North American Flyball Association

dgsmithOK, I think we're going to go ahead and get started. We have Sam Ford - our Executive Director and Lee Heighton - our chairman of the Board. We have a couple other Board members and others may wander in over time.
BCSamThanks. I believe nomination for Hall of Fame and Regional MVP went live on the web site. So now if anyone would like to place a name into the hat for consideration it can be accomplished online.
dgsmithWe also need to announce that due to a number of conflicts for Board members, the planned Memorial Day Weekend Board meeting is being rescheduled. No new date has been settled on as yet. Seems we're a rough bunch to schedule.
dgsmithOur first question for the evening comes from Mary
dgsmithMaryEcho> Is there any talk at the board of trying to get 2 regional directors for region 2. It is a huge region and also with tournaments on every weekend, it is extremely hard for rd's not to be overworked.
BCSamThat suggestion has been made and is under consideration. But no decision has been made to that effect yet.
MaryEchoAny time lines for a decision?
BCSamWe would try and get the decision to the BOD and approved so that October of this year it would go into effect.
MaryEchoAny alternatives to lessen the problem for this racing year?
Glenn_SRCAby thought of trying the two person RD while we are in the midst of 30 weekends in 40 of racing?
BCSamI have asked RDs for comments from each region already and they have made several interesting suggestion that will come before the BOD.
BCSamThere is no problem to appointing an Acting RD to aide in the mean time.
dgsmithMoving to the next question - a followup from last chat
dgsmithZac_BorderingOnInsanity> Last Chat we discussed recording injuries per the Clean Run Mag.
BCSamSo far no injury reports have come my way. So I don't have much to report on that issue
dgsmithZac - want to elaborate for those who weren't here last time?
Zac_BorderingOnInsanityIn clean run mag, they are charting into a database injuries for both the dog and the handler so that a better understanding of the sport can be made. I suggested last Leadership Chat that we start to gather info regarding our sport and how to improve the safety for us and our dogs
Zac_BorderingOnInsanityIf I provide the data form, can we post on the web site?
BCSamSure I would love to look at it with the idea of posting it.
Julie_FurFuni think thats a great idea. just dog injuries, or human too?
Zac_BorderingOnInsanityall injuries...from tournaments to practice
Lee_HeightonDo we run into any insurance concerns if human injuries are documented
Zac_BorderingOnInsanityIf we do not document I think it would be worse
Lee_HeightonThe only concern would be an easily accessible database for an insurance company to gather information and increase rates and/or deny policies. I just wouldn't want to do their job for them
Zac_BorderingOnInsanityby providing documentation, this could help if a lawsuit was to be filed....any personal injury lawyers On-Line tonight.
Lee_HeightonI agree with the concept, but want to make sure we don't create a bigger problem for our Clubs
Zac_BorderingOnInsanityI understand your concern
BCSamI think we will need to run it by a legal review before we absolutely commit to the idea. I think the idea has merit but we do need to proceed carefully for the good of all clubs
dgsmithWe wouldn't have to make the info publicly viewable. We could allow people to contribute without publishing all the info
gryph_mach4As a lawyer, I'd say it could go the other way. I doubt we have as many injuries as softball or many other sports
Lee_HeightonZac, you could still submit the form for review and we will check into any legal issues. Dale, freedom of information acts will make it easily accessible
Zac_BorderingOnInsanitythat data will be owned by NAFA. I will forward the forms
Lee_Heightongryph, what do you mean by the other way. Easier to obtain policies
gryph_mach4less injuries than the average sport, so lower premiums
dgsmithGood discussion but we're going to consider this one and see what we can do without any legal entanglements. I think Sam took the todo if Zac sends him the info.
BCSamI did
dgsmithNext question relates to our website from Chris
dgsmithChris_wooferines> Great Job on the layout & content of the new website! Will there be an FAQ page added? or possibly a "Quick tips for getting started in flyball for new people?" An informational page geared for new people to give them a direction?
BCSamLisa is on and maybe she could respond
lisaphey chris -- sam, dale & i have been batting ideas around about this very thing.
lisapa "how to" section
lisapwe will need help from others to write stuff (or edit it)
lisapthe JRTCA has a nice section on their site about how to attend a terrier trial (if you are a newbie)
lisapwe could do something like that
Chris_wooferinesIt could simple. Seems Dale would know what people ask our organization about getting started since he reads and sorts the "mail"?
gryph_mach4What about a "forums" section like the old site?
lisapwe talked about that too (really i swear) -- dale & i have been batting the idea around of a competitor's only section
lisapwith forums and stuff not necessarily for the general public (elections info etc)
lisapwant to volunteer to help? :)
lisapsince nobody else is talking, i'll keep talking
lisapwe could use article-type content
lisaplike what appeared in older issues of NAFA news, with how-tos about lane setup, lights, etc. etc.
MargeFlyingColorsLisa, I can help
lisapgreat! we could use some good training tips too
lisapall kinds of stuff really
lisapsend your ideas to the NAFA email address ( and it will reach several of us
MargeFlyingColorsOK, I'll email you later
dgsmithGreat discussion folks. Perhaps one of the first areas we need is a place for people to make suggestions for the website where others can see and build on the ideas or volunteer to help ;-)
dgsmithMoving on to our next topic.
dgsmithTwo questions related to the recently passed jump height proposals
dgsmithchris_THTH> Now that the jump heights have been approved to be changed. I have had a lot of questions as to how measuring is going to be done, the same as in the past or a different way to measure?
dgsmithDana_RUFF> For the new lower jump heights in October, is the rule change going to be to make the baseboards a max of 6 inches & still keeping a 1 inch slat for the 7 inch jumps?
Lee_HeightonDana's first, yes the base boards will need to be 6 inches
BCSamThe baseboard will be changed from 7 to 6 with a 1 inch board on the top.
BCSamThe act of measuring has not been addressed or changed.
Lee_HeightonThe change in jump heights has nothing to do with the method of measuring. It was a chance to have the delegates decide on new minimum and maximum heights. The new minimum height will really only effect height dogs that measure less than 12" at the withers. The new maximum height will benefit clubs that don't have height dogs, a common issue for new clubs
Julie_FurFunit will also effect clubs who choose not to use a height dog because its faster
Lee_HeightonJulie, that is also correct
dgsmithchris_THTH> To the first question, will new height cards be issued, with them going down to 6 or 7 inches?
Lee_HeightonChris, we are already discussing how the height cards will be affected. I am not sure where the 6" inch portion figures in, but we will be addressing the question of 7" height cards. And also, addressing the dogs that currently hold 8" height cards
Paul_FerlittoWhat do you think about the idea of subtracting 5 inches rather than the current 4 inches. With this, it would affect all dogs across the board?
Lee_HeightonAny decision like this will have to be approved by the delegates. I personally believe that it changes the entire "concept" of our sport.
Julie_FurFuni agree. i would vote against it
chris_THTHI think it would promote our sport more for height dogs.
BCSamIt certainly could be a ballot issue if presented to the BOD and then to the delegates.
Julie_FurFuni think it would do the opposite. make height dogs less valuable
Lee_HeightonChris, that confuses me. How does lowering the height for every dog promote height dogs, more than what we have now. I would think that it would diminish their importance
Paul_FerlittoThe new change only affects dogs that did not even measure for the 8 inch jumps and helped teams without a height dog. I agree and am happy both passed. I don't see how it will change the entire "concept" of our sports. It seems it would be better for all dogs
chris_THTHHi Lee, we run a lot of height dog's and some that are under the 12 inches are having to jump 8 inches, which is too much on their body structure. I already had to retire one dog, due to this.
Julie_FurFunletting bigger dogs jump lower decreases the value of smaller dogs.
Lee_HeightonDoesn't the new minimum height address that exact problem. Dogs under 12" will be able to jump 7" instead of 8". That change is a pretty large percentage of their height
Chris_wooferinesPaul, in any event, changing the jump heights from 4" to 5" changes the game for every dog and therefore is certainly a "delegate issue" don't you agree?
ScottNETI see how it would "benefit" all dogs (i.e. they jump lower), but wouldn't it remove the importance of the smaller dogs who might be slower. Teams could use bigger (faster) dogs as height dogs and the slower smaller dogs would be less important
Julie_FurFunlee is right. lowering the minimum ought to help that problem chris. and also, not every dog is designed to be a career flyball dog.......if jumping 7 inches is too hard on a dog, they should be run sparingly, IMO
chris_THTHChris, I would like to see it happen and I guess it's according to what your teams are into, we run mini teams, height dog's only, for the love of the sport and then fun.... Are they the fastest NO, but they enjoy it just as much
Lee_HeightonChris, I would really appreciate if you let me know how the new minimum jump height affects your smaller dogs when it is implemented in October.
chris_THTHI will lee
dgsmithNext question comes from Julie
dgsmithJulie_FurFun> with the new form that requires CRNs for all dogs being measured, is there any consideration of issuing 'ID cards' to dogs who receive CRNs, just with name, breed and number? Or maybe it could be purchased separately, since not everyone will need/want one
Somehow this question got lost in the previous discussion and was never addressed during the chat. I'll add a few comments. This proposal could certainly be brought to the Board for consideration. I've seen some teams produce similar items using the current Team Dog Listing, reduced on a copier or printer and laminated. Also, I believe NAFA still mails postcards to confirm CRNs when they are issued.
dgsmithThe next question is a long one and I likely get to respond first - so patience for a moment
dgsmithZac_BorderingOnInsanity> In reviewing the filings of the 990 tax returns by NAFA for years 2003 and 2004. There is a question about the income that is produced by NAFA regarding tournament entries. Year 2003 showed $107,632 filed but counting all the teams that ran in 2003 based on the tournament database from the website, the total income should have been $159,739. In 2004 the 990 file was $106,974 but again counting all the teams the total should have been $178,364. This is based on using the $20 per team charge (no manual tournament entry charges were added). Based on the number of increased events from 278 to 305 and the average number of teams per event from 28.73 to 29.24 the total filed for tournament income dropped in 2004 vs. 2003
dgsmithZac_BorderingOnInsanity> Why the difference between the years and the large difference from filed vs. actual (database team count per event for that year)?
dgsmithOur income for tournaments only includes money actually received by NAFA. This does not include shipping costs, rental of other teams EJS systems and other (rare) deductions.
dgsmithWe have put a great deal of focus on our EJS systems with the acquisition of the new SG systems. And have spent a fair amount of time figuring out how many we need to effectively support our events.
dgsmithShipping has been a large cost for us - with few working EJS systems (prior to SG), there was a lot of shipping and much of that was air shipping. So Shipping was a big expense and several focused efforts are currently underway to address that. Some shipping we pay out of our pocket and some is deducted from fees.
Zac_BorderingOnInsanitywhat is rare deductions?
ScottNETA rare deduction is something like reimbursement for travel to pick up an EJS when the one that arrived was not working, etc
Zac_BorderingOnInsanityOn the 990's there is a line item that states shipping. So based on this discussion, shipping charges are deleted from tournament entry fees to NAFA
Zac_BorderingOnInsanityso based on the charges, then NAFA is spending about 50-60k per year shipping EJS around the US and CA.
dgsmithWe know shipping is a problem and we're making concrete progress in addressing it
Zac_BorderingOnInsanitythat is A LOT of money on shipping per year
dgsmithYup - money we'd rather be spending on other stuff!
ScottNETcorrect, a single EJS cost almost $300 to ship to a tournament
dgsmithOr more when people shipped late and air was involved.
dgsmithYou've also seen the imposition of penalties recently for tournaments that don't ship promptly as that was contributing significantly to the problem.
Lee_HeightonThat is one of the main reasons we have been spending so much on additional EJS.
Zac_BorderingOnInsanitybased on what type of shipping?
BCSamBasic shipping is ground UPS but that is only possible when we have the time between tournaments.
Julie_FurFunhaving more sets in circulation will lower the shipping costs won't it?
Zac_BorderingOnInsanitySo...based on the schedule of known tournaments....all the EJS are being used the weekend before the next tournament?
BCSamZac that has been the case in the past. We are moving away from that happening as we increase the number of working sets.
dgsmithThey were prior to the new EJS systems coming into circulation. You also have to remember how many were "working" at a time and border crossings are an issue.
Zac_BorderingOnInsanityUPS ground should be in the $100-$150 range with 4-5 days to arrive.
BCSamShould be and guaranteed is different. UPS will not guarantee delivery in 4 or 5 days.
Julie_FurFunare there going to be 'regional' EJS sets, that would allow clubs to transport them to tournaments and decrease shipping costs
dgsmithWe are doing a number of things to minimize shipping. Lets stay away from words like "regional" or "parking".
ScottNETPlease remember that during the 'busy' season a majority of our EJS systems were shipped second day air. with the addition of systems that should be reduced
dgsmithWe are being smarter about looking ahead and what's needed when and where and planning our shipments (or not shipping if we can afford to leave a set in a city for the next event). We also have a lot more systems to work with now.
Zac_BorderingOnInsanityWill NAFA be using a software program?
ScottNETsoftware for what? planning shipping? better schedule EJS throughout the regions....also, what impact if a EJS system goes down.
dgsmithYes, we have some SW that is assisting us in the optimization effort.
dgsmithIt does not currently proactively consider a down system but can replan if one goes out of circulation.
Zac_BorderingOnInsanitySo the large investment of the new EJS will help reduce the large $$$ in shipping in the long run.
ScottNETZac, I think its important to state that your concerns are extremely valid. The BOD has discussed this issue numerous times. The very simple concept was that we didn't have enough systems to reduce the use of air shipping. Hopefully, that will change
ScottNETThat is our hope. But shipping was not our primary concern in ordering these systems. We were looking at having a reliable state of the art system. Our older systems were going down way too often
Zac_BorderingOnInsanityWith all the shipping of the New Systems from event to event. What checks and balances are there to insure the system is working before the next event? I've see some parts that have taken a beating.
barbaraFAXZac, have you seen them yet ??
Zac_BorderingOnInsanityThe new systems....yes....I worked with Dale at a RUFF tournament in CO recording with cameras some of the software issues.
ScottNETsounds like you are discussing when we were doing our testing. Since then the software issues have been taken care of. That was before they were in 'production'
BCSamThere is communication between EJS coordinator and tournament director. If there is a problem the TD should be immediately in contact with the coordinator so that the problem set is sent for repairs and not forwarded on to the next tournament.
Julie_FurFunat the last tourney we were at, the timing of the lights was off......the yellow to green sequence was on a 1.4 delay, and it took a while to catch. other than that, i love the new systems. to run with and to operate
dgsmithActually, it was on a 1.0 delay. The normal is 1.2. Our manufacturer errantly shipped a system set wrong from the factory and that was its first use. Nice catch though and glad we were able to get it fixed during the event.
Julie_FurFunoh, right, my bad. i just knew it was off - not so hot at remembering numbers:)
Zac_BorderingOnInsanitybroken parts....from the battery holder to the green plastic tube holder.
dgsmithI'd be interested in a private note on any breakage patterns that are being seen. I know about the green things. Battery holders would be new news. Any other breakage patterns on the new SG lights would also be of interest. A note to would be great!
dgsmithJust a quick commercial message on the green things. Please, folks, treat them with care. They need to be removed before the poles are removed from the bases and when they are put on - they need to go where the grooves are in the poles.
IndyIt's taken a while for me to get used to them while judging (and racing), but I find that they slow down tournaments. More flags - especially earlies. We used to average at least 9 an hour and now it's more like just over 7 an hour.
ScottNETIndy, I agree. When I first started, I had trouble keeping pace. Since then, I've found a number of ways to increase the pace and have been able to get back to my original per race average
Zac_BorderingOnInsanityWill the lights ever go to 1 second? Places like Davisburg with only 58 feet of run back is tough. If you go on the 3rd yellow your starting at about 20 feet.
Zac_BorderingOnInsanityor trying to guess the start between 2nd and 3rd yellow.
dgsmithYou are also likely to see a change in tie criteria proposed at the next BoD meeting since the new EJS is more capable of discerning a winner in a close finish due to its increased accuracy and decreased beam spacing.
Zac_BorderingOnInsanityIs there a check list that the RD and TD sign off when shipping the EJS to the next event?
IndyActually, it might be nice to have the RD's inspect the containers prior to shipping. Make it part of their duties!
dgsmithWe're working on the EJS evaluation forms along with a few other things. I think that will help address what you're talking about. This will document arrival and departure condition and note any problems so we can deal with them proactively.
dgsmithProbably not the RD though - more likely the TD or someone associated with the hosting Club.
BCSamBefore we have people going off may I hear any comments about the Junior Handler pins and how you view their reception
Julie_FurFunlove them. the kids love them too
chris_THTHThe handlers loved them at the first tourney in April in Perry.
IndyI think only one handler has received a pin here.
Lee_HeightonIndy, maybe you could suggest qualified Junior's to your RD over the next couple of tournaments
IndyI think there are only a couple of juniors that actually run. I can only think of approx 3. One pin was given. Now that that first pin was given out, I'm sure that the others will get theirs. or want theirs... :)
BCSamThanks everyone for attending. There are many issues on the table right now. Careful structuring of light shipping. The implementation of the delegate votes. The refinement of the Web site. Regional changes. Rule changes. All important all being worked on in the near future. Thanks again for you input.
Lee_HeightonI have to leave now as dinner is long past cold. Thank you to everyone for attending and please feel free to contact me at any time with suggestions.
kris_pickeringThanks, all.
dgsmithThank you all for joining this evening. Transcript on the website when I get a few minutes to sort out some of the threads.

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