The Sunshine Was on the Inside Despite One of the Worst Storms of the Year.
With heart and determination overcoming mother nature throwing a tantrum on Friday, the first day of the 2019 All-Breed Agility Trials at The Grand Oaks Resort in Weirsdale, Florida. An annual event hosted by the Mid-Florida Golden Retriever Club (MFGRC) was hammered by one of the most severe wind and rain storms of the year. This year’s event shined bright in example of people and dogs at their best.
I arrived on the Saturday morning and quickly spotted Andy Hall of the MFGRC busily directing volunteers in every direction. Mud needed to be raked and shoveled, tables cleaned, registrations taken, courses altered. A lot needed to happen, and right now. All of this and much more was happening, and notably it was happening in good spirits. Though understandably stressed, everyone remained pleasant and even smiling as they were going to give everyone a good time with their pups and Florida storms be damned.
The sun shine was on the inside
Despite the interruption on Friday, by Saturday morning the two arenas were up and running and most importantly safe. The massive roof at the Grand Oaks arena meant that the rain only impacted the ground for about 20 feet under that cover. However, everything was still a little damp. The organizers quickly re-mapped the two courses. One for Jumps and Weaves and the other for the more familiar multiple obstacle course adding tunnels to challenge the teams on a diversity of challenges.
An agile game in mind and body
In agility, only the handler walks the course. Though you may train the dog for all the obstacles as you see fit, each course you will see will have a different order of obstacles and direction. Your job is to direct your dog through these courses accurately and cleanly. Sounds simple enough? Dogs of all sizes requires that courses need constant adjustments. From the ever-dominant herding breeds to the smallest of dogs, agility games are intended as a challenge, but a fun one with reasonable expectations and there is no doubt that the dogs love to play.
Veterans take aim
AKC Agility trials may be perfect for dogs with high energy, but perhaps surprisingly is how most any breed can and will take to this game. The amount of pressure you may perceive is totally up to you, but with the support of the community and other handlers, you can find that seeing your pups face having so much fun makes that all fade away. There are many levels and dogs compete based on factors from height to experience. How far you take it, is entirely up to you, but really, it’s still about having a good time with your best friend.
Veterans made a great showing at this event. Some were competing, some were spectators, and a few brought along their own cameras to capture the dogs at play in these exciting games of agility
Agility is probably as iconic today as the conformation events for most Americans. The sport started in the United Kingdom in the early 70’s but has now been adopted in various formats to most national and international dog sport programs. It has also evolved a great deal. Today’s courses are far more responsibly designed for safety to both handler and the dog.
Agility is a growing dog sport in the United States, with over 1 million entries to the AKC’s Agility Program each year. - AKC
The American Kennel Club (AKC) formally adopted AKC Agility later than many, and in the 1994 endorsed its first sanctioned trials. The AKC continues to expand their tent to new sports and appears to making efforts to a wider audience every year as we reported at this years Nationals in Orlando, FL.
Mid-FL Golden Retriever Club (MFGRC) The MFGRC events I have attended over the last year all share a sense of community and good heart at their foundation. From local and regional trials to their Golden Retriever show ring at the AKC national championships, the MFGRC has always been a pleasant encounter with keen interest in supporting our goals to connect dogs and veterans with active lives.
With a lot of hard work, improvisation and flexibility after yesterday’s storm, the MFGRC Spring Agility Trial started on time this morning at Grand Oaks Resort! - Andy Hall (MFGRC)
The Mid-Florida Golden Retriever Club is flagged as one of Bad Azz Dogz recommended because of this commitment and understanding that some of our fellow veterans need a bit more help than many, and they are willing to step up and help them and their dogs be part of the games.
The Grand Oaks The Grand Oaks Resort was first featured here last year, and several times since. This beautifully maintained and majestic equestrian center covers a huge acreage near Weirsdale in central Florida near “The Villages” north of Orlando. As we discovered last year, this location isn’t your normal dog event venue. With accommodations from fully equipped RV camping to luxury suites and villas. It is always a nice change to have real bathrooms and the bistro and amenities add to the entire quality of any event here. As ever, the staff were friendly and often seemed like they would be here even if it wasn’t their job.
They told us last year that they intended to include more canine events, and they have kept that commitment as we have returned multiple times now for both agility and even the AKC National Lure Coursing Championship. If you are looking to host a large dog sporting event? You can not do much better in C. Florida. The management are flexible on negotiating with you, but it has to be noted, this isn’t a country field or fairground with a barn and portapotty.
Getting Started First off?
Is your own Bad Azz Dog energetic, driven and able to take direction? It is also important that they need to be able to co-exist around many other dogs.
Not sure? Start with them at home if you want. Small jump over small obstacles. Or onto and off a chair for instance.
Look for local clubs, and most easily, just come to one of the events we post on our events page.
If you are disabled veteran, not sure or have concerns or questions, please feel free to email me at email@example.com and I will do my best to address those with you.
This sport can be a bit intimidating to the “outsider”. However, it is one of the most widely supported and active in the canine world. Like any of the dog games I cover, it’s about the dog and bond with their human that makes the magic.
The Mid-Florida Golden Retriever Club and Grand Oaks have always been a great example of a “safe” and welcoming event that I hope this feature illustrates to any of you on the fence about coming to play with your best friend.
Not all places or clubs get my “preferred” recognition. It is reserved for those that show true and sincere commitment to both our dogs and disabled veterans.
This event could have been over after the first day and it is true some of the teams packed up and left after that ferocious storm, but its possible they truly under estimated the folks of MFGRC and The Grand Oaks.
Other than some soggy spots, it was all sunshine the rest of the weekend for the Bad Azz Agility Dogz that stayed. Links to more information below the break.
Mid FL All Breed Agility 2019 The Grand oaks resort Weirsdale, FL
Seeing these Bad Azz Dogz and event is beyond words alone.
19-21 APRIL 2019
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