I'm just crazy about the extreme elegance of the Italian Greyhound! But they are deceiving! Oh, yes, you get what you see all right, but boy do you get a whole lot MORE into the bargain, that you never would have guessed on first sight! These seemingly demure, elegant to the point of delicacy, lightly tripping, "blow-away-in-a-high-wind", angel-faced little souls have, hidden inside of them, a wild and independent demon, cheeky, quick as a flash, dominating, egoistic "professional" mini greyhound, who think that they can fly and mostly ignore their diminutive size, certain as they are, that they are big, impressive hounds!
So, when I read the following article all about wild coursing events in America where these "little big dogs" get to fly around just as if they were their their top professional cousins, the big Greyhounds - I just flipped out and have to share this fun little story with you all.
Basically it's come about because my email friend (can't say PEN-friend!) Terri, who lives in Arkansas got the idea of driving for 7 hours to Missouri - not sure where, in order for her two IG's "Timer" and "Streaky" could "have a go" at lure coursing for the very first time. She explains:
Bill is Earl's IG. Nilo belongs to Tina Turnbull and was the #1 LC IG in 1998 by almost double the points over the 2nd place dog. Well, when Earl took Bill to try LC his very first time he beat Nilo by one point! On this Saturday, Bill beat Nilo again! That's why he called it "Shoot Out #2". Nilo went home Sat. evening and didn't race Sunday, so it just left Bill and my Timer. So here is a little report of the event by Earl McNamee, Bill's owner. (Thanks, Earl, for letting me "publish" this story - and the great shot of Bill in action seen above!)
The Lure Coursing Story
The big shoot out #2 after Bill squeaked by Nilo by ONE point the first time they met last fall, turned out to be another real "cliff hanger." Both dogs ran a terrific Prelim Saturday. AM. and the judges split on the scores. One judge gave Nilo a one point lead, the other judge gave Bill a one point lead, so they were TIED for the morning run at 147 each. Poor Nilo from cold winter up state Illinois did not have a chance to train much for this last minute trip his mom made him take. He seemed just a little tired after the long trip and the intense morning run and Bill was able to turn on the "dynamo jets" and pass Nilo on the long back straight to gain a two point advantage from each judge for the afternoons Final run.
So Shoot Out # 2 went to Bill by a very slim 4 point margin: Bill 297, Nilo 293. Including this SLASH weekend (if my calculations are correct as of today) Bill now has 8 Bowen points for this year (99) and a total of 44 of 100 needed points, including 3 1st over competition, toward his IG CA LC championship.
Enough about Bill, Now on to Terri Poposky with Streaky & Timer. For their Pre Cert runs Sat with NO practice and never having seen a LC event before, (!!!) the certifications turned out very well. What can you say when the poor brand new dogs get paired off with two of the current top running IG's in the nation for their certification runs?!!! They HAVE to perform well above par just to look like they are in the same race, on the same field as the dogs they are paired with!!! Makes it double tough on the new green dogs.
Streaky paired off with Nilo for the first try. Unfortunately Streaky, the 5 year old, is a little on the "shy, mommyfied" side. He was not able to figure out if it was really OK for him to take off that far away after the bunny and came back to mom after a little less than 1/4 of the run. He did not certify, but with a little confidence building I think he could do well. He seemed a little faster than Timer for the short distance he did run. No way to tell about the endurance for 800+ yds. Could be he would do well at the LGRA and/or NOTRA events to start, then try ASFA.
Try number two paired Timer (the 3 year old) with Bill. As most first time coursers Timer was a little tentative, not too sure exactly what to do and therefore slower than the more seasoned dog during the run, but showed very good follow and intensity on the lure and the willing intention and attempts to turn on the speed to catch up. Timer certified easily Saturday and immediately was signed up for the Sunday trial. Sunday morning started out cold with light rain off again, on again rain for most or the Prelim runs. Timer and his mom were a little unsure about preparing for the morning run and hampered a little by the weather did not get quite all the "business" they should have taken care of before the Preliminary run. Poor Timer was only able to make a little less than 1/2 the course before mother nature took over and demanded he take a time out for a poop break! He ended up with only 55 points for the run and was in jeopardy of not having enough points to make a qualifying score for the day.
True to the IG's long history of sighthound ability and with the heart and determination to come back and show every one just what an IG is really capable of, Timer ran the Final that afternoon as if the reputation of all IG's rested on his shoulders. One of the most intense runs with true determination I have seen. He not only impressed the judges to gain a 146 and guarantee he would qualify with a total of 201 for the day, he out-scored Bill by 11 points for the afternoon run. Let me tell you, both Nilo and Bill and every other IG out there LC'ing: better watch out for this guy! Timer has what it takes to be a front runner where ever he can convince his mom to take him to chase the bunny.
NB. An update from Earl written in early May 2010 - more than 10 years later!!!!!!
Bill is doing well for an old geezer, enjoying his retirement as a soon to be (Mid May) 14 year old man (dog!) of leisure. He is content to chase a few birds and nap in the warm sun on a soft, green bed of grass in the center of his yard. Bill's running career spanned almost 11 years from late 1997 through the end of 2008. He was National Champion at least a couple of years or more in each of the four running events IGs may participate in here in the US, in the top 5 for all four US racing and coursing events for about five years, in the top 10 in most for at least eight years and managed to remain in the top 20 IGs for a couple of events even through his last year competing.
Wonderful to hear from you again, Earl - and thanks for the update! An incredible dog.