Wow what a weekend at the UKLF First Championships. Such an emotional journey not only for us but for the whole of the UKFL members. Who would have thought that 9 months after UKFL was formed we would have had a Championships to remember forever at Lincolnshire Showground, with both indoor and outdoor racing at the same venue.
Chris and I arrived on Thursday afternoon and set up camp. We were at the front of the camping area close to the main indoor arena and within easy walking distance of the main outdoor arena where we were to be racing on Sunday. Tina arrived after work and we had a chinese meal during the evening before settling down for the night.
Tina and I were helping with the admin group on Friday and spent the day sorting and printing signs for the teams to put up over the camp. We helped to sort the admin paperwork ensuring each team had the information they needed for the weekend. Chris pottered for the day taking care of the dogs as Tina and I were tied up for most of it. Sue, Helen and Erica arrived and set up their camps and we all had a BBQ for evening meal. The committee and board had arranged a champagne reception for all members in the indoor arena at 9pm so we all duly arrived to be shown the video Lynn had made. There was not a dry eye in the place! This was followed by a speech from Joe welcoming us to the champs - the place was buzzing with excitement and anticipation.
Saturday morning we were all up early as Chris had to set up the UKFL lights in the outside ring 2 before racing started. Tina was measuring first thing and then spent the day either judging or ring partying for division1 for the indoor racing. I had been given the responsibility of running admin for the outside racing and was really lucky that Sue came and gave me a hand as I would have been shattered running the paperwork back and forth to 2 rings all day on my own. All went smoothly and we finished outside well before the indoor racing completed at around 9.30 pm! The evening presentation was emotional to say the least. Every team had a big cheer and there was something for everybody that raced from Fish for Dogs - the UKFL sponsor - who not only donated the prizes but funded the rosettes and winners trophys. After the presentation Chris and I moved the lights (which we had previously taken down outside) to the indoor ring 2 ready for Sunday racing. Although we all went back to the camp to settle down for the night there was a band for evening entertainment in the main centre which could be hear around the showground. I enjoyed it whilst I was walking the dogs in the dark!!
Sunday started early again. Wash Warriors were racing in division 7, seeded 4th out of 5 teams, with four races of 5 heats planned for the day. Our team consisted of Sheena (Sue), Charly (Chris), Jack (Julia), Millie (Tina) and our guest dog Amber (Tom), who now seems to be honorary members of Wash Warriors!! The first 2races in the morning were run in full, with us winning 2 heats against Lowerdale (top Seed) - the first heat of this race was astounding as the dogs were on fire and broke out with a club record time of 19.44 - and 3 heats against Wilmslow. We ended up the morning in 2nd place with all to race for in the afternoon. Due to the heat, racing was cut down to 3 heats for each race for the rest of the day but we managed to take the full 3 from Cambridgeshire and 1 off Carlisle. We held our 2nd place in the division and we are all thrilled to pick up rosettes at our first Championships as a club in our own right. Thanks to Helen Young of Cambs who managed to film our break out run as follows:
We never thought when we set up in March that we would be in the position to race so soon and as competitively as we do. Our dogs are amazing us all the time, it's just the handlers that need a lot more work!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Massive thanks to Tom for joining us yet again with Amber, Lisa for Boxloading, Bridget and anyone else who helped us during racing- I can't remember who they all were! Helen and Erica (Sue's friends) who came along and camped and supported us all weekend taking photos of the dogs, some of which will be uploaded to this blog asap - you are now honorary members of WW too and are welcome again any time. We even managed to make them cry with emotion as we collected our rosettes!
Needless to say there were quite a lot of tears this weekend but happy ones I'm glad to say.
We are looking forward to our own competition in September when I hope our own new team members will enjoy themselves in Little League with their own dogs.