2019 has gone by so fast! So much has happened it doesn't seem possible that it could have all happened in a year.
When January began I had yet to even begin work on the track. My pond was almost twice it's normal size and where the track was supposed to be, half of it was under water. We had a tremendous amount of rain in 2018; starting about a week before Memorial Day and running well into November. My plan was to begin construction on Memorial Day weekend. I never got the chance. Once it started raining, it didn't stop. It wasn't your normal Florida thunderstorms. This rain went on for all day. Day after day of rain. It didn't take long for the pond to swell over its banks and claim parts of the property I didn't want to see go under water!
My frustration was through the ceiling. As a matter-of-fact, that summer was the first time I had a major issue with my blood pressure. I just wanted to scream at the sky every time it rained. It was only after I learned how to accept that there are elements of life that you can't control that my pressure levels came back down. And cinnamon helped also or at least made me think it did.
It even rained more than usual in December so when January rolled in, I was still waiting for the water to recede. It wouldn't be until February that I could move forward. You can believe me when I said I moved forward in an all-out kind of way. While I had the chance I was going to make the most of it. I had a trip to N.C. to rendezvous with some old friends planned for April. The plan was to have it all done by then. With the help of my amazing friend John Porter, who flew down to help prior to our vacation, I managed to have 95 percent of it done by then.
Of course, there was a lot more going on than just the track itself. Infrastructure is a major aspect of building what I was trying to build. Water and electric over long distances and everything it takes to make that happen is incredibly labor intensive. Over the few months it took to do all of it, I got to use machinery that I had never used before. I enjoyed that part of it. I really enjoyed the skid steer!
I was also lucky to have some very helpful neighbors. Gary down the street, the Mayor as we call him, helped in many ways and so did my goat-farming pirate neighbor, Scott. Every time I needed help, they were there with the tools and know-how. Maria and I are lucky to have such good neighbors. Our other neighbor, Tony, actually put on a staff shirt for the August event and helped out wherever needed. If you could factor in neighbors in the price of a house, you'd want these kind of people living next to you. Our house would be worth a million dollars!
Our track was inspected by the AKC's regional Luring Coursing Representative and was given the thumbs up to hold night Fast CAT events. As far as the Rep knew, our's was the first track in her region that had received that authorization. We had the first night event on August 3rd and almost everyone enjoyed the evening. It was fun
But just as quick as things were starting to move, it all came to a screeching stop. Everyone seemed to like what we were trying to do here except for Volusia county. Now that challenge has to be overcome. In three days we meet with the Compliance Board and find out if we can have a dog sports facility on A-1 property. My understanding is we have to get approval from the Planning and Zoning boards and the Compliance board will dictate the permits and inspections necessary. I have confidence that we will ultimately prevail but I have a bit of apprehension regarding what terms they may impose.
There is no quitting in life. I may have learned how to accept things that I can't change but I also know where there is a will, there is a way. Combining those two realities allows you to focus your energy in a positive and productive way. Dog Sports Unlimited is still moving forward, we've just had to take the show on the road. September we set-up for three days of Fast CAT at the Volusia County Fairgrounds in conjunction with the WVKC's Annual Dog Show. We ran well over 300 dogs for the three days and introduced many people to the sport.
The special Howl-o-ween events we had planned on running here at our facility instead were held at the Silver Sands Bridle Club, just seven miles down the road. We had over 80 entries for the two events which I considered a success considering we were competing against a dog show in Ocala.
And we're not done for the year! We've got 4 events to run on the last weekend of December. It'll be the last runs for the year in Florida and I'm hoping to see a big turnout. The WVKC and the OCOD are working together to provide the four events. WVKC had three left for the year and the OCOD was kind enough to sponsor an event for Sunday so there would be two each day. I'm very happy to see two clubs coming together to throw Fast CAT events. It would be great to see more of that.
None of this would be possible without the incredible team of volunteers that we have somehow been blessed with. I'm not going to name them all but they know who they are. It's because of their efforts that we can put on events that consistently get better and better. Together we've been learning the ropes and figuring out how to build a better mouse trap and we'll keep doing that until our events become the standard for how Fast CAT events should be run. I played on a lot of successful sports teams and I know a winning team when I see one. Dog Sports Unlimited has a winning team. Thank you so much for all you do!
So here we are. We're halfway through November. Another year is heading for the history books. Maria and I would like to wish everyone a Happy Holidays! We won't see a lot of you until Thanksgiving and the Christmas/Hanukkah celebrations have come and gone. I look forward to resuming Saturday night Fast CAT Camp when we get to see everyone on a more regular basis - but until that happens, we hope everyone has a happy and healthy holiday season.
We're grateful for the incredible support we've received this year. From the volunteers to the Fast CAT enthusiasts that come out to run their dogs. You've helped to make this a very memorable year.
We hope to see you for our end of year events at the Silver Sands Bridle Club. Let's say good-bye to another year by giving our dogs a few final dashes down the track. I can't think of a better way to finish off the year!