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AKC/USA LARGE DOG AGILITY TEAM WINS BRONZE AT THE
WORLD AGILITY CHAMPIONSHIP


U.S. Australian Shepherd receives highest individual accomplishment in U.S. large dog team history of the World Championship


New York, NY -The American Kennel Club (AKC) welcomed home the AKC/USA World Agility Team after a weekend of intense competition at the World Agility Championship in Lievin, France from September 26-28. The AKC/USA World Agility Team, sponsored by The Iams Company and K9 Advantix ™, traveled overseas to compete against 30 different countries.

The large dog team (dogs that jump 26 inches) brought home the bronze medal -- an excellent placement resulting from over two days of intense competition. The large dog team members included Elicia Calhoun with Suni, an Australian Shepherd; Jennifer Pinder with Static, a Border Collie; and Terry Smorch with Remy, a Border Collie, and Sherry Kluever with Ransom, a Border Collie.

"All the dogs and handlers gave it their best," said Sharon Anderson, AKC director of agility, who accompanied the team. "The AKC/USA world team negotiated very difficult courses with many clean runs and proved that the USA was up to the task."

In the individual large dog competition, Elicia Calhoun and Suni placed 5th in the world out of 129 dogs-the highest individual accomplishment in U.S. large dog team history of the World Championship.

In the individual medium dog competition, Jean LaValley and Taz finished 6th overall in the world out of 79 dogs. Barb Davis and Shimmer also had clean runs and finished 8th overall.

The 2003 AKC/USA World Agility Team, with team leader Sharon Anderson and coach Dan Dege, included:

· Elicia Calhoun & Suni (Australian Shepherd); North Brunswick, NJ
· Jennifer Pinder & Static (Border Collie); Lapeer, MI
· Barbara Davis & Shimmer (Shetland Sheepdog); Newman Lake, WA
· Jean Lavalley & Taz (Shetland Sheepdog); Murfreesboro, TN
· Nancy Gyes & Riot (Border Collie); San Jose, CA
· Nancy Kleinhans & Joni (Shetland Sheepdog); Jacksonville, FL
· Roger Coor & Moso (Papillion); Phoenix, AZ
· Kathie Leggett & Heather (Shetland Sheepdog); North Highlands, CA
· Terry Smorch & Remy (Border Collie); Lake Elmo, MN
· Joan Meyer & Dustin (Shetland Sheepdog); Lawrence, KS
· Barbara Bicksler & Sydney (Shetland Sheepdog); McLean, VA
· Karen Holik & Sizzle (Shetland Sheepdog); West Chicago, IL
· Erin Schaefer & Jag (Shetland Sheepdog); Foxboro, MA
· Sherry Kluever & Ransom (Border Collie); Romeoville, IL

The 2003 AKC/USA World Team, which includes past team members who have won gold and silver medals in previous years, was selected via a year-long process. Dogs scoring at the highest level at AKC events throughout the year were invited to a qualifying event in Minneapolis this summer.

In the 2002 World Agility Championship in Dortmund, Germany, honors went to the Mini Team (dogs that jump 14"), who brought home the silver medal. The victory allowed the Mini Team to hold onto the silver medal they won in Portugal in 2001. The individual gold medal went to Erin Schaefer in 2002.

Members of the AKC/USA World Agility Team will go on to compete individually at the AKC National Agility Championship in Long Beach, CA, from December 2-4, 2003.

As the AKC's fastest growing canine sport, agility demonstrates a dog's willingness to work with its handler in a variety of situations. This athletic event requires top conditioning, concentration, training and most importantly - teamwork. Dogs follow the cues of their owner/handler as they negotiate a tricky obstacle course. The canine athletes follow commands and weave through poles, bound over jumps, and balance on boards while racing against the clock.