Second, any off-course, refusal, or knocked bar was scored at 18 faults/occurrence instead of the usual 5, thus an off-course would lead to an NQ. There were 96 entries in the 20" height class of which 91 ran in all four rounds.
Saturday's Standard was another fun but challenging course. The weave pole entry was difficult and in addition was followed by a tunnel discrimination which caused many entries to miss the last pole or go into the wrong end of the tunnel. On Saturday, the 20" class ran after the 24" so I had a chance to watch and get some idea of the problem areas on the course. Sean and I led off with a solid clean run. We were followed by Leslie and Chase who were also clean. Leslie and Kassi had an outstanding run- her time would have been even faster but Kassi decided to get up off her elbows "commenting" to Leslie while on the table and necessitating a restart of the table count. Jerry and Breezy were the last of the BADs to go. They had an outstanding run going until after the table when they incurred an off-course. Jerry, however, kept going and finished the run which was important because it meant they got a non-zero score for the round. The Beardies placed as follows: Kassi, 19th; Chase, 22nd; Sean, 26th; Breezy, 74th. The JWW course, by comparison, seemed relatively easy. That doesn't mean some dogs didn't handle the course well. One of the BCs who earned a placement in the morning standard class was eliminated with a 0 on the JWW course. Sean and I again led off the 20" entries with a clean, but somewhat slow run. Leslie's Chase and Kassi both turned in clean, fast runs and as did Jerry and Breezy. At the end of the second, the Beardie standings were as follows: Kassi, 13th; Chase, 16th; Sean, 23rd; Breezy, 63rd.
The results of the Sunday classes determined the overall winners. The morning JWW course took its toll among the 24" leaders- Gerrie Brown with Larrie and Nancy Gyes with Riot and Scud all had faults on this course and dropped out of contention. There were two serpentine sequences, a weave pole/tunnel discrimination, and a difficult pinwheel. Lots of dropped bars and off-courses. Sean and I ran first of everyone. We led off the class with our third solid, clean run of the competition. Leslie's Chase and Kassi both turned in outstanding clean runs. Jerry and Breezy had a clean run but time faults due to a couple of small problems. At the end of the third round, the Beardie standings were as follows: Kassi, 7th; Chase, 10th; Sean, 18th; Breezy, 53rd. We were all very proud that Leslie placed both her Beardies in the top ten for the final standard round. All of the top ten ranked dogs in each height class were pulled from the regular running order and run at the end of the class in reverse order of the placements i.e. 10th first to 1st last. Animal Planet filmed the final standard round and it is supposed to be aired January 23, 1999. They had mini cameras in a tunnel, near the weave poles and on jump wings. The standard course didn't seem all that hard but had tricky sequences that claimed a number of casualties. After the table, there was a tunnel/circular jump sequence that required you to avoid a tunnel discrimination followed immediately by a see-saw call-off- many fast dogs were on the see-saw before their handlers could get a word out! Sean and I led off the final round. He turned in his 4th, and best, clean run of the competition.
Jerry and Breezy had a solid qualifying run. By the end of the round, but before the ten leaders had run, Sean was in 14th place. Poor Leslie had to wait through 180+ 20" and 24" dogs with the pressure mounting. She opened the finals with a good, clean run with Chase. The 9th place dog NQ'd with a bar down. A Keeshond had a clean run. And then amazingly all but the #1 and #2 ranked dogs proceeded to NQ. It was difficult for Leslie who had to run Kassi with only two dogs in between. They were having an excellent run when inexplicably, Kassi missed a weave pole. Only 4 of the top ten 20" dogs qualified in the final round. But we were very proud that one of the teams was Chase and Leslie who ended up fourth overall with a spot on the winner's podium. The final Beardie standings were as follows: Chase, 4th (400/176.94); Sean, 8th (400/191.37); Kassi, 24th (361/188.74); Breezy, 36th (334/207.06). These final results show the value of consistency over sheer speed in a competition like this. Only 8 dogs of 91 in the class had four clean rounds.
It was great to spend the weekend with Jerry and Lu, Leslie and her husband, and their Beardies. Collectively, we had a lot to be proud of. Our dogs gave their best in every round and we all received numerous compliments on their performances. And we all went home with multiple green ribbons (well, except for Sunday, when they ran out of green ribbons because more teams had qualified than expected). As for me, I am really proud of myself- a whole weekend of pressure and not one attack of the major "stupids", a personal record. And Sean has four new toys he got to "shop" for himself- one for each clean run! So now its on the Springfield on Friday and three chances to earn that 10th MXJ leg.