In January in Denver each year, crowds flock to the National Western Stock Show. Along with typical rodeo events and a world class horse show, they have great entertainment features, including Super Dogs. This Canadian group sends their official teams out to competitions but also auditions local dogs to compete. The teams run agility type courses, usually set to music and often head to head to build up excitement.
Rusty Pearson’s Belgian Tervuren Rhian had been spotted at an agility trial by a talent agent. Rusty was encouraged to make the tryouts in December, but it was a work day for him and he arrived as the tryouts were ending. Luckily, that agent was still there and persuaded the company to watch Rhian run an agility course. Clearly they saw her ability!
Rusty and Rhian were asked to come to the Denver show as an “apprentice” – this meant they would not get paid but would be used as a “filler team” where needed. Rusty felt it would be fun, so off they penciled it into their busy schedule.
The night before the first show, there was a four hour rehearsal. All of the dogs were timed on a short but fun course – “The Amazing Race”. Rhian’s speed impressed the coordinators, so the next day, Rhian was put into the line up for the first show. She was set to run against the Super Dog team’s super fast Border Collie, F’lyn in the final run of the performance to get the crowd all amped up.
As Rusty reports, “As we prepared to run, we were brought into the center of the arena. The announcer introduced both dogs, giving the audience some background on the breeds, what they are bred for, etc. When he asked for crowd cheering as to who would win, the crowd cheered longest and loudest for F’lyn.” The show was sold out with over 6,000 people ready to cheer the dogs on.
The cheering left Rusty with one goal as he headed for the Start Line. He wanted to show that crowd the size of the engine and heart that resides in Rhian’s furry little red body. It was a lighting fast run by both dogs – a blur of speed, talent and determination. As they headed down the final straightaway to the finish, Rhian fired up on all cylinders and flew past the Border Collie for the win! The crowd went wild! Rhian and Rusty were pretty excited too :).
As Rusty says, “Obviously it wasn’t so much about winning, as the goal was to get people on the edge of their seats, give them a great show and keep them excited about the whole experience. Rhian certainly did that!” Clearly it was Rhian’s night to shine as she also won the Clover leaf Barrel Racing (dog version) to beat out the same Border Collie. No hard feelings though, as Rhian has already been asked back for next year- this time in a “bigger role”!
Rusty adds, “It was a great three days of playing with my dog. Rhian enjoyed her special time with me and entertaining the crowd. She was a big hit at the “Pat-n-Chat” held after the shows here the fans got to meet the dogs. Many people said they never thought any dog could outrun a Border Collie. Rhian was especially great with all the kids, even kissing infants just like an experienced politician. She was a wonderful entertainer and outstanding ambassador for the breed.”
Rusty has been known for his outstanding agility dog, Maxwell, but it appears that Rhian is perfectly capable of making her own name in the agility world! Rhian is officially MACH2 ADCH Montage Works Like A Charm MXF TM-Gold, JCH-Silver, SCH-Bronze, RCH-Bronze, SACH-Bronze, RS-E, JS-E, GS-O, HIC.
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