Thursday, November 6, 2008

2008 Race Nationals (LGRA/NOTRA)

Our local club, GIT (Gazehounds in Texas) hosted the 2008 OB LGRA/NOTRA nationals (straight- and oval-racing) this past weekend at WindyGlen in Boswell, OK. Victor had gone up Friday mid-day, and I went up after getting home from work and ex'ing and feeding the rest of our crew, and giving Arthur a bath so he could look all fancy for his appearance in the Legends event. Nothing like driving around at midnight in the middle of nowhere on super-dark country road on Hallow's Eve! It was a bit spooky, and on at least one occasion I thought I had missed the turn - it looked completely different in the dark!

We had set the Zoibus up for camping, and even splurged on a plug-in so we could have a/c if we needed it (we did!) and I was quite content to pass out on the air mattress up on the platform - it seemed like I had just settled in when the alarm clock buzzed at 530am. Yuk! I had two Monster energy drinks before noon - I needed an intravenous caffeine set-up though! I had volunteered to work the boards, in addition to having handled the formatting of the race catalog and any advertisements, and of course, we had the girls to run. Nox had a few meets under her, but this was Pumpkin's first official meet after having had training practices with sister Nox at the last WindyGlen meet. Also along were Buster, for some socialization, and Magik, whose ear hematoma had burst earlier in the week and we were treating it (antibiotics and 'drainage maintenance').

Victor walking Buster in the way-too-early morn

In the first program on Saturday, Nox came in 2nd and Pumpkin 4th. In the pictures, you could see Pumpkin contemplating the box a bit - she had pretty much been introduced to it that morning as Victor hadn't practiced her on Friday afternoon during the scheduled time. Thankfully she wasn't too completely fazed by it. Both girls finished 4th in the 2nd program (Nox had moved up to a higher race), and then in the 3rd program, darned if Nox didn't decide to try and get Pumpkin to play about halfway down the track. So much for being able to run the sibs together! At least Pumpkin kept on going and she got the Turtle award for the day (with a new toy).

For me, the highlight of the day was the Legends program. I had entered Arthur, so folks could see that the #1 racing Borzoi waaaaay back from 2000 is still up and around with a bit of get-up-n-GO! Check out the pictures in the online album - the ol' man can still kick up a dirt trail, he's not just loping easy down the track, hes still diggin' in at 10 1/2 years of age. Although he did learn that he can't stop and fling himself down on the squawker like he used to. But he'll still pick it up after having his muzzle removed - and be really proud of it too!

Saturday after the racing (we finished early thanks to everyone's hard work and efficiency), I attempted a brief nap before the FEAST that arrived. Fabulous slabs of medium rare prime rib, baked potatoes, salad, brownies...I gorged myself. Haven't had beef that good in a while. We also sat and chatted with some folk for a while before finally wandering back to the van to crash. We also got an extra hour of sleep (although it never seems enough to me) thanks to turning the clocks back that night!

On Sunday, Magik ended up being recruited to run in place of Pumpkin since we figured it wouldn't be a good idea to let the sibs run together again - which was unavoidable as both were NOTRA FTEs. The night before we asked a friend of ours if she could pick up some knee-highs at the Hugo Walmart to try and hold down Magik's ear so that it wouldn't bother her by flopping around. It worked - but the visual was hysterical. I don't think Magik was particularly amused - but she always looks pouty.

Magik shows fine form for a Veteran racer, despite the funny headgear

In the first race program, Nox ended up being the cream in the oreo cookie between one dog fouling another - after holding her own between them for a while, she stopped at the backstretch and came back the other way. It was disappointing, especially considering that she had not shown this tendency in the practices she had - we hoped it was just that she couldn't handle whatever behavior that resulted in a foul on another racer and just left its proximity - so we left her in for the 2nd program. The 2nd and 3rd programs she did well, finishing each race without incident...although we did have an interesting occurence. At the end of the 3rd program, as she was closing in on the finish line, her head was lifted and she seemed a bit distracted. My heart sank and I prayed she would cross the finish (she was several lengths in front) - which she did, and then squatted almost immediately after the finish line. You can find the answer to her mysterious distraction HERE - she was taking care of business while...taking care of business. Dan Gauss (Shot on Site) caught the moment in several frames. We were laughing hysterically when we first noticed this while going through all the photos and making our choices to take home. Nox's DNF precluded her from getting any points, but we're still proud of our girl.

Magik came away with the Best Veteran Award (and the Turtle) and got some nice bling for her trouble and Nox and Pumpkin got some nice runs in and we've got our fingers crossed for the future.

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