October 26, 2014 Variable Surface Tracking Test (VST)

TRACS hosted their annual Variable Surface Tracking Test (VST) on October 26, 2014. We offered five tracks to our fancy and received six entries.

Our judges for the weekend were Jeff Shaver of Magnolia, Texas and Sally Elkins of Katy, Texas. We were so pleased that they brought a little rain with them to judge in dry California.

Saturday morning (in the rain) we met at Cosumnes River College to plot the first four tracks for the weekend. These were laid by Meg Azevedo, Cathy Beam, Colton Meyer, and Sue Green. Randi Knutson served as chief tracklayer for the weekend and did a great job of making sure everybody got to the right spot on time.

After a little lunch, we moved to American River College where two more tracks were plotted and laid by Royana Palmer and Jean Schafer. The judges normally plot an alternate track in case one of the first five are contaminated or become unsafe for the dog. If the alternate track is not needed for one of the first five entries it may be used for titling.

On Sunday morning we re-convened at Cosumnes River College to lay the tracks for the actual test. The first track was laid at 7:00 am and the others in sequence allowing 30 minute intervals between them. The exhibitors started to arrive around 8:15 and we held the draw for running order at 9:45. The weather was nearly perfect for tracking. It was cool, damp, and a light wind. Drivers Mike McMillian and Jeanette Duncan joined the rest of the team on Sunday to help with driving judges and tracklayers around the campuses.

  • First up on track 1 was a Portuguese Water Dog. Dog and handler navigated around ½ of their track before hearing the dreaded whistle signaling they were failed for being “off track”.
  • Track 2 was a border collie who started very nicely then deviated from the track at the first corner. She recovered to find the 1st intermediate article on the 2nd leg. She made the 2nd corner but went off track on the third leg to fail.
  • Track 3 was a Pembroke Welsh Corgi who started like gangbusters but overshot the first corner to fail.
  • Track 4 went to a beagle that started well but had trouble at the first corner. He eventually made the corner but invented a turn in the 2nd leg to wander off track for a fail.
  • Track 5 was a Lagotto Romagnolo. The little girl started well, made her first and 2nd corners, found the 1st intermediate article but restarted the track after the article at a 90 degree angle to the actual track. Fail – off track.
  • Track 6 was another Lagotto Romagnolo who navigated all but the last 80 yards of his 609 yard track. He turned right at the last corner instead of going left. Heartbreaker!

It took a village to host this test for our grateful exhibitors. Thanks go to TRACS members: Jean Schafer, Cathy Beam, Colton Meyer, Royana Palmer, and Randi Knutson. Non-members who helped were Sue Ellen Green, Mike McMillian, and Jeanette Duncan.

Meg Azevedo
Test Secretary/Tracklayer/Hospitality