The Cockapoo Club of GB held their 3rd annual Cockapoo Games at Woodland Waters in Lincolnshire this weekend and I'm delighted to report that it was the biggest one yet and a huge success!
We travelled up to Lincolnshire after work on Thursday arriving at the campsite around 9.15pm. A quick set up in the dark and a few drinks with Julie and Darron before heading off to bed!
Friday was Ian's birthday so we had cards and presents first thing and then finished getting our camp set up for the weekend. Other people were arriving all day and the rest of our party were all in place by late afternoon. We were camped with Julie and Darron, Pip, Stu and Phoebe, and Sarah and Andy (my sister and brother-in-law).
This year I had agreed to organise the Agility competition - something I've never done before and was naturally a little apprehensive. We hired in the agility equipment which was due to arrive at lunch time on Friday, but unfortunately it didn't arrive until 4pm due to the van breaking down. Once it arrived I set about laying out the first course we would need on Saturday morning. Thankfully I had a great group of helpers so it didn't take long.
Once built, we had a practice for our first event. For some reason I had volunteered to open the Games with a talk about Agility, to explain what it is and hopefully give the spectators a bit more knowledge to help them understand the competition a little better. I had roped in some friends so late in the afternoon we had a run through of the demonstration and I was really pleased with how it was shaping up. I had Mandy and Flo, Eileen and Rupert, John and Bilbo and Jon and Barney to assist with the demonstration.
Practice over and it was off to Woodys bar for the CCGB AGM. This was followed by drinks chez Jones before bed and a bad nights sleep worrying about the events of the following day.
Up bright and breezy on Saturday and it was time for the Games to begin! The most daunting part was the demonstration where I presented my talk from the agility arena using a microphone! It went OK apart from the wind whipping my notes out of my hand causing me to chase them across the course, and my usual issue when I'm nervous of forgetting to breathe!! My assistants did a magnificent job demonstrating the individual areas that they had volunteered for, and then we all ran the full course to show how the same course can be tackled by different handlers and dogs. All of the handlers and dogs did a fab job and the feedback that I have had since the event has been really positive. The competition began shortly after with the Beginner Steeplechase followed by the Intermediate Steeplechase before lunch.
During the lunch break we took part in the 'Poo Parade where the official count of 228 Cockapoos took place - followed by a group photo which took an eternity to organise!! I'm still not sure how I managed to hold Pepper up for that length of time!
Back to the agility ring and on with the Beginner Agility and finally the Intermediate Agility. We had 75 dogs through the agility ring with waggy tails and smiling handlers! My aim for the day was to give everyone a positive experience of taking part in agility competitions so that they would feel less daunted about entering other shows! I really hope that I achieved that.
I really couldn't be happier with how everything went. The courses that I designed flowed well and Pepper was amazing all day, testing all of the courses to make sure they were OK, and her contacts were stunning.
I really couldn't have got through the day without my fantastic group of helpers but must give special thanks to my friend Mandy who managed the ring while I was judging and gave me great support and reassurance about the courses and judging decisions.
When the event was finished we were able to relax and enjoy the company of our friends over a BBQ and a few drinks. Unfortunately this was dampened by the news that one of the Cockapoos had gone missing when it was spooked by fireworks being set off at the wedding on site. We had been warned that there would be fireworks at 9.30pm, but they were let off early and it caught everyone by surprise. Barney was missing all night - a worrying time for his family. But we woke to the news that he returned at 6.30am trotting out of the woods with a wagging tail carrying one of the socks that had been laid down to help guide him home!
My favourite night of the weekend was Sunday! Drinks around a campfire with great friends and the girls toasting marshmallows. A perfect end to a great weekend! Bring on next year - how many 'poos will we get?