The SupaDarl Finals this year were kindly hosted once again by RVA at the East of England showground, they were held on Saturday July 10th at Just Dogs Live show. The change from our Friday June date meant almost full turnout of invitees.
The qualifiers are decided by the results from the previous years SupaDarl league. This year the ring was next to the grandstand which allowed our spectators to watch the event from the comfort of the shade on one of the hottest days of the year, although I did miss the atmosphere and banter from the ringside that the event usually generates, at least everyone except our poor judge was able to find some shade. '
The Team' Jackie Bulmer, Lynne Kelly and Renee Patience who commentated (and almost managed not to cry reading out the stories), put in the usual hard work they do every year, for which I am extremely grateful and thank-you to our extra helpers, Liz Brown, Joanne & Christopher Berry, Brian & Joyce Hazel, Amanda Brophy, Enid G and everyone else who pitched in on the day. I must add a huge thank-you to our sponsors Burgess Pet Care who allow us to provide such wonderful trophies and prizes, their generosity also provides a finalists rosette and bag of food for everyone who qualifies and goodie bags for our helpers.
One of the thank-you letters I received from Ruth Grint summed up the event far better then I can:
“To all concerned, I just wanted to say a huge and heartfelt thank-you to everyone who was involved with the SupaDarl finals. It was a wonderful day, the rosettes were superb and the trophies looked amazing. A special word must go to
I was delighted to be invited by Karen Fuller and The SupaDarl Rescue league as I have the greatest admiration for anyone who is willing to spend a great deal of time and patience, to develop a bond of trust and love with their ‘second-hand’ dogs. To qualify for the finals each partnership had to be exceptionally consistent over the past year, with some well-known combinations amongst them.
The ‘Big Day’ for all the rescue dogs and their handlers had finally arrived – dry, bright and eventually very hot. Unfortunately, there was very little available shade by
the ring, as this was situated in the main arena, surrounded by a speedway track. This was when the arena’s permanent stands became very useful, by providing much needed shade for those waiting to compete. This did mean however, that competitors had to walk across the speedway track to reach the ring – probably about 30 metres each way. One competitor did comment after her run, that it was like the ‘walk of shame’ after her little dog had decided she couldn’t possibly do any work!
All the courses had been designed for handler and dog to enjoy themselves and celebrate reaching the final. So my aim was to try to encourage forward movement, with elements of handling ‘at speed’, yet not be ‘trappy’or ‘runners’ courses. The jumping course in the morning was a grade 1-7 (old style open), which everyone ran at their own height, with awards for the different categories. The aim was to give everyone a chance to ease their nerves and there were some lovely runs in all the classes. A number of times I did have a quiet chuckle as some of the characters of the dogs shone through! A couple of terriers ‘growled’ their way round whilst others just looked as though they were laughing – probably saying ‘come on keep up’!
In the afternoon, the Agility Finals had two different courses which were run in the following categories: large grades 5-7, large grades3-4, medium grades 4-7, small grades 4-7. The other course was for large grade1, large grade 2, small grades 1-3 and mediums grades 1-3. Well it seemed that the nerves had settled in most cases as handlers seemed far more relaxed and the majority of errors came from a missed contact.
In the large categories;
Leah Gardner had two superb runs with Herbie and Hex, winning both the large 5-7 and large 3-4 jumping classes. Hex then did the double by winning the large 3-4 agility class. Helen Davey-Smith and Pops did the most stunning faultless round in 27.987 secs to win the Large 5-7 agility class with Becca Middleton & Kit hot on her heels in a time of 28.279 secs. Grade 1 saw Linda Manning and Maximum Bounce take both top awards. Sue Mather & Lingfield Scout, had a great run and took 1st place in the grade 2 agility.
In the medium classes, Naomi Harriman and her little poodle Zippy claimed the double with both the 4-7 jumping and agility with Roger Brown and Kimmy gaining 2nd in the jumping and 3rd in the agility. Alison Harwood and Cass Cade proved to be the most consistent in the 1-3s being 2nd in jumping then winning the agility.
In the small classes, Sean Clinch and Martine Wates swapped 1st and 2nd in both rounds of the 4-7s with Sean winning the agility with Lucy. Sara Gilding finishing 3rd each time! Grade 1-3 top spot was taken by He’s Just Cooper, a smashing little Jack Russell, and Claire Powell and was also 2nd in the morning.
It was a super day, well done to everyone who took part. Also a big thank you to the ‘behind the scenes crew’ who made everything run like clockwork.
Helen Davey-Smith & Pop Be Nimble Pop Be Quick
Leah Gardner & Chafford Demon Tweaks
Linda Manning & Maximum Bounce
Sue Mather & Lingfield Scout
Naomi Harriman & Forestflame Portos
Sean Clinch & True Lady
Claire Powell & He's Just Cooper
Alison Harwood & Cass Cade