Despite all of the fears of bad weather trying to get to Reno and worries about circus smells distracting dogs the venue was awesome. The surface, while not perfect, was definitely acceptable and a significant improvement over last year. And speaking of improvements over last year, the venue itself was 5000x better. Parking was awesome, there was parking around 3 sides of the buildings so no one had to park TOO far away. RVing was great, I was able to 'crate' from my RV, and I didn't even get there until thursday afternoon. I guess the only negative was the 4th ring, aka 'the dungeon' or 'the closet under the stairs' but that wasn't so bad either. It certainly was a huge step up from rings 3&4 last year, which was a healthy walk from the main arena and had no seating for spectators (and crappy dirt, but the main arena had crappy dirt too). But maybe I'm just still bitter because last year 26" dogs were stuck in the boonies of ring 3&4 for 4 out of 5 runs.
But onto this year! I have videos from Fri/Sat but am waiting for Sunday's runs. I will post separately.
I never, in a thousand years, would have thought that Cassidy and I could have 3 clean runs to make it to the finals. My plan was to go out and win T2B because both Diana and I thought that would be the best chance on making challengers and then possibly finals. But after the rather disastrous warm-up round I was too cautious on the contacts so we ended up third, which actually would have been good enough for a bye to the challengers round, but we didn't need it! It's amazing how Cassidy stepped it up last weekend. She knew it was a big event and she 'brought it'. I regret our off-course in the finals, but there are so many things to celebrate before the finals that it's hard to regret it too much.
Apollo did great! He finished 2nd behind Blink the border collie for all three rounds. He was a bit slower than normal, I think he was a bit stressed out by the environment but he still went out and showed people what boxers can do. Apollo's finals is my big regret of the weekend. Apollo NEVER gets called on the teeter! But of course this was totally my fault. I'm always ahead of him when he's on the teeter and he runs right off of it, he didn't know what to do with me stopping right beside him. If I had taken one step forward he would have been fine... and he would have won! Won it all! Doh!
Icon was also awesome this weekend. I thought his jumping was mostly good. When we were in 'the dungeon' he stuttered a bit on the triple and the last jump but I didn't notice anything otherwise. After Saturday I think we were in 8th place after 2 clean rounds, so our times weren't the fastest. Icon was moving nice for they hybrid round until he went off course, but I doubt we would have made finals even with a clean round. The 26" class was very competitive this year! There were a lot of really nice dogs who had three clean rounds but didn't make finals just because the competition was so tight. I was hoping that we would get into the challengers round but not really expecting it. Since we were the first to run in challengers I guess we must have just squeaked in; I'm not complaining! It was pretty stressful running first and then watching the dogs after us run and pretty exciting when none of them beat us. The times were very close in the challengers round and I think a lot of the dogs lost it on the turn after the dogwalk. Finals was a lot of fun and we gave it all we had. It was just enough for 2nd, which is more than I had expected coming into nationals this year. This is our third time finishing 2nd place at AKC nationals. A 1st would have been nice but barring that, I'll take three 2nds :).