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updated 22/10/01
A good day out for Staffords

ON 30 September, the Western Staffordshire Bull Terrier Society held the first ever Stafford Pentathlon. I had been looking forward to it for months, partly with excitement at taking part in a totally new competition, and partly with trepidation as to whether it would be a success. We had a good entry for the pentathlon exercises, but not the maximum I thought we could cope with so I decided old Bertie (Cyclone Sweetheart of Copyhold CDex UDex) was entered, along with competitors from as far afield as Cheshire, Norfolk and Sussex.

I hoped that Trilby would do well, but I knew there were at least two dogs entered who were more than capable of beating her, never mind the dogs I had never seen competing before. The first two exercises were the heelwork, judged by Kaye Faiers and the search square judged by Ruth Cahill. It was no surprise that June Bolton and Effie (Tylers Enchanted Princess) came first in heelwork, as they have been very successful at open obedience shows lately. She also came first in the search square, beating the dogs who compete in working trails which goes to show how much training June had put in for the event.

After the two exercises we had a lunch break, with John and Jacqui Barron, whose South West Canine Activity Centre was the venue for the day, providing a barbecue. Then it was on with the jumping where Trilby came first with second place going to Angela Wilson with Harley (Jabba the Hut) who had come all the way from Cheshire for the Pentathlon. The dog I had thought would easily win, Wendy Clewley's Tammy (Araidh Sweetest Taboo) who has to be one of the fastest mini-agility dogs around went so fast she jumped a wrong jump and was eliminated! It goes to show that you can never take dog training for granted!

Trilby and Bertie, Pentathlon Runner-up and Winner

While Kaye was judging the jumping, Ruth was sorting out the retrieve and sendaway competitors where I have to admit to having the most amazing surprise. Old Bertie came first in both exercises - beating Trilby in a run off on the sendaway and doing one of the best retrieves of her life to put Effie into second place.

So, with four of their chosen exercises worked, we came to the last exercise, the scent test. The three dogs who were competing in this were within one mark of each other overall! Bertie went on first and reverted to her normal individual style of work, which means going at her own pace and making the most of her time when no commands are allowed. She did eventually fetch the right cloth. Effie was next but decided she was a 'Stafford' and did not want to pay the scent game. Last on was Trilby, she picked up the right cloth quite efficiently but felt that the present and finish were not necessary! She did, however come first, with Bertie second and Effie third. Those placings meant that there were two dogs in the lead on exactly the same marks - Bertie and Trilby!

Kaye and Ruth decided that a run-off of a recall was the fairest way to decide on the winner. Bertie did her recall first and I have to admit, I was thrilled with the way she worked. Then it was Trilby's turn and she did a good one, too. With the judges not saying who had won, they went straight into the prize giving. There were rosettes for the first four dogs in each exercise, a trophy and bag of Genesis Pet Food for each winner, tug toys for second, dog chews for third place, and Genesis vouchers for fourth.

Tammy on the jumping course, judged by Kaye Faiers

Then the Pentathlon winner was announced - it was Bertie!! At ten- years-old, she had beaten all the younger dogs and came home with a huge rosette, trophies and a 15kg bag of Genesis Pet Food, which has obviously been keeping her pretty fit up till now! Trilby was runner-up and also had a rosette, trophy and bag of Genesis.

After the Pentathlon, we held the bronze, silver and gold Kennel Club Good Citizen Tests judged by Jacqui Barron, which was open to all breeds. Harley gained his bronze and silver and Trilby passed her silver along with several successful 'non-Staffords'!

Effie returning with the correct scent cloth

As well as the working Staffords having a chance to show off their talents, Gwent Ringcraft Club with Gillian Aicardi at the helm, organised the breed match judged by Bryn Cadogan. The Best in Match, who also received a badge of Genesis Pet Food along with her rosette and trophy was Gillian Aicardi's Gemma (Buryan Rosamia of Rivarolo) with the Reserve Best in Match rosette and trophy going to Max (Miekes Houdini Man) belonging to Jason Cockings. Best Puppy was Mark Payne's Abby.

Dogs who gained KCGC Silver awards

I was very pleased with the way the Pentathlon went, and obviously very excited at the results, but it would not have been such a lovely day if the event had not had the amazing support of all the helpers and sponsors. Pentathlon rosettes were all paid for by Sandra Stredwick, Ruth Cahill, Posh Pets, Paws in Water and accolade Leathercraft. Wendy Clewley, Chloe Gardner and S.B.T. Rescue, East and West Sussex paid for all of the trophies. tug toys and dog chews were donated by Posh Pets and the very generous Genesis Pet Food prizes were given by Sandy Wadhams. For the breed match, trophies and rosettes were all donated by Gwent Ringcraft and Joh Onufryk. Huge thanks to all of them.

At the end of the day, I think both Staffords and their owners had had a good day out!

Marney Wells