Is it Summer or Mosquito Fest?

Wowza, we have been so busy the last couple of weeks so many changes in such a short period of time. First of all, I decided I had enough of my boring but cozy job and made a crazy decision to permantely move to my country home. Indeed that means, giving up all the comforts of the city and moving to my farm next week. The bonus with being taking some time off is the hours of time available to get outside and practice some throwing.
2008 I started to play disc, but it wasn’t until 2009 that I actually tried to teach my dogs anything let alone teach myself anything. Well it was very apparent my throwing was pretty bad in a nutshell. Two years later I can’t say it is amazing but I can say I have figured enough out that I now can throw some distance which just proves you can teach an old dog a new trick.
ARFF members have been busy putting on demos for Canada Day, River Valley Association, Pets in the Park and Rainmaker Rodeo to mention a few. Each of these events have had lots of spectators and growing the interest of the sport that we all love.
My next adventure is now to get some practice at a competition. No matter how many demos I have been doing lately there still is nothing like the day of competition that brings out the different nerves. I will be flying to Ottawa this weekend to compete with OD, Bones, Vapor and Skull. I’m looking forward to seeing all the competitors from this area and those that may come from the US.
With that I have been outside practicing like a mad man but the mosquitos.. oh my they are blood thirsty vampires right now. It is disgusting how bad they are and all I can say is I would prefer a drought any day then have these pests forcing you to stay inside. It is sad when OFF seems to attrack them more than to tell them to beat it. So all I can hope is that Ottawa isn’t as bad as it is right now in Edmonton and I throw amazing this weekend.
Wish me luck as I’m hoping my $1000 weekend lets me make the cut at least!

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Holy Man it is almost May!

I don’t know about you but time is zinging along it really does make my head hurt how quickly summer will be here. I watch all the disc events going on down South and excited about our group in Alberta. Kirstan is doing an amazing job teaching classes at two locations in the City. So many people are catching the bug that one thing I had always wished for might be reality real soon. Originally we were very hard pressed to make 20 teams in the distance and accuracy division and if we did have 20 teams that meant I entered my entire pack! This really is a wonderful feeling and a sense of accomplishment for all ARFF members that we have started to introduce this awesome sport to so many and so many are confident with their skills that they are supporting the club by participating and continuing to learn more advance moves daily. It truly is exciting.
Well the bad news is I did not with the lottery last week. Some lucky bugger in the City of Edmonton won 33.5 million and it wasn’t me I still can’t believe it wasn’t me! I keep telling the lottery god that I would build a state of art training facility so our disc enthusiasts could practice in a full size indoor arena all year long and if you wanted wind you just turn on the switch. Oh well, not point going on a tangent as this dream of mine might take a little longer to achieve.
I’m sure you are totally aware that the wedding of the Century will be happening tonight but if you haven’t where have you been? Oh right you are practicing your disc moves. Belonging to the Commonwealth does have its privileges you know. Our dollar stores will be filled with William & Kate’s memorabilia before the two even have a chance to say I DO, and you can contain your excitement I know you want it. But of course my big question is will there be a disc in honor of WK special day? I’m sure this would be a first for the industry.. hint hint So for those of you who are busy practicing and wonder why you receive 10 – WK discs in September 2011, you can thank me.

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ARFF’s Pot of Gold Fun Trial

March 19 has come and gone and thankfully the weather man was wrong about the 25-50 cm of snow that was predicted for the Saturday of the trial. We were all so happy not to have to deal with blizzard conditions. In the end with the last minute participants we ended up having 42 teams and I only brought six my crew! 85% of the participants were first time competitors; this is so exciting to see people getting involved and willing to enter when a few had just finished taking a 6 week course.
Our star teacher, Kristen McLane had two of her students from her last class. They entered all the distance & accuracy events plus their freestyle routines. Ann & Breezy (Aussie) did a great job, I still can’t believe they just finished the class! If only I was that good after six weeks. Kris amazed us all with her eager Corgi – Jax putting on some great moves, who knew a corgi could get such air! If you are in Calgary on March 26 -27 make sure you check out Petexpo as Jax will be wowing his fans once again.
Other highlights of the event was having the Calgary’s secret weapon come out and throw for Envy and OD. Envy is a 13 month old red/white border collie owned by Nancy Thornton and OD is one of my border collies. Who is the secret weapon you ask? Rob McCleod an ultimate player who has been very gracious with his time to give the Calgary group some lessons and tips for their D/A. I must say this group has really improved! The young and the old dogs didn’t let Rob down and his teams placed in the top 10. Thank goodness for all those foot faults by Rob otherwise he would have cleaned up. Of course our star line judge/timer – Mixmaster Eric would never ever let a foot foul go unnoticed, he waves his colors with pride. I guess remembering to stay behind the line while doing 30 -40 yard air bounces in a horse arena is just too much to ask a first time competitor who doesn’t even own a dog! In all seriousness we were all impressed with his skills and willingness to grow our sport.
I’m giving out another star to Marion who was the mad women in the kitchen for a week. Talk about ruining your Cuba vacation to come back knowing we need 900 cookies, various cakes and monster size dishes of chili to feed the competitors and Mix Master Eric. If you have never seen Eric, he is a toothpick but can eat like a 250lb man! The only thing is stopping Eric from eating all day is time itself.. the rest of us can’t wait all day for him to finish! He has zero concept of a minute to win it! Marion managed to complete the baking and cooking and not to mention throw like the master that she is. She owned the jackpot round with Rayne and won $85 but donated the money back to the club. You have a huge heart, Marion! Not to be undone she placed second in the D/A round with Petals who she says is not a player. Ya right, she was earning every possible .5 with her throws.
Not to be undone, Rex and Bill (ACDx) came in and dominated the time trial with a smoking time off 22.88 seconds when speedy Rex crossed the line. First time competitors and graduates from Kirsten’s class was Dale and Breezy (Aussie) with a time of 26.68. Third went to Jake our speedy sheltie and a bunch of close times in the thirty second range. Although Georgia, our 4 yr old time trial expert was a little short on her throws, it was great to see Mom (Melissa) & Daughter working as a team for Jessie. They still came under the wire but won the best group effort by far. Although seeing Georgia roll across the starting line was comical, I just have to ask, Mel did you not get the memo stating this is a HORSE arena? I sure hope nobody from child services was there to witness this. It still is a highlight of my week!
Kirstin O’Neill with her very unique breed a Berger Picard named Euro competed for the first time in a Skyhoundz trial but not new to the performance arena by any means. With years of Superdog experience behind this team, they came out and did a great freestyle routine, not to mention Kirstin throwing 122’ for Bones to take the longest throw inside the barn. Unfortunately, Euro broke his toe the following day at another event and will be on crate rest for the next two months but watch out folks, Kirstin is beyond creative in her moves and throws and I can’t wait to see what she brings to the table in August!
Then there was the king of the Microdogs. Bobbi and Brian cleaned up in the micro class with their little speedy demons of Targa, Roush and Enzo. For the next trial if we do get the group of guys to enter we will have the Flex your Muscle reward. It was so much fun to see the significant others participating also these were just some of the couples out: Leo/Alysa, Olyn/Bernard, Dave/Marion, Bobbi/Brian and so many other couples that the names escape me.
Last but least I will toot my own horn and pat myself on the back for having a decent weekend of throwing. I didn’t say amazing as I still have a long way to go but considering only last year I still couldn’t get past 20 yards, I was able to pull off longest throw for a micro dog at 113’ and the following day at the Dynamo event I threw 114’ for OD giving him top dog for the big kids and Vapor won the micro division at 96’. Indeed these are not world record throws by any means but inside a horse arena and many dogs do not like to run into a wall (unless you are Euro) to make every foot count. Overall, I’m just happy to see my throwing arm is improving and I haven’t even had a chance to practice outdoors yet. Oh wait outdoors screws up everything for me.. that bloody wind!!
Last but not least Marion created a youtube channel of some of the freestyle players that ventured out onto the field. Our next big gig for ARFF is April 16, which is a demo at the Innisfail Agri-Trade. Last year at this event we were practicing outside and had no jackets on, I highly doubt the mounds of snow will be gone yet but I can only keep my fingers crossed. Hopefully I can figure out how to include the links, if not email ARFF and we will send you the details.
Until next time!
Happy Throwing!

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Spring are you here yet?

March 8, 2011 and it is still stinking winter outside! To put my comment into perspective, with the wind chill at 7am this morning it was -30C in the City of Edmonton and 45 minutes from the city at my farm it was -35C. The long range forecast is more of the same. This is completely depressing being stuck in this Artic high not to mention more snow in the forecast. I guess if I was a skier I would be jumping up for joy to be able to enjoy the powder but all I want to do is get out and toss some discs! Have I mentioned that I have disc envy, yes I do watching the teams who competed in Florida wearing shorts and t-shirts. It really is not fair living in a country that seems to have winter from October to May!
Our first indoor trial is next week, it is not going to be a large affair by any means but at least it is an indoor place with no cold snapping wind. Kristen McLane has been busy teaching classes the last 3 weeks and hopefully some of her enthusiastic students will venture down south for the trial. Lots of disc biting hounds in the class and they all are loving their Jawz so much that we had to put in a rush order for more. Thanks Nancy for getting them out so quickly.
April 16, ARFF is invited back to the Innisfail for their annual agri-trade show, we have been asked to put on two shows. Space might be a little tight again and the surface is concrete so not the ideal situation but great for the local farm community to see the dogs jump and run. Hopefully mother nature is on my side by then and I will be able to get the mats out of the snow! Like I said it has been one of those long ugly winters.
Otherwise everyone is itching to get those discs out. Throwing in the snow is not bad when you have your gloves on. It is that bone chilling wind that really makes you wonder why I still live here. Oh I remember now I don’t have a green card!
So unless I manage to scrape up a green card, or lucky enough to win the lottery as immigration rules seem to be easier when you can drop your wallet, the only thing that is for sure is spring will eventually show up and then the massive melt down will follow suit. Once again I will be complaining that I cannot practice outdoors as the ground has become one massive mushy, mud pit. Oh the joys of living in Alberta.

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Happy Valentines Day

2011 has started off as a busy one for ARFF members.  As usual winter takes its toll on practicing outside but the members have managed to keep things going with various indoor practice nights in Calgary and in Edmonton.  This is a great way to help each other get that perfect disc placement and more importantly develop great friendships and bonds with each other. 

ARFF is hosting our very first indoor trial in Balzac, Alberta on March 19. For those of you who have no idea where Balzac is, it is about 30 minutes North of Calgary. The stable that is being used is very popular with the agility people so hopefully a few of that group decide to pick up a disc and try a new sport.   

This trial is borrowing the St. Patrick’s day theme so some lucky disc participant will be winning a pot of gold!  As the facility is a horse barn we will be focusing on D/A and Time Trial.  Here’s hoping we can get more than 12 teams entered!

Other big news is our qualifier weekend and venue location is changing this year.  We are moving the event outside of the City of Edmonton as the smaller communities are very open to having the dogs performing in the soccer fields rather than having to use the off leash dog parks. Each venue comes with its pros & cons. The pros to the new site is large open park setting, no additional fencing required, and camping close by.  Of course one con could be the mosquito population by that time.  At least in the City they will spray the parks but usually in the rural areas the best that will be done is the grass will be cut. Pray for a dry summer and come prepared with your repellent!  The dates for the Western Canadian qualifier is Aug 27-28.

Kristen McLane is busy teaching her second set of disc classes at It’s A Dog’s Life in Edmonton.  She has 7 dogs in the class and lots of dogs with potential to make some great disc doggers.  I will remind Kristen to take a group picture so it can be posted on the site. 

Other news going on, I am getting another dog, yes what a shock. Actually SHE is a 18 month Dalmatian and will eventually be bred to our first Dalmatian Jake that I have artificially collected for the last 18 years.  We are going to try to get her interested in playing disc as I would love to have another one of my purebreds playing.

Until next time Happy Valentine’s day.

ARFF

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