While dog shows judging a canine’s conformation are fascinating, contests showcasing their agility and responsiveness to their humans are exciting.
That’s even more the case when local dogs leap, crawl and show their stuff on a bigger stage, in this case the North American Dog Agility Council Championships, which were held in South Jordan, Utah, over the last weekend in September.
This is kind of like the Masters Golf Tournament, where players have to achieve a certain ranking to be invited to compete. The dog/handler partnership had to earn designated points on a variety of courses during the last year.
Several members of Durango Agility Dogs earned an invite to compete in a field of 236 dogs from Montana, Washington, Oregon, California, West Virginia, Minnesota, New Mexico, Nevada, a few other states and even Canada. (It was the North American championships, after all.)
There were two “top dogs” from our area. Debbie Beam, with her Parson Russell terrier Major, took second place overall in their category. I’ve written about this dynamic duo in the past. They also titled in the Purina Incredible Dog Challenge regional and national competitions in 2011 and also competed at the Cynosport World Games. Major is 9, but you’d never know it from his energy levels, and all of those years of training certainly show.
Sunny Williams and her border collie, Nesa, from Mancos, earned third place in the Super Stakes category, which requires the handler to direct the dog through a complex obstacle course from a great distance.
Holli Pfau, who kindly served as my correspondent on this item, said it is amazing to watch and takes years of training and practice.
Pfau went with her dog, Daisy, who’s now 11. Daisy is a local celebrity from being featured on the cover of Pfau’s memoir Pure Gold: Adventures with Six Rescued Golden Retrievers. (The book was a bestseller at Maria’s Bookshop.)
“She’s always been high energy, and she needed a job,” Pfau said. (Pfau’s other golden retriever, Chatter, has a job as a therapy dog at the Durango Cancer Center, so there are no idle paws, or people, in the Pfau household.)
Barbara Draper and her Shetland sheepdog, Dakota, from Pagosa Springs and Diane Allen and her border collie, Bracken, from Moab, Utah, also made the trip.
Pfau said it was a good thing the trials were held indoors in a large horse arena because the temperatures were in the 90s the first two days, followed by the deluge that also hit us.
“The handlers managed, the dogs didn’t mind, and a great time was had by all,” Pfau concluded.
My thanks to Brenna Spencer of Lumos PhoDOGraphy for capturing this photo of Major at a training session of Durango Agility Dogs. If ever there was a dog on top of the world doing something he loves, it’s Major.
Wondering if Tropical Storm Simon is going to bring some heavy rain their way for their birthdays are Penny Haney, Betsy Janeczek, Shelley Mann, Mary Barter, Bob Cox, Nancy Wiedman, Preston Knight, Ashley Creyer, Bob Morris, Tom Helm, Shaelin Bassett, Dian Jenkins and Therese Teiber.
Local food is becoming more and more prevalent on restaurant menus, but the 2014 Community Taste showcasing the creativity and craft of area chefs using locally produced ingredients is an over-the-top way to enjoy the bounty of our harvest.
Of course, the menu is the centerpiece: Moroccan beef by Jimmy Nicholson at Durangourmet; pulled pork shoulder by the Palace Restaurant; zucchini sandwiches by Yellow Carrot; macaroni and cheese courtesy of the Lost Dog Bar & Lounge; a quinoa salad with vegetables from the Strater Hotel; red-chile rice by Francisco’s Restaurante y Cantina; tomato-cucumber salad from the DoubleTree Hotel; cheesy potatoes from Serious Texas Barbeque; a green salad from Cyprus Café; and beet salad with chèvre by El Moro Saloon.
There was a whole table for luscious desserts, including apple strudel from The Kennebec Cafe; bread pudding from Norton’s Catering; a variety of cupcakes from Skillfully Decadent Desserts; and, from the talented home baker Myriam Palmer, a mocha-frosted pound cake.
Wowser, what a feast. Tim Sullivan and his band, Narrow Gauge, provided some toe-tapping music for dancing, and as always, Blue Lake Ranch was a beautiful setting for an event.
People still seem to be struggling to understand the Community Foundation, but perhaps it’s easier if I paint a picture of a few of its functions.
It serves as a savings account for local nonprofits and service clubs. A savvy committee of professionals invests the funds so that endowments earn money while remaining secure.
I know United Way of Southwest Colorado is building an endowment, hoping that eventually all of its operating expenses will be covered, so all donations go to programs. Others are working to build a steady source of income to minimize the fundraising they have to do every year.
The foundation also allows donors to set up funds so they can give year after year.
The impact is really starting to add up. In 2013, assets hit almost $3.7 million, with more than $501,000 in grants to nonprofits from fundholders, almost $360,000 in grants facilitated through the foundation and more than $48,000 in scholarships to local educational opportunities.
It’s time to stop wondering and start investigating. Visit www.swcommunityfoundation.org or call 375-5807 to learn more.
Enjoying the crisp fall air for their anniversaries are Art and Katie Cahill (20 years together!), Chuck and Melissa Mosley, Greg and Shirley Drover, Dave and Marty Schank and Tom and Jan Kyser.
This upcoming weekend is one of my favorites of the year because it’s time for the Durango Heritage Celebration. This year features some new activities and some variations on the enduring favorites in the seventh annual outing of the event.
I’m particularly looking forward to Friday’s Murder Mystery Dinner Theatre in the Henry Strater Theatre, a kind of melodrama meets Sherlock Holmes-deducing kind of evening. The last I heard, there were still a few tickets left, but the Victorian Masquerade Ball is sold out with a waiting list.
Virtually every book I’ve read about Victorian England has the ladies “retiring” to the drawing room after dinner while the gentlemen enjoy their cigars and a glass of port or brandy.
Well, this year, they’re going to hold a Victorian After-Dinner Customs event after the dinner (at about 9 p.m. or so) in the Pullman Room at the Strater, cash bar (including absinthe!), with cigars available. Whether it’s to follow modern smoking laws or in agreement with Queen Victoria’s dislike of the smoke, the cigar-smokers will repair (another great Victorian term) to the great outdoors. The event is free, but guests are asked to dress evening Victorian or Edwardian, Wild West or, as is the case with yours truly, who’s on crutches, in modern cocktail garb.
If you do nothing else, plan to be downtown at 11 a.m. Friday, when all the authentically dressed participants – both local and visitors – will take a promenade up Main Avenue from the Strater to 10th Street on the west side of the street and then back south again on the east side.
And at 11 a.m. Saturday, take your own promenade up Main as Peggy Winkworth, the author of Walking Durango, will give a short walking tour from the Strater to El Moro Saloon, two very historic sites in our fair town.
Check www.durangoheritage.org to see a full list of activities, many of them free.
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I am happy to consider photos, but they must be high quality.