Saturday, June 26, 2010

WWWA Versatility Weekend: Part 4

By Tom Koler

Lure-coursing was the fourth event to be held over the versatility weekend. Up to this point, Gator had squeaked ahead of his sister to win the sprints and oval, and Fecni took the conformation win. Luna’s forte, however, is the lure-course. In true form she was giving her brother another tough competitive run, when suddenly she came up lame by the end of the first course. Regretfully, we had to scratch her from the final run of the weekend. With his last run of the day, Gator won the ribbons for most versatile in breed by his wins the best of breed in LGRA and ASFA and high score in breed for NOTRA. All in all, it was a successful long weekend despite having to scratch Fecni from the racing and Luna having a bum foot.

The Western Washington Whippet Association has a very well run and efficient three day event over Memorial Day weekend. Our hats are off in thanks to Beth Levine who ran the show for the ASFA lure-coursing; and thanks again to Keri Swepton for her leadership in running the LGRA sprints, NOTRA oval, and the fun conformation match. During our stay, I was able to renew some old friendships from our days as members of WWWA in the 1980s. It was nice to see that our old organization is very much alive and thriving. We will definitely be sending Magyar Agárs to future WWWA Versatility Weekends!

By two in the afternoon we were packed and ready to make an early exit from the polo grounds. We had a twelve hour ride ahead of us, and getting off as early as possible was a necessity. Early in our trip we were to discover that Luna had started her heat. Poor Gator, worn out in competitive running for a total distance of just a little over a mile, was to endure twelve hours in a confined space with two very attractive girls. To say the least, his restlessness was a good source for staying awake during our trip. The trip itself was uneventful with the Great White Whale sailing down Interstate-5 breezing through western Washington and Oregon. At the California border, Audrey took over for a first trial run of the behemoth van. Eleven o’clock at night is a good time to try to drive a vehicle that drives like a helium-filled über balloon. Audrey drove like a pro and by 1:30 AM she pulled onto her driveway in Davis.

Our trip north would not have been successful without our friends in the Olympia area. Charlotte and Claire Lattimore were very gracious hosts, and hopefully future MA owners. Claire and the MAs were a little team of energy every morning before the events, and in the evening she captained the hounds into playful games. There’s nothing more full of energy than a five-year-old and three MAs!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

WWWA Versatility Weekend: Part 3

By Tom Koler and Audrey Hsia

The Tacoma Polo Grounds are well-hidden northeast from Olympia. With a little effort we were able to find the grounds and navigate the Great White Whale to a parking area. We got there just before check-in time, and found out that Fecni was in heat. That was the reason for Gator not having a very quiet road trip on Thursday and Friday. This left us with just Luna and Gator, although Fecni had several chances to meet new people and hounds.

The first day of the Western Washington Whippet Association’s Versatility Weekend is the LGRA 200 yard sprint. As usual the brother and sister team were nose to nose at the finish line but Gator in the end squeaked out the win. Several people expressed an interest in the MAs and we had a chance to visit with Ann Chamberlain, who has expressed a lot of interest in our breed. Everyone had kind words for Gator and Luna and both of them brought home plenty of loot for the trophy room.

After a long hot bath and some dinner with Charlotte and Claire we were ready to turn in for the night. Everyone slept soundly and woke up bright and early the next morning for the NOTRA race meet.

The two pups have only had limited experience running the oval but they both ran it like pros. The first race of the day drew loud applause from the onlookers as the two sped by in perfect unison for an even tie, which was confirmed by the club's video camera that they had set up at the finish line. Thankfully for the finish line judges the last two races were much easier to judge, although the two siblings were still running neck and neck for the most part. In the end Gator proved the victor yet again for another point towards his ORC.

To top things off, even Leeroy the longhaired dachshund got to do a fun run. We weren't sure if he was going to make it the entire 300 yards but to everyone’s surprise and delight he finished with a flurry across the finish line! He's now got a whole new fan club up in the PNW :-)

After the oval meet we stuck around for the fun match. This was Gator's debut appearance in the show ring and he did fantastic! For a dog that's had no show training he handled himself beautifully and was given lots of praise by the judge.

Since there's no restrictions on showing bitches in season, Fecni finally got her chance to step out of the van and into the spotlight. To our great delight she ended up winning best female and best of breed! The judge lauded her effortless movement and gave her serious consideration for best in match, but ultimately that award went to the whippet. Nevertheless it was great to have Fecni do so well since she couldn't participate in the running events.

Thanks to Kerie Swepton for helping us getting signed-up and checked-in. Kerie had a heck of a job with a very large entry of whippets along with the large gazehounds.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

WWWA Versatility Weekend: Part 2

By Tom Koler

We spent a quiet night in Ashland and hit the road first thing on Friday morning. Ashland is nestled in the Klamath Mountains which straddle the Oregon and California border. The Klamath geology is very complicated and geologists and miners are always attracted to this area. This is because over geologic time several Japan-size island archipelagoes have become “accreted” to the North American Plate. There are at least three of these volcanic arcs squished together, and all are sources for gold. The southern Oregon gold rush started in the early 1850s, shortly after the Californian Forty-Niners arrived in the Sierran foothills east of Sacramento.

This part of Oregon is very much like northern California, or as native Oregonians (like me) like to think, the northern fringes of California and southern Oregon are the great “state” of Jackson. At one point in history, Jackson almost became a state. The climate and vegetation are similar and this part of the US was settled by like-minded, independent thinkers as settlers entered this part of Oregon in the 1840s on the Applegate Trail (a part of the Oregon Trail).

Our trip in the Great White Whale (as we have named the white van) from Ashland to the Portland area was pleasant and relatively free of traffic. The MAs slept quietly with the exception of Gator who slept in starts and fits. We couldn’t quite figure out why he was such a worry-wart until Saturday morning (see Part 3). We made a mid-day stop to visit my folks who had never seen MAs before. They live just west of Portland and after lunch we then headed up I-5 towards Olympia.

The Mt. St. Helens’ Volcano Monument is about half way between Portland and Olympia. This was a good place for stretching our legs and the visit inside is worth the stop. On clear days you can see Mt. St. Helens from the viewing deck. Unfortunately the mountain was clouded in rain clouds and it was unlikely to clear while we were there. Mt. St. Helens is a special place for me because I started my geology career within the shadow of the mountain when it was erupting in the early 1980s.

The final leg of our trip ended in Olympia, the capital of Washington State. Lori and I lived here for thirteen years before our travels took us to Idaho and California. Fortunately Lori and I still have friends in the Olympia area, and we were warmly taken in by Charlotte and Claire Lattimore and their dog, Daisy. Claire and the pups took to each other right away :-)

Monday, June 14, 2010

Happy Birthday AU F's!!!!

Happy Birthday to a very special litter, the Aranyági Utonálló "F" litter: Fruska, Fáma, Fagyöngy, Fenyves, Fabula (Remy), Fenség (Gil), Furfang, and Fortély (Füg).

You are three years old today and what a wonderful three years it has been! We love you all!!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

WWWA Versatility Weekend: Part 1

The Western Washington Whippet Association hosted three days of racing, lure coursing and a sighthound fun match over Memorial Day weekend. We have been meaning to travel up the PNW to do some PR work for the Magyar Agars for a long time now, so we finally decided to make the versatility weekend our debut so we could highlight the breed's athletic prowess to a new audience.

It takes about 12 hours to drive from Sacramento to Olympia, WA. Unfortunately I had jury duty obligations on Tuesday that could not be postponed, so we knew we'd be making a long trip back home on Monday. Thankfully however, we had the freedom to pace ourselves on the way up so we packed all our gear, the three MAs (Gator, Luna and Fecni) and the token dachshund, Leeroy, into the van and began our journey to Ashland, Oregon on Thursday afternoon.

Ashland is almost halfway between Sacramento and Olympia, and we made very good time despite periods of heavy rain. We stopped off at Shasta to meet up with one of Tom's geology colleagues. The temperature had dropped noticeably since leaving the Sacramento valley, but being the tough dogs that they are the MAs weren't phased a bit.

The scenery on the way up the states was absolutely breath-taking, and only got better as we moved along. There's definitely no shortage of wide open spaces and greenery in Oregon!

We reached Ashland by early evening and checked into our hotel before heading out to grab some dinner. After settling everyone into their respective rooms it wasn't long before we drifted off to sleep for the night. It's been a long time since I've stayed in anything nicer than a Motel 6, so the dogs and I definitely took advantage of the plush amenities in the hotel room.

And so concluded our first day of travel. Stay tuned for the next installment of our trip.

News from Abroad: New Coursing Champion!

Aranyagi Utonallo Fenyves is now the first pup from the AU "F" Litter to earn a European coursing championship. She is also the first to complete both her European coursing championship and her European conformation championship. So far that makes two dual champions in the family (performance and conformation), and hopefully she'll be adding her third championship for racing very soon.

Congratulations to her owner Waltraud Sporer and her breeder Andrea Lugosi!