance, it would be helpful.

I agree, Tim, did you notice the photos that they were using? So tell us a little bit The, the history of agility. Yes. That was quite enjoyable. I don't know. I actually wondered whether they got the permission of the people that were involved since one of the pictures had Ken touch the owner of USDA. No, no. It stays like the rival or not rival,

but they're the other major agility organization here in the United States. And so it's always like USDA versus AKC and here they are using this like USDA photo. Right. Well, they also included like the Results from USTA. So when they talked about like how accomplished dogs were, they would show their AKC, you know, finals appearances or wins. And then it would say like other notable events and it would be like Sino sport.

No, it would be like dude said, I think it literally said non AKC Because I know they did that. It stood out for me on Betsy Lynch with Lark, because I was thinking it was the one I remember distinctly, but yeah, it was then, and then some of the other standard photos for some people that I've known from back in the day and I go that's before AKC was even formed.

But Yeah. I mean, I guess that's a great point too, if you really want to go all the way back, it's not going to be AKC. Yeah. I mean, it was a cross originally and that's where I'll start it. So, yeah. Right. I think they had that in the broad chest too. Right. Where they talked about it.

Yeah. Right. Yeah. And so I always think that's a pretty interesting, all right, now we're getting close to the end here. Right? At the very end, we are going to go over the, a winners for both preferred and the regular classes before we get there. Jen, tell us a little bit about this thing that they just do in the broadcast.

Right. At the end, they just slipped it in there and people were like, what, what is this? It is the premier cup. I don't know if people noticed Or if you're around for the end of the end of the broadcast on ESPN two, Jen, tell us a little bit about the premier cut. So the premier cup was an event that AKC did first in 2019.

They were supposed to have it in 2020, but COVID changed that. And I did not know much about it for this year. I had heard rumor that it was going to be on the Thursday preceding world team tryouts in St. Louis. That's what I had heard. And I think it was published somewhere. And then when tryouts were postponed, I kind of thought,

well, they're just getting rid of it. And we go up to the awards table and there's this envelope. Right. And it says open immediately. I was like, okay, I'll open a meeting late. And it is an invite to the premier cup, which was a super fun event when I went to it in 2019. So I was very excited and they handed me two and I said,

just does this for Swift. And they cause he got third. And they said, yep, top four. So from my understanding, the top four placements of preferred and regular, I thought initially it was just the preferred winners, but I was corrected that top four placements and preferred top four placements and regular all received insights to the premier cup. And all it said was saved the date May 15th,

Ocala, Florida. And that's all we know. I have no, nothing more. I've received, no additional information. There's been a question of will more invites go out. I do not know at this time, but we're recording this. I know nothing more given that they're holding it at the world of question center. My guess is that it is going to be tied in with some horse event,

which is how it was held in 2019. It was like the evening dog showcase after in between horse events. And that was when we had some filming from ESPN there as well. So I do not know much more than that, but I will be a very excited, I'm going to go ahead and take both dogs are my plan at this point is to take both dogs to see how it works this year.

Awesome. Awesome. Yep. And so that'll be the premiere cup. We'll see how that shakes out. I think COVID kind of interrupted there, there aren't there for the, the premier cup. So we'll see what happens this year. So Tim, where can people who are interested in getting more of your course maps, find them, do you share question that's on social media,

on Facebook. I personally don't share them, but they're all out there. But if anybody actually wants them, they can, they can find me on Facebook or they can find me in the judges list and I'll gladly share any course maps from way back when, but actually I was just thinking of one thing I wanted to ask Jen before we get off,

is what did you think of the footing on them? The surface there, because you know, I was thinking specifically on this, this is a great course for, you know, a hundred dogs on dirt because it wasn't going to dry out. Would I have wanted to do it as, you know, like the round two standard or, you know,

and have, you know, 320 inch dogs working on this course? No, I don't think so. Cause I think it would have gotten pretty torn up by the time we got to the end, but I wanted to get Jen's opinion that I had no complaints on surface all weekend long, the preliminary rounds that finals, I never had an issue with myself.

I never felt stuck. I never sled. I never had a dog, had a mistake that I was thought was pertaining to surface, you know, where they were like digging out of dirt and hit a bar or slip. And I really didn't hear much talk about it at all. You know? I mean, I know we weren't in the stalls and the congregations weren't like past years,

you know, you hear things right. Like the broadcasting people commenting on the broadcasting or making comments. And I never really heard anything about the surface. So I was thrilled with it. I would happily come back to Tulsa at the same facility and show again, assuming they can kind of have the dirt prepped in the same way. So no complaints on my end.

That's always my opinion. But you know, standing in the middle of the ring, it's always different than what the competitors are actually seeing. Right. I feel like AKC is known for having fantastic dirt at national events. Like they've got that part down. Well, yeah, in recent years, I mean, they've had, you know, two decades to really,

I think it's actually come quite a long way. Right. You know how we treat the surfaces and so, yeah. Pretty good. All right. Thanks so much for joining us guys before we go, we're going to go through the winners of preferred and a regular class for the finals here. These are our new preferred national agility champions. We'll start there in the four-inch class.

We have Chris sinks with nitro in the eight inch class, Abigail Beasley with dreamer and the twelve-inch class, Amanda Edstrom with jive in the 16 inch class, polar Renae Simpson with graphite and in the 20 inch class Haley Mac with stridor. So congratulations to all those dogs and handlers on their new preferred agility champion title. And then on the regular side, in the eight inch regular class,

we have Betsy Lynch with Lark in the 12 inch class Beth Matthews Bradshaw with pre in the 16 inch class. Of course, Jennifer crank with pink. Yay. Congratulations Jennifer. In the 20 inch class, we have Jessica Azu with hallelujah in the 24 inch class. We have Amber McCoon with Kaboom and in the 24 C class we have. So Shauna dos with Nat congratulations to all our new preferred agility champions and national agility champions.

And thank you once again for joining us. Well of course, Jennifer is always here as co-host, but thank you for joining us, Tim. My pleasure. And that's it for this week's podcast. We'd like to thank our sponsor, hit a board.com happy training.

Thank You for Listening!

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