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About WAG


By Carol Bentz

The Willamette Agility Group (WAG) truly began on a cloudy, cold, overcast October day in 1990 in the oak grove of the Benton County Fairgrounds in Corvallis where about 30 handlers and their dogs gathered for the first Oregon agility seminar which was put on by Sharon Nelson, Sandy Katzen and Jill Crawford. Yours truly attended with her dogs, Kea and Zara.

That weekend a desire to learn dog agility was kindled and everafter the flame has only grown and blazed hotter and higher with the following years until the entire I-5 corridor of Oregon is ablaze with DOG AGILITY! WAG officialy was born in May, 1991, in Papa's Pizza Parlor in Eugene, Oregon.

The original membership consisted of: Carol Cameron(deceased), Craig and Brenda Harris, Carol and Charley Bentz, Gale Severson, Bob & Jill Jones, Cathy Carbajal, Sheila Brown, Sue Burgess, Debi Barrett, Nancy Anderson, Connie Schauermann, Connie Alber, Betty Blake, Carol Foster, Sheila Cordray, Dana Stillinger,Sharon Gerl, and Marilyn & Dave Calder. Arlene Courtney, Lauren Henry and Jeff and Shannon Chenault, Julie Bivens, Carole Bedford, and Wendy Doucette soon joined our group, too. These were the people who steered WAG through its infancy.

Betty Blake and Carol Foster had moved up from California where they were doing agility and they put on WAG's first official seminar for us at Emerald Park in Eugene. They coached and trained us whenever they had the time and place for this to occur. Dr. Dave Calder provided our first field where we practiced regularly until we moved to Sue Burgess's in-laws place off of the West 11th area and Greenhill vicinity. From there we went to McReynolds horse arenas on Greenhill Road where we were for 5+ years until we recently moved to a fantastic arena arrangement on Warthen Rd. west of Elmira, Oregon. Our group today has grown so that the South WAG is in the Eugene area and the North WAG is from the Corvallis-Salem area and they practice in the Jefferson-Albany area.

Our first set of equipment was purchased from the money earned by a garage sale held on July, 1991, Sunday morning in front of the then Cal-Or Kennel Supply store on River Rd. We made $500 and the treasury already had $361.05 before the sale from dues. Craig Harris built our first A-frame and dog walk and teeter-totter and tire jump and jumps. The club members all gathered at the Burgess's in-laws to put on the undercoats and then paint the lovely bright agility colors over that.

Several weekends were spent completing the project so we would have equipment on which to practice. Charley Bentz was transporting equipment even then as he has continued to do to date. The next February followed with Sharon Nelson and 10 other people coming from Spokane to continue our training in dog agility for an entire weekend at the Clear Lake Elementary School in Bethel. They stayed in the members' homes and worked hard to educate us without charging us any fee only gas.

Our first Fun Match was held in May 1992 in Eugene and Sandra Katzen and Gale George from Seattle were our judges. We made a profit of $337 on our first Fun Match and our treasury had $1,599.45 in July 1992. The first official sanctioned WAG USDAA agility trial was on January 17, 1993 at the Pacific Equestrian Center in Springfield, Oregon.

Thanks went out to all the people who came out on that cold, snowy day from as far away as Seattle, WA. to participate with us. From there we went on to hold our titling events at the Benton County Fairgrounds in Corvallis. We continued to hold USDAA trials until NADAC was born and we now hold trials with both organizations.

Nancy Anderson was our first President with Debi Barrett following her and then Dana Stillinger and many other very capable people. WAG offered classes to people when we first started agility training and is continuing to do so in the Eugene area even today. Dana Stillinger who has her own Obedience Training business in Corvallis became an agility instructor extraordinaire and has added to our membership with her pupils as has Shannon Boyd with her Summit Training Center (for dog agility). Both of these instructors are excellent and have succeeded at the highest levels with their own dogs. Sharon NelsonĀ¹s excellent summer seminars have greatly enhanced our skills, too. Membership today stretches from Eugene to Portland as it did when we first began.

The desire to work with our canine partners has continued to grow and our membership today is over 100 members. Sometimes one handler works several dogs. The dogs from the beginning have been mixed breed and purebreds as our fancy led us. Our members not only participate in trials for USDAA, NADAC, & AKC, but we also perform many demos for OSU Vet Day, Fairs, schools, retirement centers, Canine Carnivals, Vet Clinic Openings, Humane societies and other dog related organizations. Agiliholics is what WAGGERS have become and we are still as enthusiastic and our dogs, too, as when we began over 25 years ago!!!

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Updated February 2, 2000