Thanks, for telling me about this link, Jane. I haven't been on the forum in a while. Yes, we did the Alpha Team Challenge. Kudos to the organizers. It was a blast and well worth the entrance fee. I plan to do it again if they hold it next year.
About the course...
It wasn't terribly physically demanding. There were people of all ages, sizes, and physical condition that participated. Most were walking by the end of the course. I have been training for a 5K and I was winded by the end, but that was mostly due to the HEAT! The start and end of the course was on what I assume is their training field. They staggered the start times of each person by 5 minutes which was nice because you were on the trail pretty much alone except for those manning the obstacles. You could decide if you wanted to skip an obstacle, but if you did, a time penalty was given. You dog had to be on leash the entire time.
The obstacles were creative and fun. There were about 15 I would guess. The course started with traditional dog agility type stuff that the dog did alone. Then there was were tires on the ground for the handler to run through. Next you had 3 bikes to choose from. You could rid or push one up to a marked point then ditch the bike before heading into the woods. The trail was well marked and cleared of vegetation. There were several places there there were downed trees that you had to step or climb over. There were several obstacles through the woods. Here is a list of a few of those to give you an idea what it was like.
1. Helper in a sleeve and helper in a suit- I was pleased to see this opportunity and that they made an option for those who don’t have protection dogs. As you approached, you had to declare if you wanted the sleeve or bucket. The helper offered a bite then you outed your dog and went on. The bucket was a bucket of rocks that you had to carry for a distance.
2. River Crossing- There were two river crossings. It was about 12 feet across (I am not a good judge of distance) and the water was up to my thigh. The bank was steep, but there was a rope to help and one crossing had a rope across
3. Barrels- They had plastic barrels on their side lashed together with a tarp over top, you had to crawl on the barrels and under the tarp
4. Mud crawl- There was a man made mud pit with a water fall in the middle you had to crawl though.
5. Dog carry- They had a foot bridge over a small gully that you had to carry your dog across. There was a hay bale for the dog to stand on to help you pick them up..
6. Target shoot- You had to hit a target with a paintball and a 2 liter with a BB gun
7. Hay climb- There was a pyramid of hay bales dog and handler had to climb over
The course ended with a large tarp on the ground that dog and handler had to crawl under. When you stood up at the end, they stopped your time.
We had a couple of difficulties on the course. One was stupid handler. I dropped the leash twice and had to get my dog back. Once was in the middle of the stream and he was intent on keeping on swimming. We lost a lot of time there. The other major mishap was they had a horizontal chain link fence with stuff hanging from it that we had to crawl under. Grizz was not impressed by this and cut it short. His leash clasp got hooked on one of the links and he was caught fast which caused him to freak out. It took me a good 2 minutes to free him and the team behind us ended up passing us. I didn’t do the dog carry since I am a pretty small girl and my dog is a muscular 95lbs. I am ashamed of this and plan to work on this for next year. I agree with the organizers that everyone should be able to carry their dog in an emergency. I HATED the tarp. I am a bit claustrophobic and it was like an oven under there. I felt like I couldn’t breathe and had to fight down the panic. I don’t feel it was safe for the dogs because they got tangled with the handlers and many, including my dog shot out the side. If they have that again next year, I will skip it and take the penalty.
If any of the organizers read this, I would recommend would be a couple tents for changing in, one for women and one for men. I appreciated the tent set up with a hose to rinse with, but because I was by myself with no one to watch the flap, there was no way I was going to get naked in there to change. I ended up having to very discretely change by my car, which meant I didn’t get dried off well slipping on my dry clothes under the wet ones before taking them off.
Overall, an awesome experience that I highly recommend!
Bison (Indo vom Triton) CGC
Grizzly vom Buchonia
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