Wynnette Amason and her dog Cooper are about to head west to California in pursuit of sun, fun and a blue ribbon.
Amason and Cooper, a border collie, will compete in the American Kennel Club National Obedience Invitational. The competition will be in Long Beach, Calif., on Dec. 1-2.
To be invited to the competition, a dog and its handler must be ranked within the top 10 percent of their breed or be one of the top 25 dogs ranked nationwide based on championship points earned by July.
For the second consecutive year, the local tandem has been invited to participate in the competition. Unlike last time, they will be able to compete this year.
“Last year, we weren’t able to go, there were a lot of factors that occurred and we just weren’t able to make it to the completion,” Amason said.
No stranger to the competition, Amason has placed in the top eight twice with Corby, Cooper’s uncle.
“The highest place I have been is in the final eight,” she said. “Corby, Cooper’s uncle, made it to the final eight two years in a row, but couldn’t make it any further.”
Amason knows hard work and dedication are crucial to having success at these competitions; however, there is another factor that has to be taken into consideration.
“We train in 20-minute sessions about three or four times a week,” she said. “My dog is as capable as any of winning the competition, but at this point you have to be a little bit lucky too.”
Amason enjoys Copper’s success and insists she doesn’t do it for the accolades but for the enjoyment of teaching.
“I enjoy seeing the dogs learn,” she said. “I, personally, like the challenge of keeping them trained at a high level. It’s much harder to stay there than work your way toward that.”
The duo will leave Nov. 26 and are looking forward to visiting California for the first time.
“I want to have a great time with Cooper and catch up with some friends (and) also do the best we can,” she said. “I can’t wait for Cooper to get a chance to play in the sand.”
The competition will air on Animal Plant and the Discovery Channel on Feb 2.
E-mail Anthony at firstname.lastname@example.org