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Dog enthusiasts compete in national event


September 27, 2018

John Hamilton

LOCAL OUTPAWS (clockwise from left) Char Anderson, Kathryn Hawkins, Carole Searl, Val Walker, Carlene Bachmann and Carole Jensen, along with their dogs, are competing at the North American Dog Agility Council's National Championships this week. The group created cowboy hat signs to display at the event and distinguish themselves. The Dogpaws Club consists of about 40 dogs from Montana and Idaho.

It's all about the dogs for sure but, it is also all about the humans with those dogs.

The Dogpaws Club, a collection of dog-training enthusiasts from around western Montana and northern Idaho, including five trainer-dog teams and an alternate from the local Sanders County Dog Training Club, are in Gillette, Wyo., this week for the NADAC (North American Dog Agility Council) National Championships.

The NADAC National pre-trials were to be held Tuesday and Wednesday, with the main competition beginning Thursday and running through Sunday.

With a little help from their handlers, dogs of all sizes and shapes will compete in time trials on courses complete with obstacles including weave poles, tunnels, jumps, hoops and barrels in Gillette, and the classes they compete in are Regular, Jumpers, Chances, Touch-n-Go, Tunnellers, Weavers, Hoopers and Barrellers. The dogs and their humans compete in Novice, Open or Elite levels, depending on experience and skills.

Over 350 dogs from all over the country are expected to compete in the NADAC Nationals. The Dogpaws Club was formed with going to Nationals in mind, and the local dogs and their owners are in Gillette as a happy result.

Kathryn Hawkins and her dogs Ziggy and Claire, Carole Jensen and Bailey, Carlene Bachmann and Sassy, Char Anderson and Kima, Val Walker and Sam, and alternate Carole Searl are the SCDTC members and their dogs in Gillette this week. This friendly group of dog-lovers are in the sport for the camaraderie of it more than anything else.

Claire will compete in the Elite division, while all the other local dogs will go through their paces, and jumps and hoops and barrels in the Pre-Elite categories.

"The biggest thing is to have fun," Hawkins said. "It is much more than just run your dog at Nationals, there is a lot going on at this event."

About 40 dogs from Montana, including 17 or 18 from the Dogpaws Club, which also has members from Ronan and Sandpoint, as well as from other parts of western Montana, will be competing in Wyoming this week. Vendors with items and products geared towards dogs, and activity booths will be scattered across the grounds in Gillette.

John Hamilton

The Dogpaws team members traveled caravan-style to Gillette in motor homes and cars. Once they reach Wyoming, they will be in dog heaven for the life of the Nationals event.

Jensen says she is going for Bailey more than for herself. "She can't run without me," she said, "we are really looking forward to seeing how we do."

Win or lose, place or show, the Dogpaws pack will enjoy their time in Wyoming this week. They have already made lifelong friends of their fellow handlers and their dogs.

"We are a close group of friends and are looking forward to this trip," Bachmann said.

Results from the Dogpaws Club's trip to Nationals will be revealed next week.


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