The Black Sheep got two teams into the 24 team limited tournament on Thanksgiving weekend hosted by the Ulti-Mutts Flyball Team in Madison Wisconsin. The tournament was dedicated to Charlie Rettig one of the founders of Mad City Dog Training who passed away earlier this year. In their short time hosting tournaments Ulti-Mutts has always put on well organized and well run tournaments.
A Big Thanks to the Gateway Flyball Team for helping us out with passes, dog holding, and ball collecting for both of our teams on both days. Our Mare Potts helped them out collecting statistics all weekend, in addition to running dogs and acting as captain on both teams.
The Aces team on Saturday consisted of start dog Milo, Mr. Peabody, height dog Scout, and strong finisher Chaz; with Zamboni and Yancy filling out the team in backup positions. We had set an aggressive seed team to give the Aces a chance at breaking the 20.01 second team record. We were ranked as the slowest seed in Division 2 with a break out time of 18.7 seconds; plenty of room for a new record. However, it just wasn't to be. It seemed as if every heat something went wrong; slow starts, double faulting starts, dropped balls, bobbles, early passes, and late passes. We juggled positions within the lineup with some effect but the lineup never clicked. The biggest concerns were Mr. Peabody's stopping when coming back into Scout together with his overall slowness (5.0-5.2 vs. his usual 4.6-4.8) and Chaz's dropping the ball when rocketing back from the box. Looks like we'll need to figure out how to get this lineup solid! We totaled less than 200 pts for a whole days racing...and ended up in last place.
The good news on the Aces was that Yancy warmed up for a number of races and looked comfortable in the racing atmosphere as he single strode over the jumps.
The Bombers team was made up of height dog Ally, start dog Bogey, Molly, Carson, and back up dogs Tessa and Jake. Seeded into Division 4 with a break out time of 21 seconds; the bigger concern was to ensure the team would make sub 24 second runs to earn 25 points. The points were especially of interest since both Ally and Molly were within striking range of titles (FMX and FM respectively). As has often been the case, the Bombers ran well all day; but the 24 second time was a real problem; a number of runs were just hundredths of a second over the 24 second mark. Tony and Bogey continued their quest for the perfect start consistently starting at 0.0 to 0.1 all day long. Carson had a good Saturday and was looking more confident and picking up speed. At the end of the day the Bombers finished last but with good pass calling they were running as well as they could.
Sunday saw both team slightly revised; with Molly unavailable, so Mr. Peabody was moved to the Bombers to take her place and Zamboni took Mr. Peabody's slot. Once again the focus of both teams was on running clean 25 point runs; so we often didn't pay much attention to winning or losing against the other team.
The Aces ran better than on Saturday; Steve and Milo finally got their starts ironed out and between 0.0 and 0.2 most of the day, and Kris and Zamboni were turning in better and better times as they tightened up their passes. So the Aces got more points than on Saturday; but we weren't fast enough to be competitive in our division so we placed last. Yancy did his warm-ups and with some more practice it looks like he could help us put a third team together.
With the change to the Bombers line up they were a little more successful running under 24 seconds than on Saturday. Through the course of the day as some dogs slowed down others sped up. Unfortunately, they fell just shy of earning Ally her FMX. At the end of the day the Bombers ended up in last place. Competing at a tournament always teaches you something; we'll have to contemplate this one for a while to get the most out of the experience.