Celebrate the Whippet Breed

The Excitement of Racing


CLCS's WRA National Meet

Margaret Norkett and the Hounds of Kemar

[Editor's note:] For many people, the excitement of an event is what draws them to keep returning. We see many write-ups about the various Whippet events, and many well-written ones. One such is the following write-up by Margaret Norkett after her return from the CLCS WRA National Meet.

First off, let me compliment this club on its superb execution of this event. I don't think I've EVER attended any event, dog or otherwise, that was so well run, had such extensive hospitality offered and was so much FUN all rolled into one 10 hour day!

Joanne Stewart was the consummate secretary; had everything organized and running like a well oiled machine. Mike and Susan Hayden were behind-the-scenes most of the time, but expended much energy and were always available to extend a helping hand, and sound advice on any problem. There were many, many others who were instrumental in making this event so memorable for all of us who attended from near and far. The kids that were there were helpful, well mannered and a credit to their parents. If there was anyone who had a bad time, I certainly didn't hear it voiced!

Of course there were lots of gorgeous, fast Whippets to watch, touch and admire. The experience of watching such beauty in motion was just awesome. While this was not my first race meet, it turned out to be one that I will always remember. I received much pleasure from watching my own dog run and thrill to the competition.

Roll call was at the ungodly hour of 6:30 a.m. with the meet beginning at 8:00. It was cool in the early hours, but heated up to an unseasonable high 70's by afternoon. We had a light rain the night before, so the ground was not quite so hard as reported earlier in the week. The dogs were definitely keyed up for the event. Straining at leashes as handlers walked them to the starting boxes, panting in anticipation of the race to come. Some went into the boxes eagerly, others fought going in, all were eager to get out.

Once inside, you could hear the yips and cries from the impatient dogs clearly all the way down the track. These intensified and were joined by the sound of nails scrabbling as the 'teaser' flapped the lure in front of the box prior to the box operator's releasing them. Line judges and foul judges gave their signals of ready, as did the lure operator and the box operator gave the signal to start the lure. The dogs leapt from the boxes in hot pursuit and thundered down the track to the finish line.

You could literally feel the ground shake underfoot as the dogs flew down the track. As they came down the track, you could hear the dogs grumbling to one another (or to the bunny) and the finish resulted in glad cries of 'caught!' by the eager animals. All the dogs left the track with wide grins on their faces, sides heaving from the exertion of their effort, but with bright eyes and a lightness to their step.

There were 120 adults in the first program; 24 races counting the one for seniors and the puppy run. By the fourth program, there were only 20 races due to scratches and the fact that seniors only run once. Some scratches were heartbreakers; Natron due to a cut web, most due to pulled muscles or popped toes. These dogs gave their all and I count it as an honor to have been among them if only for a day. I think I can honestly say that the only time I've come away from a dog show with such a feeling of pleasure was when my dog went BOB - a rarity at best. While he was a long way from being a meet winner, the thrill of watching him run and enjoy it so very much is something that warmed me through to my soul. While I wished a million times for my camera (and 3 extra pairs of hands to do everything I wanted to do at once!)......my 50 year old, faulty memory will have to do.

Thanks again, CLCS, for everything, but most of all, for the memories.............

Margaret & the Hounds of Kemar