September 8th and 9th, the Black Sheep headed up to the Washington County Fairgrounds in West Bend, Wisconsin. We were really impressed! For their first tournament ever, the sponsoring team, High Fives, chose a relatively new fairgrounds with a great building for racing. They provided hot food both days and swept the mats between races to ensure our safety. We had a great time and appreciate all the extra effort. We can recommend that tournament for next year!
We raced Division 3 at 8 inches both days of this tournament.
On Saturday, Ulu started the running order, Ally ran second, Simon & Cody took turns running third, and Allie ran the anchor leg. Allie's mom, Amy, was our boxloader. We ended up second to the "Got Balls?" team from Madison. We really missed our loyal teammate, Melissa, who stayed home in Chicago to dog-sit!
On Sunday, Ulu and Ally ran with Molly and Bogey. Molly's mom, Helene, boxloaded. After a three-way tie for third place was sorted out, we went home with the fifth place ribbons and "2001: A Cheddar Odyssey" lapel pins.
goes to our curly-coated cutie, Ulu, who earned the title of Flyball
Master for achieving 5,000 points on Saturday. Not to be outdone,
little Ally McBeal also earned the right to add "FM" (Flyball Master)
to her titles on Sunday. Congratulations to Ulu & Charlene and Ally &
The Hit Squad "Dog Days of Summer" Tournament in Urbana Illinois lived up to its name! The weather was sunny with temperatures in the 90's and only a slight breeze. We crated outdoors on the lawn in a little tent encampment. Two lanes of indoor, un-airconditioned, racing were held in the Urbana National Guard Armory building all day both days. As the day went on the heat made it critical that all dogs on each team be utilized to give each dog enough rest and recovery time.
The tragedy of the weekend occurred between races on Saturday. While walking across the Armory floor Ulu's mom Charlene was knocked violently to the ground by a dog that came racing off the end of one of the ring's mats. An ambulance was called and evaluation at the hospital found Charlene had suffered a broken rib. We always thought Flyball wasn't a contact sport... Thankfully, Charlene is recovering ... and looking forward to future flyball races.
The racing on Saturday was dampened in light of everyone's concern for our teammate. The Aces team consisted of Scout, Simon, Bogey, Zamboni, and Allie. A seed time of 21.50 put them in Division Four with a breakout time of 20.3 seconds. The Bombers team was made up of Ulu, Ally, Cody, Molly, Jake, and Clark in Division Six with a breakout time of 21.5 seconds. Allie's mom Amy was box-loader for both teams (hope her voice has recovered!).
The Aces were racing in a single round robin followed by single elimination finals. The mostly veteran lineup went on to win second place in spite of the heat. The Bombers ended up in fifth place, having to run the rest of the day without the starts and speed of Charlene and Ulu. Veteran Jake (ONYX) kept the team of seasoned dogs and handlers going for the remainder of the racing. Both teams ran with basically five dog rotations, the dog's stamina in the hot conditions were really amazing.
The Sunday Aces team was again placed in Division Four with a 20.3 breakout time. Bogey, Zamboni, Mr. Peabody, Milo, Scout and Ally made up the team. Since five of the dogs were on the same team as competed in Iowa, there was a good chance for a breakout in the early part of the day. Mary Potts came up with a strategy to run the three BCs at 8 inch jumps with Ally as the height dog for at least the first two heats of each race. If it looked like the team could continue on to a win Ally would stay in. If more speed was needed the jumps were raised to 10 inches and "secret weapon" Scout was substituted for Ally. In the first race of the day this lineup knocked out a just-above-break-out 20.34 to get the win against Canine Athletics Curveballs.
The Aces had a single loss (to Hawkeye Hustlers What - ultimately the first seed) in the races leading up to the single elimination finals and were seeded in second place. A win against High Fives Down Low put the Aces up against the winner of the winner's bracket (Hit Squad Kiss Our Fanny). In that race Hit Squad was taken to five races by Hawkeye Hustlers and had only a one race break before their final race against the Aces (The Aces and several other Division Four teams had faced a one race break between races earlier in the day). The final race was a comedy of errors - dogs crossing over, missed starts, and knocked jumps caused the judge to wonder when the racing would start. But the Aces held on to win first place!
It has been a number of years since Black Sheep Squadron has taken a trip to to Amana, Iowa for a Flyball tournament. The four hour trip was well worth it as we took first place place in division three! Hawkeye Hustlers' tournament was one of the best overall Flyball experiences: a good site with good food combined with friendly teams and tough competition in a fast moving tournament.
The site was a large grassed RV park with two air conditioned buildings - one for racing and the other for crating. We stayed outside in the sunny 80 degree weather with a lovely breeze. There was plenty of room for setting up including water and electricity. Good food was provided on site by the Hawkeye Hustlers. This was a single tournament held over two days. There were 100+ races the first day and 75 the second day. But good organization and no-nonsense judging was getting over 10 heats run per hour.
The racing was what really made the weekend. The format was a double round robin (we raced each team twice) followed by a single elimination final. While some of the big Midwest teams did not attend, Omaha 4 Play, Dynomutts, and BC Boomerangs were in our division. Hawkeye Hustler's When team had to drop out - giving each team two byes. Bogey, Zamboni, Mr. Peabody, Milo, Scout and Jake (together with their supporters) made up the team. We used our fastest line up of Bogey, Mr. Peabody, Milo, and Scout whenever we saw we would have a tough race. The two bye races let us run Zamboni and Jake and rest Bogey and Mr. Peabody. Zamboni also ran in our races against BC Boomerangs.
The 20.8 break out time turned out to be a real problem for this team, as all the dogs were over their injuries and running their fastest (Mr. Peabody 4.5-4.7, Bogey 4.6-4.8, Milo 4.8-5.0, and Scout 5.0-5.2). Thanks to Tresa Laferty from BC Boomerangs for timings!. We ended up the first seed into the elimination with a single loss and two break outs. We almost didn't get into the final race when we were down 0-2 against Dynomutts due to assorted problems - but came back to win. In the final race, against Omaha 4 Play, we had to run fast but had no break outs to spare - they had pushed us to our first break out on Saturday. This time we forced them to break out (20.4) to tie 2-2 and ultimately beat them in the final heat.
As we told everyone there, we are looking forward to coming back for future Hawkeye tournaments!
Mary Potts' Scout reached a major Flyball milestone; 20,000 points during the DART In-Dog-Pendence Summer Flyball Tournament. That's a minimum of 800 twenty-five point runs! The NAFA ONYX award is granted to dogs who have achieved this performance level.
Scout has been racing Flyball for four years and has been a member of Black Sheep Squadron for the past year.
On Sunday at the DART "In-Dog-Pendence Summer Flyball Tournament" in Rockford Illinois Black Sheep Squadron won 1st place in Division 5 (a few years ago you would never imagine division 5 could have a 21.0 second break out time). The team of BSS veterans Ulu, Scout, Ally, and Mr. Peabody were joined by "youngsters" Eero and Milo. With a team made up of only two BCs we were actually running a Multi-Breed team...
All dogs contributed in tactically challenging five dog rotation with Milo and Peabody sharing a slot. The highlights of the tournament included: