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Jersey European Agility Festival - 2015 

The following article was written by Megan Burns from Guernsey and was also featured in the Agility Voice:

Earlier in the year, my mum and I took the short boat trip over to Jersey for the Jersey European Agility Festival. I always rave about this festival and this year did not disappoint from the two previous years that I have been in 2012 and 2013. The Jersey European Agility Festival (or JEAF) is run over four days with a dedicated nation to each day depending on the judge judging so here’s a brief overview of each day and my thoughts.

Day 1 was Jersey Day which acted as a warm up to the following days with knock-out challenges and tunnel exchange classes taking part in Friday afternoon and into the evening where competitors could pay a small amount for a two course meal linked to that nation. The food on “Jersey Day” was fish pie followed by sticky toffee pudding and Jersey ice cream.

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Day 2 was French Day with main judge Pascale Crespel. There are two agility rounds and two jumping rounds, one of which was a pairs round of large and then small/medium. The show only has two rings, but run all day finishing at about 5pm. This allows for the competitors to spectate around the rings and there is plenty of encouragement and lots of people chatting all the time. Another thing that makes the show different is that at the end of each day, everyone brings their chairs around the secretary’s tent and they do all of the presentations and everyone has a complimentary drink linked to the nation in their hand. For the French Day, this was either red or white wine. The evening meal was confit duck leg with mash and orange gravy followed by profiteroles and the famous Profiterole Challenge where two members from each nation go head-to-head to eat a bowl full of profiteroles the quickest - without hands! Always a great laugh!

The third day was British Day with judge Graham Partridge. Again, two agility and two jumping rounds yet one of the jumping rounds is a Nations Team round where three small/medium dogs or three large dogs from the same nation compete in a relay where the best get selected for the final held on the Monday. Presentation was completed by a glass of Pimms and dinner was a full roast followed by brownie and ice cream. It has to be said that the meals were delicious and great portions for the amount you pay!

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The final day (Monday) was Spanish Day with Jordi Narvarro judging. There are qualifying runs on the two previous days for Small and Medium and then for Grade A (equivalent to Grade 1-3) and Grade B (equivalent of Grade 4-7) in Large along with the Nations Team Final. The results of the qualifying classes are allocated points and the dogs with the highest number of points make the final. There was one agility, one jumping and a helter skelter run before the finals took place. Unfortunately, it rained nearly all day on Monday but the spirits weren’t dampened as everyone sat and watched the finals and stayed for the presentations and the raffle in aid of Jersey Hospice.

All in all, JEAF is a great event. The attention to detail from the organisers André Rees, Chris Cullen and Sally Rees was awesome, the running of the event was smooth, even though there are different languages, everyone makes new friends whether they are from Jersey, Guernsey, Great Britain, France, Spain, Germany, Belgium, Finland, Austria, Netherlands or even the USA. If you’re lucky, you might get to win a Jersey teddy (1st place prize) and even if you don’t win a teddy, you’ll get some lovely memories.

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Jersey European Agility Festival - 2013 

The following article was written by Cindy Heys from Jersey and was also featured in various Agility publications:

The Channel Island of Jersey recently welcomed over 165 dogs and their handlers from five different nations to the fifteenth Jersey European Agility Festival. The annual four day festival, the Channel Islands biggest dog event, took place in glorious weather conditions over the first May Bank Holiday.

The Festival had a new venue this year, the Jersey Accommodation & Activity Centre, set in the parish of St Martin with spectacular views over the Royal Bay of Grouville leading to Gorey Harbour and Castle.  Competitors were welcomed to choose from the options of camping facilities, indoor accommodation (dogs allowed in rooms!) along with allocated pitches for Motorhomes and Caravans.  Full on site facilities were available, including free Wi-Fi to keep those at home up to date with progress.  Many people opted to take full advantage of the location and facilities by extending their stay to enable them to explore Jersey’s unique coastal walks and beaches, several being a short walk from the venue itself.  Free welcome bags were provided upon arrival, containing maps of Jersey, highlighting local attractions and facilities for all the family to see.

For 2013 the Festival welcomed judges Pascale Crespel from France, Alfredo Tuset from Spain, Roger Van de Laarschot from the Netherlands and Graham Partridge from Great Britain.  The inclusion of European Judges is a welcome addition as it not only gives local and visiting entrants a chance to negotiate some European competitive courses, but view some very fast attacking handler running styles as well. It is this variety that, along with the Jersey setting, attracts some very experienced handlers and their dogs from different nations.  Visiting judges also get the chance to compete on the days they are not on official judging duty.

Each day was themed with Friday being Dutch day, Saturday French day, Sunday British day and Monday Spanish day.  This theme was carried through to the afternoon where, after all classes of the day were complete, complimentary drinks representing the themed days were distributed whilst awaiting the day’s results.  Needless to say the “booze queue” was very well attended and appreciated by all, twice or more in some cases!  The venue continued with this theme by on site themed catering each evening for each different nation.

Although competition does not start until the Saturday, everyone who is present on the Friday helps to set up one ring and have a fun afternoon of competition.  The fun day Festival Weave Challenge is fiercely contended with dogs and handlers having to negotiate up to 30 weaves.  The small/medium and large Festival Knockout continues the fun and enables everyone, two and four legged, a chance to stretch their legs ready for the next day’s start of serious competition.  This year visiting Judge Roger Van de Laarschot and his wife Monique offered everyone present the option to attend an afternoon training session with them.  This was very well received and also attended by local handlers as well as guests.

Warm weather and clear skies greeted Saturday’s competitors, with Ransoms Garden Centre providing breakfast of croissants and pastries in honour of sponsoring French day.   The Festival opens each day with a briefing by the day’s judges, with classes starting at 8.30am.  The Festival is the only agility show in the Channel Islands that run two consecutive rings at once.  Alfredo Tuset and Pascale Crespel presided over the opening day’s 18 classes.   Each course was carefully walked by handlers, many of whom were undertaking European courses for the first time.   The days classes were split in to Grade A and Grade B jumping and agility accordingly, with classes for ABC, Any Size and Pairs Jumping also taking place.  Variety not only came in the form of the courses, but breeds and ages of both dog and handler as well. At the end of the first day’s competition everyone gathered round for the results with a very much appreciated courtesy glass of wine or soft drink.  There was the option of discussing the day’s proceedings further at “Barney’s Restaurant”.  Competition between nations continued at Barneys during the evening with an enlightening impromptu display of profiterole eating by two of the more senior handlers that brought much humour.

Sunday brought much of the same weather, with Graham Partridge and Roger Van de Laarschot presiding over the days 18 courses.  Again it was a very busy day with the courses being noted as very fast with a few dogs being caught by the approach to some of the courses obstacles.  Competition was fierce, with the fast running approach to courses being especially noted among the Small grade A and B classes.  Again some very experienced handlers and their dogs were caught out by these courses.  At the same time some young handlers emerged as very capable along with their dogs as ones to watch for the future.  With Sunday being British Day, Pimms was served to refresh those weary from the day’s efforts at results time.

During Saturday and Sunday qualifying classes took place for both Grade A and B jumping and agility.  Each day the results were posted along with points obtained and carried forward towards qualification in Monday’s Finals.  By now, many had relaxed in to their stride and the courses, and had produced the results they needed to qualify for the Finals.

Alfredo Tuset and Pascale Crespel opened Monday’s proceedings. Although there were only 14 classes, the addition of Helter Skelter courses brought something new to the day.  With no more points being awarded towards the Finals, the emphasis was on enjoying the day and the sun in-between classes.

With all classes being run for the day, Pascale Crespel set out her course for the Jersey European Agility Festival’s Dog of the Year Finals – 2013.  Everyone then came together to watch the Finals commence.  First was the Small class, with eight qualifiers, amongst them one local handler and dog.  The class was won by former Team GB handler Bernadette Bay with her aptly named Sheltie, Obay Itz Got Pizzazz, with a very fast time of 31.235, no faults.

For the Medium Final, again with eight qualifiers, was won by a stunning round from local handler Oliver Eden and his Springer Spaniel Mayzee Runs Like A Rocket.  This convincing clear round win was over ten seconds faster than second place visitor Fras Aurelia.

Large Grade A Final was won by the only clear round of the course by visitor Linda Wilson.  Second and Third places were awarded to local handlers André Rees and Di Poingdestre accordingly.

Large Grade B was won by regular Festival visitor from France, Nathalie Le Blond and her young Malinois, Arkhan De La Coquillonnerie.  This was a very popular partnership and well deserved being just over one second faster than Great Britain’s former world cup manager, Graham Partridge and his Collie, Waggerland Widget At Gunran AW.

Attention then turned to Ring 2 in which the course had been set for the Nations Teams Finals – 2013 by Alfredo Tuset.  By now the national flags had come out and cheering for each team member, along with the applause for every competitor’s round.  In the Nation’s Team Small Finals experience proved out with the ‘Rest of the World’s’ team of Bernadette Bay from Great Britain, Fras Aurelia from France and Caroline Le Roux from France coming first to Jersey’s Sally Rees, Valery Johnson and Di Poingdestre. Large Nations Team Finals produced a very vocally supported round for the French, who came second, just, to England’s team of Mandy Cowdroy, Marion Creed and Tim Creed.

Everyone then pitched in to pack up the equipment and settle with a glass of Sangria in honour of Spanish Day, whilst waiting for the last day’s awards and placings.  Once again the Festivals unique First place Teddys were much coveted by all, with some people mentioning they would have to come back next year to win theirs.

Prior to the results and awards for the day and the Finals, the raffle in aid of Jersey Hospice was drawn.  First prize was a free Condor Trip supplied by Channel Islands Direct.  The main sponsors also contributed with some lovely dog beds as prizes.  Again, the Raffle is a much established part of the Festival and well supported.

Judges Specials were then awarded to two outstanding competitors of the Festival that they had agreed deserved acknowledgement.  The first being awarded to England’s Mark Bradley for his fantastic partnership with his two Weimaraners, Mully and Campbell, and his achievement of making the Finals with Mully.  Local handler, Sue Drew, along with her Collie cross Katie, was also awarded a Judge’s Special for coming so close in her persistence trying for that elusive clear round without time faults.  Sue competes from her wheelchair very competitively, travelling to Europe to do so.

Everyone agreed that the 2013 Jersey European Agility Festival had been hugely successful and continued to be one of the most friendly and much looked forward to events in the Agility Calendar.  Local handlers and their dogs acquitted themselves well against some very experienced dogs and handlers. The friendly atmosphere of pitch in and help each other was appreciated by several visitors who had made this a family holiday, and never went short of offers for babysitting (two or four legged) whilst running. 

Thanks were extended to Sally and André Rees for continuing to organise this charity Festival, which is in support of Jersey Hospice.  Thanks must also go to the Jersey Accommodation and Activity Centre who, as our new venue, providing not only family friendly accommodation, but on site catering and facilities and help.

Of course the Festival would not be as unique as it is without the support of the main sponsors and their contribution towards the Raffle as well as first place prizes.  Local Garden Centre, Ransoms in conjunction with Baring Heads, not only provided breakfast on their “French day” this year, but continues to supply courtesy goody bags packed with treats.  The aforementioned has become a well-known and much appreciated addition to the Festival.  Pets Paradise in conjunction with Royal Canine for their sponsorship of Sundays “British Day” classes and Judge’s Special awards.  Pet Cabin for sponsoring Monday’s proceedings along with the Day’s Final and with special awards to first place competitors in conjunction with Eukanuba.  Without them the Festival could not carry on in the form it takes now.  The support of Kronch is also appreciated in providing various products to placing’s.

Further thanks must go to Clive and Fran Hildersley for doing all of the running orders along with ring management.  Elaine Hudspeth, Colin Hyland and Pat Partridge for their ring management skills as well, along with the French liaison Michelle Johnston.

 
 
Jersey Agility Festival - 2009 

The following article was written by Valerie Bamber for the Agility Zone, and was featured in the March 2010 issue, who have kindly allowed it to be reproduced on the Festival website:

Corbière lighthouse, Jersey

The Jersey Agility Festival has long been one of my favourite shows. It has been run by the Rees family for the past eleven years and held under the auspicies of the Jersey Kennel Club. In 2010, it is being run for the first time by the Scallywags Dog Agility Club, who have undertaken to carry on the good work, although we shall look forward to seeing Sally and Andre as competitors.  The Show takes place at the beginning of May over three days at the Beauvelande Camp Site about ten minutes inland from the village of Gorey. The ground is wonderful, with spacious, flat grassy rings, which are beautifully mown. It is a small show and counts for nothing in the great points contest of the UK but is attracts people from England, France and Holland as well as the Channel Islanders themselves. Some people camp on the very well run camp site and in recent years it has also been possible to take a caravan.  In the first few years that the States of Jersey allowed caravans, the owners of the camping site met the caravans off the ferry and escorted them to the camp site. The ‘green lanes’ of Jersey are high banked, twisty and barely wide enough for a car presenting quite a challenge for a caravan. It is a step too far for me, for although I tow my caravan many hundreds of miles every year, I flinch at the thought of meeting someone coming the other way. Other people stay in hotels and bed and breakfast places. For those of us, who live in the South West, the journey is relatively easy as the fast ferry from Weymouth takes about four hours, calling at Guernsey on the way. The journey passes quickly as there are always plenty of Agility people to talk to and with whom to compare notes. I stay in a hotel in Gorey, where my dogs are made very welcome. The hotel is opposite the beach and the golf course and both provide superb dog walking. The Golf Course is on Crown land and this means that it is open to everyone. It is great to see how the golfers and the local dog walkers co exist so well together. There is mutual respect and the dog walkers keep out of the way of golfers teeing off whilst the golfers pause to allow the dog walkers to pass in safety. There is no dog mess and no litter and everyone is very pleasant and friendly. Walking my dogs morning and evening, I soon found myself accepted into the community of Jersey dog walkers and made new friends The Jersey Agility Festival is a very happy and relaxed affair. On most days each dog gets four runs from ABC Agility to Pairs, Helterskelter and Collie Jumping. However the centre piece is the competition for the Jersey Agility Dog of the Year. There are four qualifying rounds, two of which are Agility and two Jumping. The categories are Small, Medium and Large Grades 1&2 and Small Medium and Large Grades 3-7. Marks are awarded in each of the Qualifiers and then a Grand Final is held on the last afternoon, usually judged by a well known local Judge. In 2009, it was Graham Partridge, a very popular Judge from Cornwall, who has recently judged at Olympia. Everyone sits round the ring and cheers and at the end the Grand Presentation is made.

Gorey Castle, Jersey

It is great fun to sit round the rings talking in a polyglot mixture of French and English. In 2009, we had a French Judge to add to the excitement. This gave those of us, who will never compete on the International stage a chance to see just how different competing abroad would be. The courses were entirely different from any I have experienced in this country. They were very long and quite difficult to handle. There were unusual entries to the Weaves and the Dog Walk and A Frame were positioned so that both ends presented a threat whenever the dog went over a jump. It was brilliantly and fiendishly designed.  The times were pretty tight too and if a competitor hesitated for a second, the Judge waved his arms and pointed to the next jump. Many of the English competitors found this disconcerting to say the least! The Festival is a very sociable occasion. An evening meal is held for those who care to attend. The Festival is sponsored by a local Garden Centre, which has an excellent café and take away. This is usually full of Agility people during the days surrounding the Festival, for many of us make a week of it and becomes more in the nature of a club house. The Garden Centre helps to pay for the rosettes and trophies and also provides a doggie goody bag for each competitor, given on the production of a schedule. This year it contained a ball with one of those plastic things, which enable the feeble to throw a ball a long way, a dog toy, a large chew, several packets of dog treats and a key ring. It is a lovely and much appreciated idea.   Another gathering place is the fast food van at the show. Not only does it produce tasty bacon and egg baps but the lady, who runs it also provides home made fruit crumble to die for. So good is it that it has to be ordered on arrival, for no matter how many dishes she makes, there is never enough. Everyone is expected to help for part of two half days. This is brilliantly organised, so that one knows what one has to do, where and the time one has to do it and the name of the person with whom one is sharing the job as well as the names of the other people in the ring party. It is all written down on a brightly coloured sheet of paper and everyone involved gets a copy. No messing about reporting to the Ring Manager, who isn’t there at the stated time and no being told to go away and come back later. These are both particular hates of mine, which wastes everyone’s time. Wherever one goes on the island, whether it is shopping in St Helier or dog walking in St Catherine’s woods or on the sandy dunes on the far side of the island, one is sure to meet other Agility people. I sometimes wonder what the people of Jersey make of these bands of foreigners greeting each other all over the island. Then at the end of the Show, after all the presentations and the Grand Draw is complete,  we say farewell to our Jersey hosts, make plans for the following year and board the ferry after a most enjoyable time. The schedules are out for the 2010 Show and I am sure that Scallywags will continue to make it just as successful and enjoyable in the future as it has been in the past.

2017 Sponsors:

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Ransoms
   

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Channel Islands Direct

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