Editors note: Out guest blogger is Emily Pyle, a past-president of MDSA. Emily is a freestyle instructor in the Greater Houston area of Texas. She is the driving force and organizer of many freestyle demonstrations performed throughout the year by herself and her freestyle students. The biggest demo by far is at the Reliant Park World Series of Dog Shows - held the 3rd weekend of July . This is the biggest dog show in Texas (and, Texas is BIG!). Exhibitors, vendors and the general public come every year to watch Emily and her team of freestylers strut their stuff. Below is Emily's report on the three days of freestyle demos.
Day One, Friday: First day of the BIG SHOW! Traditionally the Friday show is a little "buggy" while we work out issues and process hiccups. No matter how much we plan, it seems every year there is a new twist. I'm happy to say NONE of the bugs involved four paws or their partners! Everyone was fantastic in their own ways, even the newbies, and our folks handled the glitches with grace. Y'all are the best. We had a technical black cloud today- the CD system was toast 30 mins before first show, but fixed in the last minute. A random dog from the public, ahem soiled, our path to the stage as we started the show (cleanup aisle four!). Kids were tossing popcorn and snacks into the ring (boot camp came in handy!). And then there was the microphone. It wasn't working on a lapel as it should, so our music man fashioned a hillbilly mic with a hanger and some duct tape. This worked well until the mic ran out of batteries after the first show, and then the replacement would stop working suddenly in the middle of my announcements!!! Aargh! All glitches now solved. I expect tomorrow to be grand and more fun....for the music dude, and the production managers! It was a memorable first day, right? Thanks to all for keeping your sense of humor.
Day Two, Saturday: Day Two of The Big Show was much better. We still had some technical issues but our Music Man made it look easy. The crowds were huge today, especially the twelve o'clock show! All the teams worked their furry buns off and I'm proud of them all. I know there were moments of panic here and there, but don't forget you were able to recover and finish your routine! Remember to focus on the positive: look how far you've come and what you're able to accomplish: your dog can perform in front of hundreds of people in a gigantic, loud place full of every possible doggy distraction! I had a fantastic day watching all of you and your dogs giving it your best and enjoying the day. Henri, L.M. Sunshine, and Livvy thank you all for letting them join in on the fun today too -- they had a blast and getting to dance was a real treat for them .... and me. Tomorrow is the last day, rest well.
Day Three, Sunday: The Big Show of 2013 is over. The magic minivan managed to get all the stuff home in one trip...was that the best crating and dressing area ever or what? I hope somebody got pictures! So today we had no poo accidents and we ALMOST had no te
chnical issues until I jinxed the last show by saying that... Two of the four speakers went out in the last show and the A/V guys don't work Sunday. But fortunately hillbilly A/V was on duty and managed to wiggle and hold wires up to get it to work. No, we can't make this stuff up! Another stellar day of performances. I was amazed at how fresh the dogs stayed all weekend. I truly think this was the best overall reliant we've had in the last eight years. For one thing my mom was stateside again to be stage manager and my (little) sister was dancing with both her dogs this time, so it's fun to have a family affair And I got to play with my dogs. And everyone, right down to every last paw brought their A game. This is one of the few events at the show that is not a competition. There were no ribbons to hand out, no titles earned, and no winners or losers. But there was no lack of accolades or accomplishments, and honestly it's these times that always stand out in my memory and what I value most. There's the solo newbies - Simon, ChaCha, Roxxy, Bonnie, Roy, Amee, Maddie, Lexi - who took a chance and embraced the view that those who never make a mistake never really live! There's the dogs that left their fears at the door and danced with such bravery and joy that nobody would know- Star, Liza, Zy, Mik. Then there are our comics, cuties, and athletes, always guaranteed for a laugh or smile or thrill - Molly, Jack, Miley, Diva, Chase, Rainey and Bear. And the long timers who have grown and grown every year - Wolf, Bob, and Boz (more of an old timer!) That's what I love about this sport- it's not about fitting a cookie cutter mold, it's a celebration of the the unique personality of each dog. It takes all types to make it sing! Congrats to all on a great year and all that you've accomplished. And a huge thanks to our volunteer helpers, the hubbies and kids who schlepped and clapped, our friends and family for visiting and supporting (all year), we could not do it without you! I'm sure videos and photos will be coming soon after The Barkographer gets some sleep :)