How much fun did I have at the finals in Klamath, Oregon? A TON of FUN. The weather was beautiful other than being a bit toasty during the afternoon. It was the BEST finals I have yet to attend from the organization, volunteers,and the hospitality. Every day ran like clockwork.
I arrived in the afternoon on Wednesday. The open runs started on Tuesday and ran through Friday.
I had just missed Suzy Applegate's run with Buzz (Champ's sire). But, when I arrived under the VIP tent, all I could hear was the "Buzz" about his AWESOME run. He had a sheep fight him all the way around the course and ended up with a very high score without having time for his pen. He made the semi-finals. There were 40 acres for the RV parking. How wonderful that we weren't asshole to belly button! They even had a dumpster for dumping your trash. They thought of everything!
I arrived and busily went about getting organized. My awning only took me minutes to set up. The camper van dubbed the "Wonder Wagon" handled fabulously. I felt so spoiled. I had air conditioning, my own bathroom and shower. I was comfy every night. Old Jet can easily step in and step out. So COOL! I just drove into the first large vacant spot. Lo and behold (I didn't even know till later) I was next to ALL of my friends. After a few drinks of wine I started to notice where everyone was parked. I saw a dog tied to a bumper of a trailer and passed by this dog several times. I thought to myself that particular dog was one FINE looking animal. I fell in love with him. As I sat down with some friends I asked who that dog was. LOL. It was BUZZ! I laughed out loud and then said, "Gosh, I'm damn glad I bred to him!" That cracked me up :0)
I didn't do much, but did volunteer a few hours in the info booth and that's me walking scores in the semi finals. There were two judges, hence....two scores. The nice thing about being "Vanna White" for a few hours is that I had a GREAT birds eye view of the runs at the judges stand and could over hear them scoring. Plus, I got some nice photos with my pocket digital camera.
I only took Jet and Trouble. I knew I would be busy every day and these two dogs are NO trouble at all. I can set them anywhere and they won't budge until I come back. At night while Trouble was in Jet's soft crate at night, Jet would wander from trailer to trailer to visit. There will never be another Jet. It is an honor to have this dog and he can accompany me on all of my travels. :0)
One evening while sharing some dinner and drinks, Suzy Applegate was outside chatting on her phone. No matter which way she turned, Jet was right bu her side. It was really funny. I think he was hoping she would work him!
I got my VIP status by sponsoring my friend, Mike Burks, and his blue merle Border Collie Sport. I think Sport was the only blue merle entered. And, he was ONLY 2 points from making the semi finals. Ahhhhh! I know Mike was disappointed. They had some mess ups in the shed ring that kept them out of the semis. Dang it all. Sport handled the open field very nicely as I knew he would.
Tierney did this lovely painting of Jeff Marroni's Carmen working. It was chosen to represent the 2012 finals. It was auctioned off on Sat. night. Jeff was the highest bidder. Good!
While the finals were going on, they had a free web cast of the semi's and double lift plus there was an immature gal doing lots of interviews. It started off pretty silly, but she got better as time went on. Here is a picture of Lana and her daughter, Katie from Oregon being interviewed. I stopped to get a picture and the interviewer looked at Jet who was with me carrying my money, etc. in his camera case and said, "Oh look at that little dog. What is he carrying?" With that my phone rang immediately. One of my friends was watching the live web feed and heard her say that. She said, "I knew she was referring to you and Jet!" Haha I had a chuckle over that!
On finals day NBC did an interview with Jet. Yep...they wanted to interview my dog. Now, mind you, Jet is a pro at this and as soon as he saw the giant camera pointed at him he started grinning from ear to ear. They just wanted me to tell them a bit about Jet and he did a few tricks for them. They asked he if he was competing and I told them, "No...because he is 12 yrs. old and we need to be KIND to our elderly." I also told him he was the 2010 National Finals Champion's half brother, had been on Letterman, yadda yadda. Unfortunately, I didn't get to see the piece on TV that night, because I was already on the road home. Oh yeah....last, but not least, Jet gave them a big ol grin and walked up to the camera lens and gave it a big smooch. What a ham bone he is!!!!!
Here are some of my hard working friends who helped with the nursery runs and exhausting of the sheep on the open field. Barb and her blue merle, Callie and Gloria with her fine dogs, Nick and wee Gael. Both train with Suzy Applegate (owner of Buzz and Dot).
I only saw one nursery run. Timing is everything. I was too busy watching the open dogs. Just as I got there, Mike Burks and Mia went to the post. I thought she did a fine job, but only came up with a score of 99 which would not put her in the nursery finals. But, nicely done. The sheep were crossbreds.....Cheviot, Suffolk, Blue Leicesters and Coopworths. They were big ones and sometimes they challenged the dogs and other times they acted like separate flocks splitting up and not grouping together well. But, overall I think they were very consistent sheep for a finals event.
Mike and Mia finishing. Mia taking a dunk in the water tank. A beautiful day.
At night we would wander from RV to Trailer visiting and partying with friends. This was a special night because we were serenaded by Diane Pagel's husband Getty and Ray Coapman on the guitars and Amy Coapman on the fiddle. Old Jet and Old Tess just wandered about. Amy had an old BC there, too, named Marti. There was a particular note that would make her start howling. I will have to take some time next week and see if I got a video of it.
I love working my dogs, but it is the people that make me love this sport so much. There were lots of hugs and lots of stories and a ton of fun to be had. I felt so lucky to be a part of it even as just a volunteer/spectator. Tomorrow or the next day, Part Two.