Flyball Weekend in Vegas! (Pic heavy!!)
I didn't make it to last year's Vegas tournament, but I made it this year! I will say - we got off to a bumpy start!
I went to check in, and I couldn't find my ID. I put it in a little card holder thing along with my credit card and my mom's credit card, and it was TOTALLY MIA. I thought I might have left it at the Walmart that we stopped at about two hours away from home when we stopped to grab chairs. I called them and of course no one turned it in. The hotel staff told me if I could get them a picture of a photo ID (whether it was a student ID or SOMETHING) then they could let me into my room.
I called the bank, DMV, two colleges, and tattoo and piercing shops - ANYWHERE I could think of that had ever scanned/copied my ID in the past. No one could help me. Finally, after about 5 hours, my friend who was pet sitting for us was able to send me a photo of a school ID that I kept in my jewelry box that they accepted. It was a HUGE hassle (and 100% my fault!) but I finally got in my room. And to make it even better, my friend found my card holder with all the cards! It was sitting at home. UGH. Given, it did me NO good sitting at home, but I was just glad I knew where it was!!
This was BY FAR the biggest tournament I have been to to date. The tournament was held in the ballroom of the Alexis Park hotel on the strip across the street from the Hard Rock hotel. People and dogs cluttered EVERYWHERE, and there were two rings (so a total of 4 lanes) and there were several times where we were either racing back to back in the different rings, or one of the rings had to wait on us. (Because the rings weren't going at the same pace - one would be on race 42 and the other would be on race 44, for example).
Ozzy ran full time both days and also ran singles on Sunday. Needless to say, he was SO TIRED!! Haha. He did very well though. I had a few people comment how fast Ozzy was, but I thought he was pretty slow for a flyball dog; watching the other height dogs, he's not slow at all! Aside from staffies and some JRTs, most height dogs were running about 6-6.5+. When I wasn't messing him up, he was running an average of 5.9-6.1, so he's average/fast. His fastest time with the team was 5.709. I realized how much a pass can impact your dog's time. I was consistently getting 2-3 foot passes with Ozzy (there was a few that made my heart stop, but our pass caller said that they were PERFECT - any sooner would have been early). First race of the day on Sunday, I don't know where my brain was, but the dog before Ozzy got to the start line before I released Ozzy and he had a 20 foot pass and his time was about 8 seconds. Oops.
Ozzy had two singles runs on Sunday. His very first run, he beat his time of 5.9 with 5.7. Whoot! I earlied him once by .1something, and his time was 5.4something, so that'd make his time around 5.5-5.6. I'm willing to bet if I can get the start down with the lights, speed him up on the return, and speed him up on the box (because he does hang on the box a bit) he can beat that other Pom's time of 5.2! I wouldn't be expecting to, but it's something to aim for!
The second time he was up, I amped him up a little TOO much at the start and earlied him EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. Haha. Oh well. He beat his original time, so that's all I wanted! I felt bad though, because there was a border collie on the other side, and when I did my exorcist scream for Ozzy, it TOTALLY melted. S/he jumped, hit the floor, looked around, and scurried back to the handler. But I look at it this way - if the dog's gonna be in flyball, s/he's gonna have to get used to it, 'cause my scream is FAR from the scariest. (Still made me feel bad, though!)
I also saw my first dog fight/attack, unfortunately. A border collie and a mini Aussie were doing recalls, and when the dogs were both coming back, the dogs made eye contact and the BC went at the mini Aussie. The day before, the BC was focusing on black/white dogs and chasing them and nipped a dog, so they pulled it for the day. The mini Aussie just flipped on its back and got mauled while the BC laid into its stomach/chest area. They were so loud it stopped the race in the other ring. :( When the mini Aussie got up and walked away, we started clapping and then everyone on the same half of the room followed suit.
Then someone on the BC's team not-so-subtly suggested how it was the Aussie's fault, and a woman on the Aussie's team about flipped and I thought she was going to jump her. Later in the day, I saw the BC's owner throwing a fit because she didn't have a dog to run.
All in all, this weekend was fun, exciting, and we had a blast! Ozzy is a little superstar and was showered with compliments on how fast and beautiful he is, and I can hardly talk from screaming. LOL Our team captain made little trophies for the teammates, and I got the "Best Dog Call" trophy. Hahaha.
Ozzy received a total of three titles, as he went from his TF to his TF-III, and he beat his best singles time. So, so proud of my boy!!
But we do have work to do!
Speed up on the box and on the return! We'll be aiming for that 5.2!
Don't have photos (or even video, I think) of him doing flyball, since everyone had a job, whether it was taking times, box loading, ball shagging, or running a dog. So here's the photos I do have! ;)
Ready to hit the road!
How to make a trip seem like it'll be never ending - make a road straight.
Yup! Pit stop!
Warning: Weather ahead!
They don't look too enthusiastic yet....
There's the happy face! Ready to race!
Ring 1! You can see the other ring in the background.
Where we went for team dinner. :)
Racing's over - time to take it down!
Time for awards!
Couldn't even keep his eyes open for awards, haha.
Out like a light.
My "Best Dog Call" award from my team. Haha.
Last morning in Vegas, so decided to take some photos around the hotel!
Some by the flowers.
Can you spot someone else in this photo?
Left at the altar!
Great pics and congrats on the title wins for Ozzy!!
Is the other a cattle dog? I stink at recognizing a lot of breeds. We had one in class and I fell in love with that little guy.
Yeah, she's a cattle dog. :)
They're quite prominent in the sport as well. She's my teammate's dog who I hitched a ride with. :)
Omg!! That ready to race face Ozzy makes is awesome!
Congrats on your success!! Sounds like a crazy fun event (except for the psycho dogs, doh).
Thanks for sharing :)
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How cool! Having a flyball tournament in a Las Vegas hotel seems equal parts bizarre and awesome, lol. I've only raced on mats once, and it was a building at the fairgrounds, sort of a big warehouse type structure - otherwise we're outdoors on grass or on artificial turf at an indoor soccer field.
Two ring tournaments are nuts, the one in Truckee (near Lake Tahoe), that I went to this year and last year in July had two rings. Even only running two teams we had lots of ring conflicts because several of our dogs were not only running on our teams, but also on teams with other clubs, and we loaned out a couple of people to handle dogs and box load for other clubs that were shorthanded too. Basically, everything moves at twice the speed you're used to, so it can be a bit overwhelming.
That's unfortunate about the aussie and the BC. That's one thing I don't really like about U-Fli - it seems like because of pre-flight and singles races there are more dogs put into the ring that really aren't ready for racing and shouldn't be out there. With NAFA, a dog that isn't ready to run on a team is less likely to be out there racing, and may just do some warmup stuff instead. Don't know if that's how it is everywhere, but that's been my experience at the tournaments I've been to.
Anyway, good job, looks like a great time was had by all!
I understand why they have singles and pre-flights (so dogs can get used to the environment), but there are other ways to get dogs used to the chaotic environment. Demos, practicing with other teams, going to tournaments and just BEING there....
But I do singles with Ozzy so I can try to get a faster time. Plus I think you get a pin if you do singles at 10 separate tournaments. :)
The two rings were TOTAL chaos (we were running 3 teams) but it was a lot more fun with everything moving faster. At most tournaments, there can be an hour or more between races which is BORING.
I'm all for zero tolerance of chasing or fights regardless of venue. To be honest the worst I've seen was at one of the two NAFA tournaments we did this past spring, by one of the top teams in the country. Same dog kept chasing and interfering almost every heat. That was also the only time Nikon's been interfered on (BC crossed over and went for our box, Nikon nearly collided with the dog coming off the box and having no clue it was there, luckily missed her and just let her run first back up the lane). I've noticed in U-FLI they are kicking people out who try to run dogs in Singles that aren't ready. The last two tournaments I've been in I've seen people get the boot because their dog crossed over, doesn't even have to be a fight. Too many people were pushing dogs too fast and because they stopped timing Pre-Flight, people would enter Singles for times (in U-FLI, Singles are the only times officially recorded for an individual dog, so it's the only way to get an "official" time/speed and compete for a breed ambassador). We do not even put green dogs in for warmup, since typically the team dogs use the warmup to do a full run or if there's a newer dog they might want to do a few box turns with a prop. The nice thing is most of the tournaments we do are all the same people, you can't get away with pushing young dogs too fast and having fights or chasing because everyone knows who you are and they WILL call you out.
Ozzy's looking quite proud of himself! Super times for a little man :)
We get our green dogs out to tournaments all the time, at first like you said, just being in the environment, and then using the warmups to pop them off the box and do recalls and stuff.
From there we'll have them do one heat in a couple of races and then swap in another dog for the rest of the heats. We start them close and send them last, after the 3rd dog has run by, so there's no real pass. If they do well we might leave them in for a 2nd heat in that race, but we try to quit while we're ahead and not push the dog too fast. Halo only did 7 heats all weekend in her first tournament, but by her next tournament the following month she was doing all 4 heats in 3 or 4 races each day.
It would be interesting to see what Halo's singles time would be, but I've never started her before so I wouldn't have any idea how far back to go. I've run one of our other dogs in the start position at a couple of tournaments, but they tell me exactly where to stand and what light to send her, so I'm just following instructions, lol.
I remember the first time Ozzy was running with the team, there was one point he greeted the box judge, the judge, and some other people. It was after his heat, and he ran clean and was in last position, so it was fine, but we pulled him RIGHT then because we thought that might be him starting to tire out and his brain/body was starting to fry.
I had him all the way back at the 42 for singles and was STILL starting him early! LOL
I hope when I get my GSD, I never have to start her! Haha.
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