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September President's Message from USDAA

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

September has gone on record as one of the most devastating months for hurricanes in the Atlantic. The southern U.S. and the Caribbean have suffered severe damage, and one cannot imagine the day-to-day challenges that continue to exist. Ive been proud to hear of the great response from many USDAA competitors to help others in the devastated regions, and we all at USDAA wish our fellow competitors well in Texas, Florida, and in Puerto Rico.

Both individuals and dogs (and all pets) will continue to struggle long after news media has moved on. Im sure there will be ongoing needs for not just agility competitors but others too, with many seeking to reunite with their dogs. For those who may have an interest in exploring relief efforts, we have compiled a list of articles below that are focused on hurricane relief causes. USDAA does not endorse any specific charity or group, but we think it is appropriate for us to continue to highlight the cause at hand and pass along information when we find it to be of general interest.

As we continue to develop the sport, we recently rolled out our new Facebook group called Start Line Agility. This is a private group for those who are new to agility and to competition, however anyone can join. The purpose is to create a supportive community for asking questions, growing friendships and gaining deeper insights into USDAA agility. The group's moderator is Kari Massoth who teaches beginner agility in Boise, ID and has been competing since 2013.

I extend congratulations to the members recently selected and named to the 2018 IFCS World Team. They will represent the U.S. in Italy next April at the 2018 IFCS World Agility Championships (WAC). The team starts earlier than in years passed so that the team coaching staff may organize more formal preparation for the event as we seek to return to the podium in greater numbers in 2018. We have made changes in the selection process and will continue to evaluate their effectiveness. One newest effort is to share training methods with members of a supplemental Development Team. This group will be training alongside the IFCS World Team as they prepare for the 2018 IFCS WAC.

Finally, Cynosport 2017 is rapidly approaching. A familiar face will be absent this year, as we announce the retirement of Merlene Stiles from our staff. She has handled many tasks in the office and at USDAA special events for more than 15 years. She and her husband will be moving to Washington State, where they have traveled each year for vacation, and will be enjoying a more relaxed lifestyle with their dogs. I know many of you know Merlene and will be sorry to see her go, just as much as we are here in the USDAA office.

We congratulate Contact Agility Club in New York and thank them for their 25 years of support in developing and promoting dog agility in the region. They celebrate their 25th anniversary at their event in Carmel this weekend.

We wish everyone coming to Cynosport safe travels and the best of luck at the event, and please be sure to sign up for regular updates on We look forward to making this years 30th running of the Grand Prix of Dog Agility® and the Cynosport World Games the best yet!


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