North American Flyball Association

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NAFA Candidate Chat Transcript – October 11, 2007

moderatorOK, we're going to go ahead and start. I'm sure others will join as schedules/time zones permit. I'd like to welcome everyone to our first candidate chat of the year. This is the first of three scheduled chats. If each candidate would like, they can start with a little opening/greeting.
moderatorIts important to note, as we did last year, that not all candidates can make all the chats. We don't really set the dates based on the candidates schedules - in fact this year, Lee Heighton set the dates and the candidates were given an early heads up in case they couldn't make ANY of them.
DaleSmithGlad to see so many people this evening. Especially the number that were here early. Glad to answer any questions or provide my thoughts tonight. You can also always reach me by email at other times for questions or thoughts.
Alisa_-_Heat_WaveHello all. I am excited to be involved in this chat. I always enjoy the leadership chats as it is great to connect with flyball people from all parts of the globe. Flyball is my main focus as far as hobbies and I enjoy helping out, answering questions, mentoring new teams and such. I also enjoy the different points of view that people have; think how boring this sport might be otherwise! You can find out more about me by visiting the page I set up off of our Heat Wave web site -
moderatorOK, we have two questions in the queue at this point. Once a question is asked, any candidate can answer in the main window. The person that posed the question can also interact in the main window to follow up. If you're moving to a new topic, please go back to the moderator and get back in the queue.
moderatorJenbtbc: I would like to know how it seems fair by allowing outside region clubs to go into other regions to host tournaments and Acquire Regional Points going towards their region
DaleSmithI think this is a reference to the new rules this year for Clubs selecting a region other that the physical one in which they reside. This might be a more fair question for the Board as a whole, but I'll give my view.
Alisa_-_Heat_WaveJen, the way I understand the rules, if you are declared to a region then any tournament you host goes towards that region's regional points. Is that what you are asking?
JenBTBCYes, I realize some regions are big, and I Love going to other regions to play flyball and would never expect to receive regional points from other region
DaleSmithIn the past we've dealt with regions exclusively on state/province boundaries. A couple years ago we created the preference region for Clubs who were on the boundary of a region but it was closer for them to drive to another region for events than it was to participate in their physical region. As Flyball continues to grow, we see the need to divide regions even more finely, resulting in more of these boundary Clubs. You saw our first region this year that is not along a state/province boundary.
JenBTBCWhy not make it so all teams no matter what region you are in get regional points towards that region then?
DaleSmithIn the same way it might be closer for a Club to attend a tourney in a neighboring region, it also makes sense that it might have the same effect if they hosted a tourney. This is what we as a Board decided to try - I think it will work well, but we're not blind to the fact that it could be abused and we're watchful of that.
JenBTBCI realize it is confusing reading the rulebook, not very well written
Dana.Nichols_LaunchJen, if you look at the minutes from the Board meeting, the new rule only applies to clubs that elect into another region. After they make that election, then that is considered their home region for that year. It is not a situation where they can get regional points from more than one region. Just wanted to clarify.
Alisa_-_Heat_WaveJen, I'm sorry. I'm not really sure what you are asking... I can give you a "fer instance" from our region which encompasses NV, Utah and AZ. Teams in Reno have to travel probably 10 hours to get to the closest in region tournament. However, they can declare to the Ca region and travel only a couple hours. It makes more sense for them to be in the Ca region 16 because they will get region 16 teams at their tournaments as well. Does that help?
MargePowerPackThe way I understand the rule you just pick a region and get reg points in that reg only.
JenBTBCWhat I understand is other side regions can go into other regions and host tournies, the regional points go towards that host teams region, and not the region the tourney is held in
Chris_THTHIt has to be an adjoining region. For example.. Florida is 10 hours long. The teams in the Panhandle have decided to go to Region 14, because they only have a 4 hour drive compared to 6 or 8 hours for most Region 11 tourneys.
moderatorI'll let the discussion continue since we have only one other question in the queue but normally a person asks a question and the candidates answer...
JenBTBCWhat I am getting at it is outside region clubs hosting inside another region, not affiliated to that region
Alisa_-_Heat_WaveI see what you are saying now. Yes, there is likely the potential for abuse of this rule. Unfortunately, if someone is devious enough, they can find a way around just about any rule in the rulebook. That is where the Board needs to stay on top of issues and keep clubs in line if there is abuse. It is also important for delegates to contact their board members and keep them posted of what is going on in the regions. Sometimes it's hard to know what's going on if nobody is offering input.
JenBTBCIt is newly worded in the rulebook this year
Kris_PJen, I also see what you're saying and I think if there is potential for abuse it needs to be fixed. The concept was if a team has declared itself into another adjacent region then the tournaments it hosts count to that region. The issue came up at the meeting in the form of a specific request from a team that did not first make it to Rules -- I think the Rule could use clarification, to address the point you're making. Thank you for raising this issue.
JenBTBCIt think it is great for teams that want to be a part of different regions, IE traveling, or preferring to race with affiliated regions to be included in those regions
moderatorThanks Kris, for the info. Any other questions/discussion on this one?
JenBTBCI just hope it does not get abused
DaleSmithWe did actually consider some forms of abuse at the meeting but chose to deal with them if/when they occurred. We'll see much of it at sanctioning so it gives some lead time to deal with it.
scooter.belleDoes the out of region team have a choice when hosting an out of region tournament to declare which region? The way the rule seems to be written they would have no choice.?
DaleSmithCorrect, they have no choice. Choice would have created more potential for fiddling with Regional Standings late in the year - depending on if I wanted a tourney to count or not.
scooter.belleOk, so it's not an "abuse" situation. If a team two states away from a regional line, but declared the next region over, in order for them to host a tournament the in region teams have to travel two states away from the regional line to go for the points.
DaleSmithIf you have an example of this happening, please bring it to Sam's attention or to a Board member. Or anything else you believe might be abuse.
scooter.belleIf they don't have a choice, its not abuse. Their only choice is to cease holding tournaments!
DaleSmithThe new rule was an attempt to address several situations related to state/province boundaries and regions. Its not perfect but its the best we could come up with at the time. It can be adjusted as needed and/or Sam can use his authority to limit mis-use. Sam has some amount of discretion to make the "right thing" happen if needed.
moderatorSpecial Note: The following responses actually ocurred later in the chat but are consolidated here for ease of reading. A request was made to ask the other candidates that joined later the same question
moderatorThis started a wide-ranging discussion last time. Lets keep this to the candidates and the questioner this time. The Board took a to-do to watch this and discuss possible mis-use (Kris as chair of Rules).
moderatorJenbtbc: I would like to know how it seems fair by allowing outside region clubs to go into other regions to host tournaments and Acquire Regional Points going towards their region
Zachary_ChernikIf measuring system does not change, we will have just moved this issue from 4" to 5" which will not really solve how to measure equally across all regions.
moderatorJen, you may need to clarify since they didn't see the earlier discussion
Chris.VWThis issue began when the Bod approved clubs to "declare" their region. Reasons for declaring your region usually centered on clubs that lived near a region's border and for that club's preference to cross that border to compete outside their region. The discussion that led to this most recent change involved a club that did not want to travel 23 hours to compete in their "region" . They were isolated.from the rest of their region. It seems reasonable to allow that club to also "host" for their declared region.
JenBTBCYes but they were then affiliated with that region. I am talking about teams that go into other regions to host tournaments acquiring regional points for the affiliated region
PeteNessso then no one from their designated region comes and they get free regional points
Scott_SIf memory serves me, the concept behind this rule was in regards to teams that fell upon the regional borders or declared themselves as members of another region. Given that sites are so valued, if your site was a few miles over the border, or that you compete with a neighboring region, should your tournament not count based upon location. The board did realize that the potential for abuse exists and has asked the Ed to track this to determine this rule needs to be repealed or changed.
Chris.VWThat may happen. The question is how often is the possibility that it may happen? If it becomes enough to artificially skew that region's championship standings then I favor the Board re-visiting that decision.
Scott_SThat was the purpose of having the Ed's staff track these tournaments and give a report to the board regarding whether it is being abused or not
moderatorSpecial Note: This ends the section inserted from later in the chat.
moderatorOur next question:
moderatorChris_thth: I would like to know from the candidates that are on the chat how you feel about the current idea to put out a delegate vote on changing the height for height dogs from the current 4 inch rule to 5 inches.
Alisa_-_Heat_WaveIf a person sends a proposal to the Board, I believe it has to be heard.
Chris_THTHNo I would like to know how you feel about the rule are you in favor of it?
DaleSmithI would favor putting the issue to the delegates and letting them decide. I actually advocated this at the last meeting - both 5 inches and 6 inches. I don't think it addresses our measuring process but it reduces the stress on the dogs. While I favor putting it to a vote, I'm not as sure I favor the idea at this time. I worry about de-emphasizing the height dog and their role, but I'm not strongly opposed - haven't had time to gather all the info and study it out yet.
Alisa_-_Heat_WaveHere's the kicker Chris, my personal views on a matter may not be in sync with what I would vote on the Board. I prefer to know what the delegates want and what is best for flyball. If this were put to a vote and the delegates voted it in, then that would show that they wanted the change and that the system worked. As you may know, I race only height dogs at this time but I would personally not be in favor of a proposal to lower jump heights.
Chris_THTHAlisa, I would like to know as a team owner. Why not??
Alisa_-_Heat_WaveA good part of NAFA is the strategy aspect and that includes finding and training a good height dog. Once the jump heights lower, the height dog becomes less important. While most trainers can train fast big dogs, it is a challenge and one I relish - to find and train a good height dog. My Staffy Jazz is now 10 1/2 and I regularly bring her out to height dog a team at her NAFA height of 10". I do realize that perhaps there may be some breeds who could use some assistance, such as those with much shorter legs such as Corgis and that perhaps that "exception" should be looked at.
Chris_THTHOK, what about the safety of the height dog? I have really small ones that are jumping over their jump height... Have you every watched a height dog struggle to jump each jump because they are too high and it's a safety issue, but the dog loves to play the game? I have height dog's too and their striding and jumping ability is almost a .5 seconds faster and safer and 1 inch lower. So this is a big issue for a lot of people.
Alisa_-_Heat_WaveWhy is it a safety issue? I believe the same dogs would be jumping the same or higher in agility or obedience? And Chris, just because I personally don't agree, doesn't mean this isn't something you should offer to the board to go to a delegate vote. If the support is there, the issue would likely pass.
Chris_THTHThanks for your perspective Alisa and Dale.
moderatorSpecial Note: The following responses actually ocurred later in the chat but are consolidated here for ease of reading. A request was made to ask the other candidates that joined later the same question
moderatorChris_thth: I would like to know from the candidates that are on the chat how you feel about the current idea to put out a delegate vote on changing the height for height dogs from the current 4 inch rule to 5 inches.
Chris.VWI support the idea that the delegates have a right to vote on this concept. As a competitor, I would vote against it but, as a Board member, I would favor the delegates having the final word.
Chris_THTHWhy would you vote against it?
Scott_SPersonally, I own a height dog and a five inch deduction helps me. I do believe that this is a question for the delegates to decide. My only concern is that we don't remove the importance of the height dog from flyball. Above my own benefit, I would not like to see the slower height dogs removed from the sport because a fast small border collie can now serve as a height dog.
Chris.VWIt's just my opinion that it would change the basic concepts of this sport too much.
Chris_THTHScott, I appreciate the answer. Why do you think that it would make people get rid of their slower height dogs... the big dog's can go faster and so can the height dog!!!!
Zachary_ChernikThe problem is we will still have the issues in division 1 for measuring.....i do believe that it would be a bit safer for the dogs lowering 1 inch. But we have a problem that needs to be addressed. How do we come up with something that takes into account, height, weight, speed, length......etc....there are so many variables that effect jumping.
Scott_SI believe the delegates need to debate this. My concern is whether a seven second Yorkie will still have a place on the team if they have a 4.5 second BC who jumps two inches higher. The value of a height dog is how they lower overall jump heights, regardless of speed. I would hate to see dogs 'forced' out of the sport because teams feel they can run faster with a larger dog who can now serve as a height dog because of the 5 inch deduction
Chris.VWDivision 1 cannot be singled out for measuring issues. We have to find solutions for issues that are blind to divisions, regions, teams, dog breeds, etc.
Chris_THTHI don't see that happening... most people will want the jumps lowered that have little dogs, because they will be able to go faster and more safely. Just wanted to say thank you all for answering my questions.
Scott_SI don't believe many teams would 'scrap' their slower dogs. I just believe the delegates need to debate the topic and come to a conclusion that serves the majority. One thing that I've always been a proponent of is ensuring flyball is for everyone. I would hate for a decision that 'I' made ruined the sport for anyone.
moderatorSpecial Note: This ends the section inserted from later in the chat.
moderatorPeteness: How do the candidates feel about a measuring system in which a specific leg bone is measured to determine the jump height?
DaleSmithI don't believe the length of the leg bone is representative of the jumping ability of the dog. While its easy to measure, I don't think its as representative as height at the withers.
Alisa_-_Heat_WavePete, measuring the withers of a dog with a wicket has been the universal standard in all dog venues since time immortal. While I appreciate that a competing organization has come up with a way it believes is better to measure the dogs, I do not think that NAFA should just blindly follow along. I also agree with Dale that the length of a dog's leg doesn't determine how well it can jump. Look at some of those tiny Jacks. :-)
PeteNessI raise the question because of the controversies in NAFA with respect to measuring withers
Chris.VWMy apologies for joining late. My cable company had an area wide Internet blackout.
PeteNessDoes height at the withers determine how high a dog can jump?
DaleSmithI've seen documents from several orthopedic and athletic specialists that agree (canine). I'm not content with our current system but I don't yet have a better alternative to propose.
Alisa_-_Heat_WaveI do agree that the measuring issue has been going on for a while. I'm not sure if changing the "thing" we measure would fix that or not.
Scott_SGiven that I too just joined, could the question be repeated. I apologize, my clock says its just 9:00
PeteNessI was asking how the candidates feel about a system where measuring a specific bone is used to determine jump heights. For the record, I'd prefer a formula requiring higher jumps than the competing organization.
KimHas NAFA thought about coming up with some kind of training section for newbies to dogsports on how to train a dog to stand? Would this be an option?
Scott_SThe issue as I see it is that we are looking for a measurement that determines jumping ability. Unfortunately, there is no research to indicate to us that either method measures ability. So, given no research to indicate ability, the best we use currently is the method that all dog sports are currently using. If we could find a method that truly measured ability, I would be in favor of looking at it
KimBut in the meantime would NAFA be willing to help newbies learn to teach a dog to stand and different things they can do to get a dog used to the wicket - this could help a dog relax and get that lower measurement we all want
Scott_SMost of the judges I know, including myself, are willing to do practice stands with dogs after the 'official' measuring is over. This practice is designed to help dogs get used to the wicket and teach them how to stand
Alisa_-_Heat_WaveIn the past at tournaments in region 6 and 16, when time allows, the judges allow people to bring their dogs who need wicket training. I think this is very helpful to the dogs.
DaleSmithYes, I do this too to allow dogs to get used to the wicket in the tournament atmosphere and with a judge. Not everyone has a wicket and the ability to simulate the chaos of a tourney.
Kimyes but newbies may not know what to do to get a dog prepared - knowledge is power
Scott_SPart of this practice is also 'instruction' regarding what a NAFA stand entails, as well as ways to help the dog relax and stand appropriately (at least when I do practice with newbies)
Alisa_-_Heat_WaveKim, this would be where the captain needs to take charge and ensure that the dogs get some practice standing even if they don't have a wicket. This is where I also feel that mentoring new teams is important. An experienced team can help a new team a lot and I believe they should give back to flyball in this way.
Kimyes but not all captains are good trainers
Scott_SThis would be a good question for the ask the trainers section that Lisa has added to the website. Then the response would be saved in the training section for newbies
Kimyes but then people have to open different ones to find an answer
Dana.Nichols_LaunchI am the moderator for that section. If someone wants to submit it to me, I'll be glad to pass it on to the trainers for an upcoming month's column.
Scott_Sbut isn't your question whether NAFA would provide training pointers on stands for newbies? Using this column would provide an answer and save it for future use
Kimcould there be a way to organize the training forum to make it easier to find if the question is asked
Dana.Nichols_LaunchKim if you want to send me a private email, I'll be happy to discuss any suggestions you have. My email is
Kimthank you
moderatorOK, we're going to take a break here and let the three candidates that just joined us do an opening statement or greeting. Scott, Chris and Zach - go ahead
Chris.VWHello. My name is Christine VanWert. Thank you for joining us in chat tonight. I hope you all are as happy to be here as I am. I'm glad to have an opportunity to participate in NAFA candidate chat. NAFA has a bright future ahead and I look forward to your questions. There is no explanation from my Internet provider as to why we lost service and so I might unexpectedly get kicked off as well.
Scott_SI'm going to post a slight warning. We are in the middle of a huge thunderstorm with downed powerlines. If I get kicked off, I will do everything possible to get back on. I apologize for arriving late. I would like to thank everyone for coming and contributing to this process. Your questions inform the board of your areas of confusion and concern. Hopefully this chat will be informative in letting the board know where they need to focus their efforts. Hopefully my answers to your questions will indicate that you believe I would be beneficial to that process and you will re-elect me to the board.
Zachary_ChernikGood evening everyone. I look forward to a progressive discussion regarding NAFA and how to make this sport better for our dogs and us and increase the growth of this great sport. Also, please accept my apology for getting on-line late too, as I just arrived home a few minutes ago.
moderatorJane: I have a question: I'm sure you've all seen the "controversial flyball box" recently used at a tournament. I'd like to know candidates opinions of this it legal or illegal per NAFA rules?
DaleSmithI don't believe its illegal according to our current rules. I don't think it represents flyball as what we intended but we were unable at the Board meeting to put that into a rule. I don't want to get to the point where the Board has to approve any new box design that's not a wedge.
Alisa_-_Heat_WaveThe current NAFA rules do not address training aids affixed to the box. The rules do, however, address training aids in the ring and when they can be used. Perhaps we need to look at things from that angle.
Scott_SUsing the current rule set, the box is legal provided the attachment is a permanent part of the box and it doesn't pose a safety threat to the dogs. While I'm personally not in favor of this box, based upon the current rules it is legal. I am in favor of figuring out a way to word a rule that makes this box illegal, but I am not in favor of creating a rule that says all future box innovations need to be approved by the board
Chris.VWI have seen the pictures and read the minutes. I was in attendance and heard all the discussion surrounding the construction of this box and the meaning of our rules concerning this box. Since i am not a current Board member and the outcome of the Board vote concerning this box has sparked some passionate controversy, I don't feel it is appropriate for me to say how I would "vote" after the fact.
Janeso no one sees it falling under the "training in the ring" portion of the rules?
Alisa_-_Heat_WaveJane, I think I said that....
DaleSmithNo more so than tugs, treats and other box design items we already allow.
Melanie.FLIsn't adding a "5th jump" illegal?
Scott_SThat is technically a slippery slope. If this is training, isn't providing food at the end of a run training? Its one of the issues the board discussed
Chris.VWHaving said that, I have to accept the BoD's decision that the box is legal per our current rules. I support the current BoD's efforts to develop language that would make that box configuration illegal while still allowing future box makers to innovate box design.
DaleSmithMuch like many of the items we use in our sport, this seems to be something you'd "train" in advance. The dog would not see this for the first time at a tourney any more than they'd first see a tug or a side panel on a box.
Scott_Sbut the question is, is it a fifth jump if it is a non-removable part of the box? The board has been careful to set specifications for the box, without saying what the box needs to look like. If the jump is a part of the box, and not designed to be removed, is it an aid?
DaleSmithAs I said, I don't think it represents what I want for Flyball, but haven't come up with a "rule" that defines what's wrong with this without limiting box innovation to what we now know as a box.
Alisa_-_Heat_WaveI believe that because the jump was affixed to the pad which was affixed to the box and still fit into the dimensions stated in our rules, the Board could not rule this box illegal per the rules as they currently stand, whether they personally felt differently or not.
Kris_PIt does bring up a larger issue philosophically and that is whether the general rules govern, here, the training devices prohibition, over the more specific, i.e, the box dimensions. The issue did divide the board. My understanding is it's also being evaluated by the ED from a safety angle.
moderatorChris_thth: To the candidates, what do you hope to accomplish if you are elected to the BoD and what special skills do you bring to the table.
Chris.VWThat's two questions. :) I would like to see the various opposing views come a little bit closer together. I bring a mindset of determination to work hard for our sport and a willingness to take into account that everybody sees things differently.
Scott_SI believe that a diverse board is important. Each member brings a specific skill set that adds to the total. I have ideas regarding how to expand flyball, but I am not a marketing expert and believe my job is to bring my ideas to someone who is. As both a college professor and small business owner, my expertise is in training, business management, and finance. I see myself as helping in creating training programs and developing a business plan to make NAFA as financially solid as possible.
DaleSmithI have served NAFA for many years in a number of capacities, from our initial web presence, to EJS coordinator when Clyde passed suddenly, to Treasurer and a variety of other technology related roles. I think I bring a unique point of view to some of NAFA's history, having been there for much of it. I can help to understand "intent" when rules were written or discussed in the past. I also have a passion for using technology inside NAFA. In making our web systems and EJS the best they can be and aids to our enjoyment of the sport. I enjoy contributing to a sport that I love along with my dogs and my whole family.
Alisa_-_Heat_WaveThe Board has made huge strides in the past years with communication, new innovations to make the sport better, equipment, marketing, etc. I am sure there are many other areas I don't even know about. I would like to bring a fresh perspective to the Board from an area of the country where our flyball is so different from most of the rest of the NAFA world. I have been a mother for the past 6 1/2 years which I hope has made me a better, more patient and understanding person. I also worked in the legal system for 11 years which gave me the ability to see both sides of an issue (or all three sides!). I would hope that my influence would help to bring some new insight and help to the board's decision-making ability and continue to make NAFA a great flyball venue.
Zachary_ChernikCreative thinking outside the box....the more different view points the better. As a business owner and technology person how we can improve our current position today and into the future years.
moderatorMargepowerpack: I would like to ask the candidates how they would handle World Records and history if any jump height was changed. With or without a device change
Scott_SCan you clarify the term 'device change'. Do you mean qualifying the record based upon the height jumped?
Alisa_-_Heat_WaveIf the way we measure or figure jump heights was changed, then I think it would be important to somehow note a "before change" and "after change". That would only be fair to those who have set the records before the sport became "easier" so to speak.
DaleSmithFlyball has changed a number of times over the years, boxes don't look anything like they used to, jumps are now lower, etc. I think records would continue to be tracked as records. Some of the past changes have enabled faster speeds and I'm sure some new ones will as well. I think anyone serious about our sport's history can still appreciate the records that were set in the past and the context in which they were set. This goes for points and titles too to some extent.
Chris.VWWell, I think if it were a significant change such as losing the wicket and adopting the caliper method of measuring a leg bone, we would have to indicate in the database the exact date of that change and flag those records. Probably use an asterisk to indicate that a record or title was earned before the date of change. It would need to be a clear indicator.
MargePowerPackOnly in that a device change would change the jump heights.
DaleSmithA new device may or may not radically change jump heights. You can pick the formula to have whatever impact is desired.
Scott_SI believe a record is a record. A team ran an incredible time and their accomplishment should be appreciated. One day the record will be broken and that does not discount the fact that the team who held it previously didn't run a great time. As the sport evolves, new records will be held based upon the sport at that time. I don't think I'm in favor of qualifying a record, that team's accomplishments speak for themselves. We shouldn't discount them because they played within the rules at the time
Zachary_ChernikBut what about records before EJS and with EJS, the boxes have changed over the year too. A record is a record unless we want to track every change in the rules for that period of time.
Chris.VWActually, I don't believe that a device change would necessarily "change" the jump heights. I would favor initiating a study around that issue and see if we could develop a method that would closely keep NAFA's current standards no matter which method was used. ....but, yes, jump heights would probably change for some dogs.
Dave_Collettshould there be a note or something for a vet that receives their Onyx or other title after becoming a vet. Should the title be different than one earned when running regular since the jump heights are different and there are different rules. If we change the rules there are different meanings.
Alisa_-_Heat_WaveMarge, if you are asking that if the jump heights change across the board, then yes, I think we should somehow show the difference. If the method of measuring changes and the jump heights don't change, then there would not need to be a change notation.
Chris.VWEJS's didn't change the game the way a change in measuring device would.
Scott_SDave, the only problem that I see is that a vet could run with a vets team today and next week be forced into action with a regular team. How do you differentiate between a dog who flip flops between classes?
Alisa_-_Heat_Wave...and Dave should know this one because he has a height dog who does that on his current team. <just needling you, Dave>
Scott_STrue Chris, but changing from the old flyball box to the wedge shape did and we don't qualify records based upon the box run upon.
Dave_CollettWhich is what happens if there is an asterisk by a record. A record is a record. There should be an asterisk for all or none.
Chris.VWI agree Scott.....but, the wedge shaped box did not change a rule. It only changed a piece of equipment within the existing rules of that era.
moderatorNext question: Rhianna.SK: I would like to know what does everyone see as the biggest topic of discussion in their region or what is their agenda?
DaleSmithI don't look at it as "my region" when I think about it from a Board standpoint. But I'd like to do something about measuring. For some, measuring is no big deal, but for some it is a source of turmoil and drama in NAFA flyball. I'd like to reduce that - I don't know the answer yet - but its what I'd most like to impact. Its the issue I hear about most from all over NAFA - in one form or another.
Chris.VWI don't completely understand the question. Are you asking us what is the biggest area of concern within our home regions?
Alisa_-_Heat_WaveHow to grow flyball is a big one in region 6. We tend to have tournaments with very few clubs/teams. The distances between significant cities in Utah, Nevada and Arizona make it very difficult to recruit new people who are willing to travel at least 3-4 hours for a tournament (and often more like 6 or 7 hours).
Scott_SHonestly, my region runs very smoothly and are generally happy with NAFA. So I don't come with a regional agenda (which I don't think a board member should have anyway, we represent every region, not just our own). Personally, I would like to see the board work on expanding flyball in undeveloped regions and work towards ensuring that there is consistency in the game across regions.
Rhianna.SKi am wondering what your agenda is...what is the bug people are putting in your ear..everyone has a mission.
Alisa_-_Heat_WaveHmmm, can't say there is any one thing that people talk to me about. Generally out here, what's being talked about in flyball generally, is what people talk about.
moderatorI'm closing the question queue at this time with two left in the queue
Chris.VWI have no "agenda". I love flyball. I love NAFA and I just want to make things better. Maybe I'm naive but, I think we need to think more along the lines of possible things instead of getting bogged down into who did what to whom, etc. This is a sport that I do to have fun with my dogs and sometimes.....I'm having more fun in life than people who don't play flyball. They don't know what they're missing
Rhianna.SKChris, so you are just there to kinda take on what you are told?
Zachary_ChernikI too think that it is not just a regional question but NAFA question. I think NAFA needs to do more surveys to understand who we are based on demographic data so that we can make a good analysis of how to go forward in the future based on solid input for all of us that run flyball.
Rhianna.SKBut your Region is what you are familiar with.... I am just wondering how in line those concerns are with my regions concerns is all. I understand that it extends to all of NAFA I really do.. I was just curious. Thanks for the answers.
Chris.VWI would take on whatever is on the Board agenda. Make no mistake, I'm serious about serving the flyball public. I sat through the Entire Board meeting held in Detroit. 16 hours worth. I could leave at any time but, I have presented myself to the flyball public as a candidate and I'm dedicated to that service.
Scott_SRhianna, I believe that coming in with an agenda to 'fix' flyball is a mistake. Our beliefs our based upon what we know. I travel a lot, so yes, I know a lot of regions, but I would never be so pompous as saying I understand all the issues of every region. Part of tonight's process, as well as regions sharing their concerns and issues allows the board to better understand everyone and make decisions that are beneficial to flyball. Communication is important, but it is a two way street and the board needs your input
moderatorNext question: Peteness: And now for something different. How do the candidates feel about increasing the minimum runback by, oh, say 50% to 44 feet with a grandfather clause for the 2 sites (as far as I know) still running under 44 feet. I see this as a practical issue on starts, a safety issue on runbacks.
Alisa_-_Heat_WavePete, personally I would support that wholeheartedly - however, I understand that in some regions, finding places to host with that much runback may be a problem? Here where we race outside, we rarely have less than 70 official feet of runback and usually at least 100 that is available.
DaleSmithI think this would be worthwhile looking at. I would want to research current and potential sites. My biggest concern would be eliminating tournament sites which are really hard to come by in some geographies. Have you thought about proposing it to the Board?
Chris.VWThat would depend on input from the public. Is this an issue in many places? ...or, is this more of an issue in your local Region, Pete?
PeteNessIt isn't an issue here anymore since 2 short sites are no longer available, but Saskatchewan still has 2 40 foot runback sites
Zachary_ChernikI would agree with Dales comments about eliminating areas that have few sites because of run back.
Scott_SAs many of my friends will tell you, I'm very opinionated. But honestly, I have no opinion on this. I remember the old days when we started at 30 feet and a building of 35 feet was considered long. My team refuses to run in buildings with less than 55 feet, but that is a personal choice. If people want to change the minimum, I'm good with that
PeteNessGood sites are easy in the summer, with hockey arenas and curling rinks. winter can be tough
Rhianna.SKSask has 7 months of lots of sites have ice! ;)
moderatorLsorensen: My question to the candidates is, when a vote goes to the delegates such as the pick up rule, the board came up with the Open Class in my opinion didn't answer the yes vote of the delegates. How do the nominees feel this vote was handled? Did you feel the Open Class answered the vote? As a competitor I was hoping the pick up rule would allow teams to run against regular classes just not be able to earn regional point. Instead it becomes a class which most clubs will not even offer multi now, but will offer open to run against veterans which isn't fair to the dogs or competitors.
DaleSmithWhile I don't think we got an ideal rule, we got a rule the whole Board could agree on. It was a compromise between different lines of thought on the Board. I don't think its everything the delegates wanted but that's my opinion. We'll use this year to gain some experience and make it better for the coming year - if that's what people still want.
Scott_SLsorensen, I fully comprehend your confusion regarding the delegate vote. Part of the issue is in regards to what the question is. The pick up team vote did not give the board direction short of would you like to see some type of pick up team rules instituted. As a board member, I can honestly say that beyond the vote, no members emailed up regarding what they would like to see instituted. The vote is only the first piece, after receiving an answer from the delegates, the board needs input regarding exactly what directions the delegates would like the board to go in.
Chris.VWThe vote was a "survey" and didn't have the same restrictions that a formal ballot would under our by-laws. Do I wish that the Bod would have included more details in the survey? Sure I do. ....but, as I read the minutes of some earlier meetings, there were some Directors who wanted to adopt pick up teams minus the input from the delegates. I support the sunset provision in this and there will probably be some changes made as a result of feedback from the public
Alisa_-_Heat_WaveThis is likely why this class is being tested for a year. This will allow delegates to give more input about the class and how they would like to see it handled.
Zachary_ChernikI personally think that the Bod should have come up with ideas that they were thinking and then put it out to the delegates to get their input after the yes/no voting. This would of delayed the use during the currently race season but I believe that it would of been more fitting with what I have heard from other clubs. I think that NAFA needs a faster way or system to get input from the flyball community.
barbaraIf I may.... I had the same feelings. however, Reg 11's first tourney of 2008 *might* have a full *division* of Open teams, instead of just one or two. If most regions experience a number of Open teams competing they may find they like the freedom it gives the exhibitors... earn points and try new combinations. It may result in new clubs or teams forming.
DaleSmithBeing one of the Directors that wanted to institute pickup teams before the delegate vote. I'd like to say that I felt I'd heard enough "input" from delegates to know that it was desired without needing the formal delegate survey that went out. I was doing it because I felt the delegates wanted it - not because I wanted it or wanted to do it without asking the delegates.
LSorensenWhy wasn't the proposed rule sent out? If you are representing my interests the Bod need to present those questions not just a yes no question. Exactly as Zac put it.
Chris.VWActually, I favor change the s-l-o-w way. It takes time to fully develop ideas and to institute change. Don't want to get run over or ignored by somebody else's "good idea".
Zachary_ChernikI disagree with taking the s-l-o-w route....a good thought process and analysis can be done in a short period of time.....i would hate for NAFA to be like some of the American businesses that are slow to change only to be looking at the competition flying past us and wonder....what happened!
DaleSmithWhile I think we need to be careful with change, we also have to watch out for the frustration we get from our participants when it takes us years to make changes. Its a careful balance between responsiveness to our competitors and responsibility to our sport.
Scott_SAt the time for the delegate vote, there was conflicting information concerning whether pick-up teams were wanted. Some regions were in favor, others were not. The first and most important questions was whether we should continue along this line of thought or not. The secondary issue was how to constitute this, a number of different options were proposed to the board. Given that a 2/3 vote is required to adopt a rule change, if numerous different proposals were given to the delegates, the odds of 2/3 all voting for a similar one were statistically small. Yes/no votes give a better idea of what people think, but not how to institute it
Chris.VWNAFA has a bright future Zac. One of the Most important tenets of business is Do not leave your "base" behind.
Alisa_-_Heat_WaveThis year is a time for the delegates to send lots of input to the Board on this new class. The futurity sunsetted this year because of lack of input. It was used quite a bit out here but apparently not in other regions. The Board needs to hear your input on things before they make decisions so they know what the delegates are thinking.
Scott_SInteresting thought Zack, but how do you propose to obtain information in a quick and accurate manner. Companies do not require input from their shareholders. We specifically ask for it. Asking for advice requires a timeframe for constituents to respond.
Alisa_-_Heat_WaveWhat I will be interested to see is if this new class dilutes the "team" atmosphere of NAFA flyball which would be a shame.
DaleSmithMany of us will be watching that Alisa.
Zachary_ChernikWe are currently using technology to communicate across North America tonight. We can use technology such as a structure survey that changes as you answer questions. This will gather data much faster than sending out mail and waiting to get answers back.
Alisa_-_Heat_WaveAnd can't those type of things be slanted by whomever is running them, Zac?
Zachary_ChernikIt would be the Bod
Chris.VWGathering data is only one portion of implementing change. What about answering the skeptics? You have to bring the doubters to the table, too. Everybody is a shareholder in Nafa.
Scott_SAre you in favor of only allowing input from those individuals who are online? While I admit that 90% of the world has computer access, does providing input to the sport require a computer and email? That has been one of the questions the board has often discussed
Dave_CollettThat works OK Zac, if all the participants have access. The most I have seen on this chat is 35. What do you do to get info from all the participants
Alisa_-_Heat_WaveSometimes those who are most vocal are not necessarily in the majority. If someone without access finds out too late to vote, they did not get heard. Everyone needs to be heard whether they hold one vote or eight.
Zachary_ChernikThat is something that we need to ask everyone that runs flyball.....if we don't ask, we will and can only assume. Right now look at the percentage of returns, some regions are great at returning and some other areas are not. We need to see what can work and how to improve communication. I for one, think that we can make it much better.
moderatorLast question - and perhaps one with simpler answers: Chris_thth: Are you going to Cynosports and have you attended last years events?
Alisa_-_Heat_WaveYes and Yes!
Zachary_ChernikNo and No
Scott_SI will again be there this year. I will be working the tournament - my team will also be sending an entry
DaleSmithYes and Yes - wouldn't miss it. Wish I could convince enough people on my team to make the trip!
Zachary_ChernikIf it was closer to our region then yes.
DaleSmithIts a great atmosphere for flyball - hard to describe until you're there.
LSorensenNot knowing all the people attending and some could be Rd's my question is shouldn't the board use the Rd's more to ask for input from their region, I only recall hearing about it after it was approved from our Rd. Maybe this will help provide the board with more direction if the Rd's are used better. As a candidate wouldn't you want clear direction on the issues?
DaleSmithI'll be judging, taking photos and anything else that needs doing ;-)
Chris.VWI attended last year's Cynosports without my team. My sister and I had a Great time meeting new people from all over who love flyball. We watched some really exciting racing, too. Unfortunately, I'm broke this year and cannot afford to come out to AZ. ....but, my heart is with all who will be there!
Scott_SAs a previous Rd, I can speak to this issue. Sam has done an incredible job regarding communication. Communication never happened prior to Sam. He has a forum for Rd's to bring issues to him and then he brings them to the Board. If issues aren't making it the board, I question whether they have been brought to his attention
Chris_THTHI can second that Scott, because we are in communication with Sam alot.
moderatorOK, closing comments from the candidates?
Alisa_-_Heat_WaveThanks to everyone who sat here since the first, came in later and sent out some really great questions. I hope you got to know me a bit better and I look forward to the next two chats as well. Safe driving to tournaments this weekend, everyone!!
Chris.VWThank you, everyone for attending chat tonight. Your questions have shown just how much you care about our sport and about NAFA. I hope you have learned a little bit about me and that I have earned your support and I am available always at or through my blog, "it's Just an Opinion" at Have a Great evening!
Scott_SI would like to thank everyone for their input. I believe the board has made some incredible strides regarding communication, equality across regions, and flyball growth. As with everything, there is lots more to do. My hope is that regardless of who is elected to the board, they continue to work towards expanding our sport and making it everything it should be.
DaleSmithI want to thank everyone for coming out tonight and especially those that made it the whole 3+ hours. Its great hearing all the questions and having yet another source to hear what's on people's minds. Always open to chat with folks about flyball issues - email is best. G'nite all.
Zachary_ChernikThanks everyone for your input and taking part in this chat. You can e-mail directly at to discuss any topic....thanks

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