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Summit Point corgis win ribbons at AKC National Agility Championships

Gretchen Mason also participates in the breed's rescue operations

April 09, 2013|By RICHARD F. BELISLE | richardb@herald-mail.com
  • Gretchen Mason is shown with Baron, one of her award-winning Corgis.
Photo by Richard F. Belisle

SUMMIT POINT, W.Va. — Blue ribbons eluded them, but Baron, Twists and Ceri still showed enough skill in their divisions to snare seven green ribbons among them at the recent American Kennel Club National Agility Championships in Tulsa, Okla.

Gretchen Mason’s Welsh corgis, thanks to their agility on the timed courses in Tulsa, added to the stacks of ribbons that fill the three big tubs in their Summit Point basement.

Baron earned his ribbons by completing three “clean” 100 percent rounds in his divisions, while Twist and Ceri each earned accolades for making no mistakes in their runs through the course, Mason said.

“The competition was very stiff,” she said. “There were 228 dogs in Twist’s division, 160 in Ceri’s and Baron had to compete against 35 other dogs.”

There were 1,300 dogs of various breeds in the national competition, Mason said.

Mason, her husband, Rocky, and the three corgis drove the 2,400-mile round trip. It was their first trip to the Sooner State, and it was the big time for Baron, 8; Twist, 5; and Ceri, 4.

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Until now, Mason’s dogs only competed in agility contests mostly at local club shows in Maryland, Pennsylvania and Virginia.

The shows are sanctioned by the American Kennel Club, she said.

The contests allow all breeds, even mixed breeds, in agility, herding and obedience. Mason only competes in agility.

Corgis compete with dogs of similar size such as shelties, miniature Australian shepherds and cocker spaniels, Mason said.

Pembroke Welsh corgis average 10 inches to 12 inches at the withers, have short sturdy legs and can weigh close to 40 pounds.

“They’re big dogs with little bodies,” Mason said.

They were bred in Wales to herd cattle, sheep and other farm animals and fowl.

Mason got her first corgi, Toby, in the early 1990s. A friend said she knew where there was a litter, she said.

She entered Baron in his first agility competition in 2006. She takes her dogs to contests about twice a month and trains them at other times. Her fenced-in yard resembles a kids’ playground with its teeter-totter, climbing A-frame, tunnels and other obstacles that train her dogs and test their agility.

Mason said her dogs had to qualify in area events to enter the Tulsa competition. There’s no money in competing, she said.

“I do it because it’s fun,” she said.

She doesn’t breed corgis, but does participate in the breed’s rescue operations, she said. So far, she has helped place four corgis in the Eastern Panhandle.

Mason works for a Federal Emergency Management Agency financial center in Winchester, Va. 

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