26 June 2009

Where we interview someone new, because basically, I am super nosy, and this person will be Katie Trachte.

We're all so over Team Small Dog. Didn't win the lottery, blah blah blah Teeter Totter, took a hike. Let's face it. Bo-Ring. So I started my new hobby of investigative journalism with a series of interviews of people I know on the internet who were weirdly game to answer my slew of questions.

I'm about as good at investigative journalism as I am at succulent farming, but coming up is the first of my series of interviews with people who met my highly selective and stringent criteria of:
1.) Had a bunch of dogs
2.) Didn't say no to my interview request

All right. I bet a lot of you know Katie and Jeep. They have been on the AKC World Team, they have some MACH's, and they also have a whole bunch of USDAA accomplishments. And then there's her border collie, Tag. And of course Taco. Shivery chihuahua who owns a lot of tiny little dog jackets. Who is sort of like the HyCaliber cheerleader. Like does agility in a pinch but not gonna make a career of it. And that's just the start of them. I met Katie at the USDAA Southwest Regionals last year. She brought Jeep on the airplane in a sherpa bag. And got super sun burned.

Then all of a sudden, Katie has her own giant agility park! Actually probably not all of a sudden but in my universe of time and space and how often I visit the Facebook, let's just say all of a sudden. And because I'm super jealous, and also super nosy, I'm all over it like my mayhem of small dogs on a 6pack of carnitas tacos. I'm thinking, who wants to read about boring old Team Small Dog when you can learn here about having your own 290 acre park?

All right, Katie. One day I go on the Facebook and here are all these pictures of Katie and her gigantic, 290 acre park in Vermont with this very Susan Garrett/Greg Derrett layout of agility stuff spread out over the perfectly mowed 2 acre grass field. And so right away, of course I'm like, HATE HER. But then I remembered, oh yeah, there is snow and so forth there so I totally take back the hating part. But then like 5 Facebook seconds later, it's like, this is AgilityVision too, which I thought was Eric Larson who videos us out here in California, not on a giant 290 acre park in Vermont, so I'm like completely confused and I am going right to the source here, which is you. And you are a good emailer. You are young and equipped with Blackberry texting abilities. So what gives with this whole Vermont Agility Park thing which is also your house?

We're pretty low drama here. Yep, Eric Larson is totally a Vermonter now, and I'll leave it at that! I'm formally from Connecticut and got a chance to snatch this place up, and I TOTALLY grabbed at it. We do have crap weather here, about 4 months of the year, but we're making the most of the good weather while we DO have it! The Vermont Agility Park is the new AgilityVision home... we have classes/seminars and more planned here for the summer. So much that I'm having trouble finding days for all the cool stuff going on. Think LIVE seminars!! Total of 6 dogs here at the Vermont Agility Park but they have plenty to do. Taco takes pride in being the cheerleader and home security system.

Wow! This is very cool. Well, maybe except the part where Eric Larson, who was our favorite person to take videos of us at dog shows, moves far away and becomes a Vermonter. It just took me sort of a while to even find Vermont on the map. It is very, very far away from California. So what's on the rest of your acres? Did you have to do a lot to the house or was it HGTV ready to go? And all wired?

Mountain on one side, river on the other! My dad and uncle were logging on my mountain, so there are a bunch of logging trails which are now excellent hiking trails. Complete with real dear and fisher cats! This was my old grandmothers house... it was so not HGTV ready but has now turned into super 21st century hi-tech!

Are you in a town or is this in the middle of the forest somewhere, in this far off land of Vermont?

I am pretty much in the middle of no where. Of course I came from the city, so not having a Wal-Mart or CVS within a mile is out in the middle of nowhere. We have 2 major grocery stores within 25 minutes and we're adjusting. We plan Trader Joe's bulk visits around the trials and seminars we have to travel too. So far the beer has been well stocked and no one has starved to death.

So when you have, like a giant park, can you just leave it and go gallavanting off to agility trials? Can you tell I am kind of just completely freaking out here about your 290 acres? Who is going to water all the trees? Taco won't get lost will he?

Yes! I usually bring all my dogs. If not my agility friend Kathryn at Great Fields Kennel takes the rest of the crew. Taco is master of the patio. Even when we're at the river he hauls his ass back up and guards the house. He can't be part of that lame-o dog swimming.

And then what do you do in the winter time? I get this feeling that Vermont is very, very cold and snowy all winter long. So do you just shut agility down during the snow? Your interviewer here, native Californian. Lived once in Arizona for a few months. Generally must live within 5 blocks of the beach. I know it's summer now, and we're supposed to live in the moment and all that, but what are you going to do all winter?

Winter sucks. We drive 45 mins to an hour to visit our 2 favorite indoor agility places. Both you have to rent for $20+ an hour. We'll be looking into our own this winter for sure. Or we'll go all Steve from New Mexico and install some field turf on the lawn to shovel off. The cold doesn't hurt as bad after a while....We just have to drive. We do loads of indoor skills like contact board brush ups and Susan Garret type games while it's cold out. We do loads of hiking in the snow. It's a really good workout!

Katie, you are younger than a lot of agility ladies I know. I'm not sure how old you are, but you know how to do the Blackberry and I think you were recently in college. How long have you been doing agility?

You get 2 points for that!
(*TSD thinks maybe this is not so good, if 2 points based on a 10 point system.*) About 15 years now. Yea, like when there were Crossovers in agility and dogs had to jump 30". (*Yikes. 15 years ago, I was mourning the death of Kurt Cobain and living in a dirty warehouse, trying to build robots*) Oh, and I remember being in the car. A lot. 5 or 6 sometimes 7 hours in the car every single weekend to get to a trial. (*TSD does some googling and realizes Katie's mom is in the agility universe and they were perhaps a famous agility family and these are things next time we do an interview with someone we will investigate first.*)

And how did you go from college student to AKC World Team member to owner of an agility park that is also going to be the new cutting edge live streaming video of all things agility and I don't even know what? This seems pretty ambitious. I just rode horses all day and holed up in my ratty old painting studio all night when I got out of college. I don't think I even talked to others. You are like a lady with a plan.

It sort of went AKC World Team member to college then to agility dream park, but those are just details.
(* Oops again.*) I went to school to become a Graphic Designer. So that's mainly what I do here, design and marketing. I'm not sure if it's ambition, when you have a job you love it doesn't feel like work. The goal behind this idea was to provide people with the opportunity to see some great seminars right from home. We have some really great events planned that I can't talk about yet, but I'm really excited!

This sounds very high tech and secret squirrel. I'm sure you'll keep us posted here. Uh, not to change the subject, but can you offer any fashion tips to us over here on the left coast? What are they sporting for nice dog agility fashion wear these days out there in the fashion forward east? That's very close to Stacey and Clinton out there. So I am thinking you guys are pretty much on the ball with your outfits?

Fashion on the East Coast. The trick is to wear as many layers as possible while trying not to look like the Michelin Man. We're all about water proof everything out here. Waterproof shoes, shirts, jackets, hats, socks you name it. Some people go all out and purchase the matching sets. I've sort of given up on that and get rain gear on clearance from LLBean or Orvis every few months.

Right! The LLBean! We get their catalogs and they make me think whistfully about canoeing and roaring. Thanks Katie. Someday we hope to get out there and visit you. So are you going to be there forever?

Vermont is really, really pretty. It would be my forever place if I had a spot to train in during the winter. Right now I don't and that's a problem. For right now it's home. Wherever my dogs and I can be that we're happy we'll call home.

So there you go. Go and visit AgilityVision-there are all kinds of new DVD's and seminars and live streaming video this and that. Wave of the future over there, coming from the agility park in Vermont. Thanks Katie!


Amy Carlson said...

I'm in Maine and they are still like a whole day's travel to Vermont! Sigh.......she has some of my VERY favorite people booked already.....Lo Baker. Amanda Shyne. The BEST!!!

***YIKES, my word is "ROTSUCKB"

What's up with THAT????

Anonymous said...

Good interview, Team Small Dog. I thought you showed great restraint in not asking whether the emerging Agility Dynasty in Vermont will fly you out to report on the super secret but extremely important agility events that will be happening there soon.

team small dog said...

Well, they do live streaming video of their events so they don't even need a reporter! Smart!

Katie said we could come and visit, but no one's photography budget can afford the cost of sending all of Team Small Dog farther than like, Turlock.

Elf said...

Good investigative reporting. I'll admit to having been confused about KT being on the west coast...but wait, not?... and not seeing AL at trials recently. I am now so informed!

vici whisner said...

Great interview Team Small Dog. Exciting things happening!

Alaska said...


OBay Shelties said...

So very professional of you! I am impressed. I think Katie is very clever as she knows shelties are the best! :-)

Katie Trachte said...

Thanks for the comments everyone! We're really luck to have Laura and the Team Small Dog Blog!!

PS - I've tried to get Laura to come out here and stay! Once the LA Times hires her I'm sure they will pay to fly her out :)