Sno-King Agility started as the brain child of Kay Jackson and Jo Ann Mather, both of whom were tired of driving over an hour to their respective practice facilities. Pooling their resources, they purchased contact equipment and a tunnel and spent countless hours building pvc jumps and weave poles. A friend knew of a stable that might be “for rent” in the Snohomish area. We signed the agreement and classes started in the fall of 1994. We soon had a core group of enthusiastic students.
Since the whole idea had been to start a club to put on trials, we scheduled an organizational meeting in early January of 1995. There were ten people in attendance at that meeting. The name Sno-King Sno-Bounders was decided upon, since we were essentially from the south Snohomish and north King County areas. Officers were elected, consisting of Kay Jackson, President; Eileen Gillette, Vice President; Jo Ann Mather, Secretary and Patty Taylor, Treasurer. Sno-King was a reality!
The first thing we did was to sign up to have a booth at the Seattle Kennel Club show to be held in late February. This would be an excellent opportunity to get the word out about Sno-King and agility in general, as the sport was in its infancy in the Seattle area. The booth was a big success. We got signups for classes, won first prize for our booth and made some useful contacts. Although only two of our group had ever competed in agility and a handful of others had even been to an agility trial , we approached Olympic Kennel Club (OKC) about holding an AKC agility trial in conjunction with the OKC trial in Enumclaw in August. With supreme hubris, we assured them that we were experienced and could handle the whole thing! They agreed, and plans were set for a one-day trial, using the only local AKC judge we had at that time, Gayle George-Sackett!
The Clackamas Kennel Club in Canby, Oregon was the introduction to competition for several of our group. Jean Wells and her Aussie, Rio, put us on the map when they went High in Trial from the Novice class. Several others earned legs toward their AKC titles.
In July we held our first more or less official fun match – a show and go and “introduction to agility” at Jennings Park in Marysville. It was highly successful. Our group made quite a showing with our new royal blue t-shirts and visors with the white Sno-King logo. The event was well-run and made a good profit. It was a dress rehearsal for the OKC show to be held the following month..
In preparation for the OKC show, we practiced setting courses, timing and scribing, setting bars and all the other major and minor jobs involved in putting on a trial. Randy Mather developed a special computer program for the administrative part of the trial and to help with the scorekeeping. The big day arrived. We had 88 entries, with most in the Novice A class. A total of nine Sno-King dogs earned legs, and we came home feeling very proud of the job that we had done. We had lots of positive feedback. It was a financial success and Olympic Kennel Club was pleased. We have now partnered with Olympic Kennel Club a total of four different times. The second year we went to a two-day trial, and the fourth year we added Jumpers with Weaves and had two judges.
Since most of the Sno-King members own AKC-registered dogs, and since AKC trials could be held with only a small core group, we decided early on to concentrate on holding AKC trials. However, we are not exclusively AKC. Most of our members compete in the other venues; in fact, Kay Jackson’s Corgi, Katie, was one of the first dogs in the Northwest to earn the coveted Agility Dog Championship from the United States Dog Agility Association. NADAC trials are always popular with Sno-King members as well.
In the second year of our existence, we held an agility demonstration for Seattle Kennel Club’s 100th anniversary show; we put on two “Introduction to Agility” workshops, moved to a different stable, and our classes were taken over by the club. Many of our members earned their first agility titles on their dogs and the club began accumulating their own equipment.
The next two years saw lots of growth and changes for Sno-King. We changed our name and by-laws to meet AKC requirements, becoming Sno-King Agility Club. We became incorporated under the State of Washington and purchased a trailer – the realization of our first big goals. We also held two successful seminars featuring nationally-known agility competitors Linda Mecklenberg and Stuart Mah. In the Fall of 1997 we moved into a larger and better training facility. After holding our second AKC sanctioned agility match, we applied for the first show to be held on our own, scheduled for May of 1998. All the while, our members competed successfully in the various venues. Laurie Dorsey and Toby won the very first Columbia Cup NADAC trial in Vancouver; Jo Ann Mather’s Semi became the first MX dog in Western Washington. Kay Jackson’s Katie earned her ADCh.
In 1998, Sno-King really came of age with our first “very own” trial, held at Twin Springs Arabians in Bothell. With an entry of nearly 175 dogs, we were the first club in the Northwest to offer the new Jumpers with Weaves class. Our judge was Marquand Cheek, and he was a big hit with his hilarious briefings and great courses. The trial received rave reviews from everyone.
Realizing that the dearth of judges in the Northwest was hindering the growth of the sport, we appealed to Sharon Anderson to hold an AKC judges seminar. That seminar, hosted by Sno-King and held at the Pony Farm in Mt. Vernon, was the most successful ever held. As a result, sixteen new AKC judges, six of them from the Northwest, have been added to the judging corps.
Year 2000 marked some milestones as well. We discontinued our partnership with Olympic Kennel Club, deciding instead to branch out and offer other “flavors” of agility — in September we held our first USDAA Sanctioned Match, with a “real trial” planned for the summer of 2001. Sno-King added two Master Agility Champions to its rolls — Kay Jackson’s Sam and Laurie Dorsey’s Toby. Several teams earned MX and MXJ titles, as well as NADAC Elite titles. We added a second night and a second class location to our educational program. In November we held a training seminar featuring World Team competitor Elicia Calhoun.
Since then, we have hosted a seminar by Bud Houston and another by Elicia Calhoun. Our first USDAA trial was held in 2001, and in 2002 we added the “Vers-Agility Award” to our USDAA trial. Also in 2002 we added a second AKC trial, held in November at Argus Ranch in Auburn. Our classes, held on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday nights, now all meet at the facility in Clearview. Our classes are very popular and successful, with our students competing with the best in all venues of agility. Instructor education is high on our priority list — the club subsidizes and requires attendance at seminars and workshops.
We continue to be innovative and positive in our approach to training and to trial organization, and we encourage anyone who lives in our general area to join Sno-King and participate to whatever extent they are willing and able.
History by Jo Ann Mather