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June President's Message from USDAA

The June 2017 President's Message from Ken Tatsch of USDAA.


We want to congratulate our winners of the Eastern Title Mania event. Next month will be the third Title Mania event of the year in Franklin, Tennessee, July 6-9. If you have not had an opportunity to explore this new event, we encourage you to check it out! There may be some confusion as to just what is Title Mania, as it offers a unique scoring system to evaluate performance over the course of the entire weekend, with three rounds in each class. It is a good test of your progress in development of your skill sets for competition as well as provides an opportunity to earn multiple titles in a single weekend.

With all the focus on tournaments for head-to-head competition over the past decade, it is easy to lose sight of training the basics. Training and development of your competitive skill sets is really what so-called "Titling" classes are all about. These classes were not intended to just reward accomplish with "Title Certificates", but instead to measure progress and effectiveness in developing the skills sets when certain milestones were set. It is important to understand that each level, from Starters to Masters Challenge shifts emphasis in the nature of challenges, until finally all are fully integrated. We have always placed great emphasis in training judges and in our programs on course design. Each course should have a purpose and follow the concept for its level and class type. The course design is the key to presenting opportunities to encourage effective training of the different skill sets and measuring progress in application of those skill sets at each level, which will make us more effective competing in the ring, not to mention having a better relationship with our dogs.

So what is Title Mania? In part, it is three rounds of competition at each level in each individual titling class. Collectively, however, it pulls everything together through its unique scoring system that measures progress throughout the weekend reflecting a better measure of progress. It puts emphasis on your accomplishments in training and performance, and not just whether you win or lose. It also provides flexibility to let you try competition at a higher level and be recognized through Title Mania special awards at the event, so it can be appealing too, to those who have never tried USDAA, to give it a try at their desired level. Results toward actual titles are recoded and titles are recognized once all requirements are met.

So we invite you to take a moment and look at the program, which has its own web site at www.usdaatitlemania.com. The regulations and event reports can also be found on USDAA.com. Planning is now underway for a 2018 national Title Mania event to once again be held as an Olympic Day event. Look for details to be announced later this summer.

With planning for Cynosport 2017 in full swing, the test schedule and entry forms will be out in the next few weeks. They will be found on Cynosport.com and the usdaa.com calendar of events. Each year, we always have the added challenge of having to work ahead, as the event takes more than a year of planning, not just by us, by the many USDAA affiliated groups that organize the regional championships. We are pleased to announce the schedule of 2018 Regional events and the return to Scottsdale, Arizona, for the 2018 Cynosport World Games, October 31 through November 4. We will have more details, including updated tournament regulations for 2018, available later this summer. The 2018 tournament season will begin on September 5, 2017 and run through September 3, 2018.

We are proud to welcome a fine group of people into the ranks as official USDAA judges after the successfully completed the Rules and Course Design Clinic this month in California. The new judges are:

Moving up to Masters:

  • Ken Boyd
  • Brian Ferrand
  • Dale Mahoney
  • Teri Thompson

New Starter/Advanced:

  • Lonny Elson
  • Roger Ly

We also wish to recognize and thank Les Sanders and Paul Stolzenberg, two of our dozen or so course reviewers, for their great support, as they step aside to make way for others to carry on. This function is behind-the-scenes, so course reviewers seldom get the recognition they deserve for their time and energies put back into the sport. But their contributions to judge education and helping to effect quality control over our competition programs through the course design review process have been greatly appreciated. Each and every course presented in USDAA events goes through a review process. Our entire corps of course reviewers spend countless hours not only reviewing courses, but discussing among themselves the various elements that comprise course design and achieving education through design, to assure quality and consistency. They do it for love of the sport, as it can be a thankless job at times, seldom receiving recognition for their hard efforts, but occasionally receiving undue criticism when expectations are not met. We are pleased to have Carol Voelker, Seth Dunn, and Rafael Quinones, each of whom have been understudies in the review process, joining the ranks of our review corps this fall, along with the return of Dave Hanson, who has previously served in this capacity. USDAA takes pride in our competition programs and our judging corps, and we continually invest in their training, education and certification in an attempt to assure that everyone's expectations are met each and every week when they step into the ring.

We hope you are having a great summer and we look forward to seeing you at local shows, Title Mania, and the 2017 Cynosport World Games in October. Good luck in all your agility adventures.

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