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2001 An agility odyssey

Looking back at the future, we must say that 'The fun never did go out of this 'fun event.' Agility Voice's own Mystic Meg foretells of things to come in this treasure from The Agility Voice archives. With 2001 not so far away, somehow this tongue-in-cheek article from 1985 does not seem so far off the truth - or does it?

The year is 2001
Agility has been going for some 23 years, and what changes have we seen since those early days. Some of the old stars have long since faded to make way for new and younger ones. Those of you who can remember will recall a lass named Mary, a star of the Eighties. Well, she never did win Olympia again, even though in 1987 she had six dogs in the final! (She lost the run off.) The previous year she was beaten into second place by her husband Dave with his super dog 'Sacha.' Actually he won by default really. At the last minute, two devious new pieces of equipment were put in the final - a 25' long jump and a 7' hurdle. Sacha, of course, being the only dog with a clear round.

The two old stagers Hinge and Bracket are still to be seen at the odd show in the Bath Chair Stakes! but the two speed kings of the early days, Tony and Neville, have long since given up. Their end eventually came when they met in the 1986 National Knock-Out Final, going like bats out of hell. They were last seen disappearing up each others' collapsible tunnel! Neville's other half ('er indoors) went on to become an international collecting ring steward, running weekend courses all over Europe. Funny game, this Agility.

An International Sport
In 1996, Agility became an Olympic sport, quarantine regulations have been relaxed now that we can walk through the 'Chum Channel Tunnel.' The Games were held in Paris and the Great Britain team was:-

Age Junior Handler Dog Breed
11 years old Angela Carter Velmead Odeon Cinema GSD x Boxer
10 years old Taffy Roberts Jock-Strap Gwyn B/C x Pit Pony
age unknown Christopher Thorpe (Captain) Lockimoor Ely GSD
16 years old Helen Treadwell Vurengold Edward Terv x Terv

The team went on to win the Gold Medal despite some strong opposition from the Irish team, who have really improved in recent years since they realised that 'contact points' were not replacement for glasses!

Crufts is still a major show in the calendar, and ever since her success in 1985 'Potter' has been asked to judge every year, the only difference being that her ageing team of frilly bloused stewards (The Three Degrees) have been pushed along on wheels!

The Agility Club, started in 1983, has gone from strength to strength and with a world-wide membership at 2,000,000,it soon became necessary to establish a central headquarters for the Club. As football was banned in this country in1994 because of crowd violence, the obvious place was Wembley Stadium. And so it was that in the summer of 1995 the stadium was renamed W.A.C. (World Agility Centre) and, at long last, that lush green turf was put to good use. Six agility rings!

Footnote: The fun never did go out of this 'fun' event.'

Reprinted with kind permission of John Gilbert from Agility Voice Newsletter (April 1985).
Many thanks to Bill McLaughlin for lending agilitynet his wonderful collection of Agility Voices.


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