Maybell Dog Agility Trials set for this weekend
June 9, 2010
Maybell Park is no ordinary campground this month.
Several recreational vehicles were parked side-by-side around the edge of the grassy park Tuesday, and a group of about five campers gathered at a picnic table sampling fresh salsa and cool beverages.
Around them, dog crates and small corrals held border collies, Jack Russell terriers and other mild-mannered canines.
The dogs and humans alike are gearing up for a big weekend.
The Maybell Dog Agility Trials, a sanctioned North American Dog Agility Council event, will continue Friday through Sunday for the second of three events.
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The series started over Memorial Day weekend and will culminate with a third event June 18 through 20.
Events begin at 9 a.m. and will end around 3 p.m., said Lori Visintainer, the event organizer and a Craig resident.
She said the event, which is in its seventh year, could draw 20 to 50 competitors.
"And, no one has just one dog," she said.
The event will feature seven classes of different agility courses with tube elements, weaving poles, hoops and A-frame shapes.
Visintainer is one of about 15 campers at Maybell Park who remains for the duration of the three events.
She said the camaraderie among people and dogs is one of the things that draw handlers back to Maybell each year.
"It's about the challenge of working through the course," Visintainer said. "But then, it became about the people."
Her campsite neighbors represent several states, and dog handler Gro Aasgaard made the trip from Calgary, Canada.
Four years ago, Aasgaard bought an RV so she could camp in Maybell for the events.
"The agility competition is the main reason I come, but I could go just anywhere to do that," she said. "The town is great, the people are friendly. It's great for me to see all these people from all over."
Don Cuda travels around the nation competing in two to three agility trials each month.
"Some of us are retired and don't know any better," laughed Cuda.
He said his children have grown and moved away.
"They probably think I'm crazy," he said.
But, it's more than a hobby. It's a way of life.
"It's an addiction," he said.
Agility contests can be enjoyable for spectators as well, said Nancy Chanover, of New Mexico.
"You get to see the companionship and teamwork between dog and handler," Chanover said. "It looks complicated when a dog is doing it, but we all started with dogs that didn't know how to do it."
Elaine Osmun said coming to Maybell events for her is like coming to a family reunion.
Ahe said anyone who comes to watch will enjoy the show, as well.
"It's because we're entertaining," she said.