September 15, 2020, I awoke to an email with a wonderful surprise: Phoenix earned another invite to the NADD/AKC Eukanuba Regional Championship in air retrieve! If you read my last blog post, it was my understanding that because she hadn't won a qualifier, we weren't going to be eligible for the Regional Championship in air retrieve. What I didn't consider is that there are other ways to earn an invite and that is how we got our invite.
Before getting into what invite we got, although, based on the title of this you may have already figured it out, I want to go over the different ways to earn an invite. I gave a few examples in my last blog post, but I only gave the 2 that I considered within the realm of possibility for me, which I now know, was a silly error. Through North America Diving Dogs (NADD), there are several ways you can earn an invite to Regionals:
Place 1-3 in your division at the 2019 National Championship
Win your division at a qualifier event. For distance, it will be the highest average out of your top 3 jumps at a qualifier, for air retrieve and hydro dash it is the highest score you get overall and win your division
Earned an Advanced or Excellent title in the 2020 season
Be the #1 dog of a verified breed in the 2020 season based on the average of your top 10 scores; this is known as the Best of Breed
Get ranked in the top 10 of your division based on the average of your top 10 scores (5 for air retrieve and hydro dash)
When checking my email September 15, 2020, I had gotten another email invite for the NADD/AKC Eukanuba Regional Championship in Katy, TX. When I saw it was for air retrieve, I honestly thought that it must have been an error. I knew I didn't win a qualifier and I knew that we hadn't earned an advanced title (because we keep jumping between junior and senior, we still haven't actually gotten an air retrieve title yet). So, I decided to check the breed rankings. I knew we wouldn't be ranked as the #1 Australian Shepherd since we were in still jumping in the Junior/Senior division. We ended up ranking #15 for Australian Shepherds. Still confused, I figured maybe I should check the division rankings and see where we ended up there. That is where the shocker came in. We were ranked as the #5 dog in the Junior Division out of 100 dogs! This is how we earned our invite; we were ranked in the top 10 in our division.
To be completely honest, I was blindsided by Phoenix getting ranked, let alone ranked so high, that it never occurred to me to actually check division rankings this season. This was Phoenix's first season doing air retrieve and she had only been doing it for a couple of months. I was proud of Phoenix before just with the amount of effort she has given this season, her patience with me training her in something new to me, and in distance, her patience with my throwing abilities. Phoenix not only showed an aptitude for this sport, but showed a joy in getting to play.
Now comes the tough decision on if we go to Regionals or not. Katy, Texas is 8 1/2 hours away from us and the Friday of that weekend Tesla is entered in a Rally trial and if we have to stay through the weekend, I won't be able to take that Monday off from work. Whether we go or not, I am proud of all Phoenix has done this season, honored to get an invite and super proud that all our hard work got us ranked as #5 dog in the Junior Division in air retrieve!
URO3 Chaver's Rising Up Like A Phoenix RI CA DSA DS NSD CGCA TKA