Ending of an Era

Back in 2001, I went to my first USDAA Nationals with Fly. It was my first National event ever, and it was in Del Mar, California, an easy flight for a first timer.  It was in September, just after 9/11/2001, so there was some question about whether or not I’d even be able to get ON a plane and fly there.  But, fly there I did, with Fly, and Tammy, and Blaze.

I still have the poster from that event, signed by Linda Mecklenburg, Terry Smorch, and I think Elicia Calhoun. Of course, Terry signed something to the effect of ‘run fast’, and Linda something to the effect of ‘many clean runs’.

I also remember watching Nancy Gyes and Riot run at that event in the GP Finals. It was something to behold.

My own personal goals were shaped in part by watching these teams run their dogs.  There was a magic, an allure, and there was just something about it that drew me in and spoke to me. It lit my fire, over 10 years ago, and has been at the core of my passion ever since.

Nancy lost Riot earlier this summer, and the others on the team, if they are still alive, are getting up there.  Really, it was Linda and Awesome (so little, but so FAST, just like Fly!! I aspired…), and then Nancy and Riot, who really inspired me and gave me something to chase after.  And so, the loss of Riot has impacted me more than I thought it would.  Watching Awesome run his last USDAA runs and his last AKC runs brought tears to my eyes at the time, and so I imagine that his loss will impact me even more.

If you’ve not been in the sport long enough to have seen firsthand these ‘greats’, you’ve missed out.  Most of their runs were before the era of Youtube, so that makes the memories even MORE special.

Now, of course, I’m under no illusions that dog agility is going to solve any of the world’s great and pressing problems, but still, here’s to the Great Ones in Agility: