Dogs in Need 2001 - A Tenth Anniversary
From its fairly humble beginnings at Malvern in 1992, Dogs in Need has grown to be the largest agility event of its kind in the country today.
We cannot boast that we were the first week long event - that honour falls to Tony Veal when along with fellow club members, he held a five day show at Ardingly during the late eighties and early nineties. At the 1991 show it was announced that they wouldn't be holding a show the following year. After a rather long discussion and more than a few bottles of wine the idea of Dogs in Need was created. It all seemed so simple, couldn't be that much to it - could there?
We decided to hold our first event at the Three Counties Showground in Malvern with any profits from the show being divided and given to nominated charities - the rest, as they say, is history.
Pedigree - A Classic
We realised early on that for the show to be successful it would have to have something special - a tournament. We approached Pedigree Chum, (as it was then) who from inception had been supporters of agility. They agreed to sponsor a new competition that would consist of a series of qualifying rounds with a final at its conclusion - "The Pedigree Classic" was born!
I'm not sure they realised just what a commitment this was going to be! The Pedigree Classic is now recognised as one of the top agility finals of the year and attracts a huge entry from all the different classifications. Handlers and dogs compete throughout the week from which the top handlers from each section are invited to the finals. These finals are very well supported by all on site, with the Junior and Mini finals taking place on the Thursday followed by the Midi, Starters, Novice, Senior and Advanced on Sunday.
Like Dogs in Need, the Pedigree Classic has grown out of all recognition. In all, there are now nine separate sections each culminating in its own final. It is a huge commitment for our sponsors both in the terms of organisation and finance - trophies, rosettes, food, results etc. Their help with signs, printing, schedules, welcome packs, prizes for entertainment - a daily food draw and the immensely popular "finals draw" etc. etc. - ensures that Dogs in Need is and will continue to be, the best of its kind. Our main aim at Dogs in Need is primarily that competitors and families enjoy the "holiday" atmosphere and super facilities on offer - this is where most of you entry/camping fees are spent. It is due to Pedigree's continued support that Dogs in Need is able to give so much - to you as competitors and to all the nominated charities.
We are also indebted to our two other main sponsors - Premier Show Jumps and Agility Aid.
Premier's equipment continues to be of the highest standard - we have seen many Agility equipment hirers come and go and I don't think anyone has ever come near to providing the support and quality we now take for granted from the Premier team. Nothing is ever too much trouble, they are always open to suggestion and adapt and change equipment as current trends dictate. At Dogs in Need any request is always met if at all possible and we are indebted to them for continuing to make agility such a safe and visually pleasing environment.
Agility Aid - I don't think we could survive without them - I'm old enough to remember the days (and nights) when folding up bits of paper and pulling running orders out of a hat was the norm. Well it would have to be a fairly big hat and a very long day nowadays to accommodate such a task. They put in a tremendous amount of work before and during the show. They deal politely with numerous queries and requests at all times of the day and night, telephoning handlers who found the entry form too much of a challenge and entered their papillon in advanced jumping on Monday and junior agility on Friday - I kid you not! How they remain so sane and courteous is beyond me - think it has something to do with copious amounts of red wine (so I'm told). They provide a very professional service, which again we believe has never been equalled.
Dogs in Need are very lucky to have this kind of support, it wouldn't be the show it is without them - THANK YOU.
During the last ten years, your money has provided a lifeline to various rescue groups throughout the country - over seventy thousand pounds have found its way to a variety of needy causes. These rescue centres are always desperate for financial support - they do not have the support some of the larger charities attract and it is these people Dogs in Need target. We have heard many sad tales over the years and are delighted that during this time, agility folk have taken the time to find out about and nominate their local rescue centres.
At the start of Dogs in Need illustrious history we relied on clubs to apply for our Kennel Club licence for permission to hold the event. We were delighted when for the first time and in time for our tenth anniversary celebration this year, the Kennel Club agreed to our applications for status in our own right. We are now known officially as Dogs in Need Agility Society D.I.N.A.S. We would like to thank all the clubs for their support especially Hinckley DTC without whom the "show would not have gone on".
We've come a long way in the last ten years - who remembers DIN in a tent. The awful storm when we nearly lost the marquee in 1993. The hypnotist - Dennis McCaulay in the Mr Muscle competition - Grey Derrett, Bruce Currie, Nicky Garrett all in Juniors, Gwyn Roberts with brown hair, Jo Rhodes and her flatcoat, Alan Gardner and a mini (honestly) and Dave Ray with silver hair - some things never change!
Pedigree Classic 2001
So what of this year's Pedigree Classic:
The mini's once again started the ball rolling with the Pedigree Novice Classic final Our judge Mr Bill Glover had set a fairly simple course which gave handlers various options - the novice handler an easier option whilst the more experience the choice to cut a few corners and decrease the time.
The best of the bunch today was a very experienced handler - Di Dunkley from Rugby DTC and Terrier cross - Dandy. What a super dog this is and on top form - over two seconds clean of the field. Should make a big impact on the mini circuit next year. Clear 41.97
The Pedigree Mini Senior Classic final saw another very popular in for the renowned Carol Hughes and Valgray's Mini Mouse. This pair has graced the mini circuit at the highest level for many years - are past Classic winners and continue to be one of the best partnerships in the country. Carol's always smiling; the dogs always wagging her tail - win or lose. We delight in watching them and they thoroughly deserved their success.
The Pedigree Junior U12's Classic final followed. A big aahh factor yes but the standard as we've come to expect was excellent - the future of agility looks in good hands. Our commentator - alan (the mexican wave) Disbery, was strangely quiet during this competition - one of the handlers was running his dog. I know Christopher trains Alan's "Dutch" at Rugby DTC each week - it obviously paid off their time of 36.78 was a good second faster than nearest rival "veteran" under 12's handler, Sammy Bishop and Charlie. The second finals win of the day for Rugby DTC - would it be their last?
The Over 12's Pedigree Junior Classic was won by a new face to me Danielle Pollard and Simply Ace. They had a blistering run - no-one came near - 36.98 leaving second placed Chris Partridge five seconds adrift. I believe Danielle trains with Faldo who have a strong junior contingent and Danielle and Ace are a formidable pair - watch out Nicky Garrett!
Sunday's finals saw the first every Pedigree Midi Classic. The first entrants into the history book will be a very small and very fast WSD - Man on a Mission and Karen Smith. They were streets in front of the rest and were delighted with the result. The standard in this class was somewhat mixed with over 20 seconds separating the top ten places - but hey, we all started somewhere!
One of the most hotly contested and well-supported competitions is the Pedigree Starters Classic final. The ringside seats are always packed for this event. Dogs in Needs was delighted when this year's winner was announced as Den Keeler and his fantastic Terv - Minka Fayette Kila. Den had been working tirelessly all week as our Site Manager. How he managed to fit in runs with his dogs, heaven knows. To win the final was a miracle. He still hasn't stopped smiling. Neither has Gill Raddings - the breeder - second place in this final also awarded to one of her dogs - Julie Saunder's "Minka Island Storm". It was a very close final with just over three tenths of a second separating them. Well done to you both.
By far the largest group of dogs is the novice classification - with well over seven hundred dogs competing for the trophy. The Pedigree Novice Classic final is always a very fast, tense affair. The result was the closest ever seen with just over half a second separating the top six places. The fastest of those, by just one hundredth was Alex Heal and "Don't Yer Pester Jesta". Alex and Jesta just flew round, cutting every corner and contacts to die for. Another pair who I'm sure will make their presence felt next season.
The champagne was flowing well at Rugby DTC's clubhouse last week when they celebrated yet another classic victory. This time it was the turn of Charlie Wyatt and Tyefold Red Pepper, winners of the 2001 Pedigree Senior Classic. This heavy coated red and white gave Charlie a "peach" of a run. It was all or nothing - there had been some fast times before them and Charlie was up for it. Their time of 32.65 was only a tenth faster than Nicky Garrett and Spectre but faster it was an that's the name of the game. Well done Charlie - a brilliant achievement not only for yourself but your club too.
Nicky may have just missed out in the Senior final - she wasn't about to let that happen again! The big guns gathered for the last Classic final of 2001, the Pedigree Advanced Classic. The finalists as ever read like a "who's who" of agility - their skill an expertise is something we all aspire to. Best of the bunch and on top form were one of the country's top combinations, Nicky Garrett and Hocus Pocus. A member of the British Agility team, who will be competing in the World Agility Championships in Portugal this October, handles the course to perfection. Speed, accuracy, control - agility personified - superb. Another round like that in Portugal Nicola and you'll be bringing home more than souvenirs! Good luck.
The crystal and food was awarded yet again - it had been an excellent week for everyone. I hope you all enjoyed Dogs in Need's tenth anniversary and that it continues for another ten (I can't believe I just typed that!)