Trained dogs compete in agility trials

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Well-trained and energetic dogs showcased their talents in Maybell as part of the Grand Olde West Days celebration.

Sixty-five dogs and 40 handlers participated in various dog agility events Saturday and Sunday.

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The North American Dog Agility Council, or NADAC, sponsored the event. Craig residents Lori and Gary Visintainer were the co-organizers.

"People are here from Canada, New Mexico, Wyoming, California and throughout Colorado," Lori Visintainer said.

A number of different dog breeds were timed and assessed points as they navigated jumps, tunnels, a dog walk, an A-frame and weaved through poles.

A combination of novices and experienced handlers attempted to qualify for the national dog agility championships this fall in Gillette, Wyo.

Sharon Nelson, NADAC creator, said most of the participants travel the nation on a circuit.

"We go to about seven or eight shows all together," she said.

Nelson made the trek to Maybell from Calera, Okla., and put Reggie, her 18-month-old Jack Russell Terrier, through the course in addition to helping organize the event.

"We compete while we're here and mainly we just watch people have fun," Nelson said.

Dogs and their handlers are charged with "faults" for incorrectly navigating the course, and every course has a certain amount of time allowed for scoring.

"It depends on the number of obstacles and how technical the course is," Nelson said.

The Maybell course allowed users 31 seconds and the Gillette championships are "even tighter" in its time-allowance.

Mary Kurtz, of Steamboat Springs, relaxed Saturday in the shade with friend Cathy Shryock, also of Steamboat Springs.

"This is my first time at this show and we're learning a lot," Kurtz said, her 21-month-old Boston Terrier Emma sitting nearby.

"It's a pretty competitive experience. You just have to go out there and you really have to gather yourself. It's been great seeing the elite handlers."

Drew Turner can be reached at 824-7031, ext 211, or aturner@craigdailypress.com.

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