I've done plenty of bragging in the past couple of years regarding the versatility of my mini.  I think we have reached the highest rung of the Mini Poodle versatility ladder this time!

Past brags included CH, CDX, TDX, MXJ, AX, and non standard WETX water rescue, BPJ backpacking, and of course our proud moments in PCA WC/WCX

BUT HOLD YOUR HORSES!!  News flash...  Saturday 4/23/05 in the outback of Gainesville Texas, JIB entered the
tractor pull.

That's what my husband Michael calls it, having seen ads on TV, with loud engine sounds and wheels fifteen feet tall on tractors kicking up tons of mud.  It reminded me more of draft horse competitions I saw in Northern California, with the big horses dancing in their traces getting ready for each Herculean effort.

This UKC event featured American Pit Bulls mostly, but was open to all UKC breeds.  We found the venue to be just about what you would expect.  The crowd was jeans and overalls, hats and belt buckles, boots and bellies.   We fit right in, with a semi continental clip and a purple harness.

JIB was the poster boy for VIP, entered in conformation, obedience and weight pull.  There were no other mini poodles, so the BOB didn't buy much.  He qualified in Novice obedience, which included two exercises he had never practiced.  I did read the rules the night before.

The tractor pull started off with the heavy weights and it was just amazing.  The wheeled cart was about eight feet square and they kept piling more steel I beams on, until it was almost 3000 lbs.  Once a dog is hitched up and the handler gives the go, they have 60 seconds to pull the cart 16 feet.  This effort brings loud cheering from the crowd, and the dogs seem to respond by digging in, and the muscles were bulging as they worked.  Most got a pat on the head from their handler, and another cheer from spectators.

When they got down to the lightest weight class, which was dogs 16-30 lbs, we were in with three Rat Terriers.  The cart was swapped for a metal green four wheel garden wagon.  Nobody laughed, or made fun of the Poodle, but you know what they were thinking!  JIB had already experienced the indignity of the weigh-in, with a big strap wrapped around him three times, he was hung swinging from a grocery produce scale.  The strap must have weighed three pounds, because he has always been fifteen pounds on the digital scale at the vet office.

The judge instructed the two cart handlers to add weight to the wagon, bringing it to 125 lbs.  I had hoped for something like 75 lb to start with as our practice at home had only gone over 100 a few times, including last week when JIB hauled the recycle bin to the curb.

We were the first on the line.  I turned JIB with his tail to the cart, and adjusted the harness as the cart handler connected the snap.  We were on dirt floor in a chute with spectators on both sides, and my husband was behind the cart with the video camera.  I stepped to JIB's right and with my hand on his shoulders I did the 1-2-3 game.... you know, ready, set, go....  He gave a little tug and came hard up against reality.  I circled around in front of him yelling, "Pull, pull, come on JIB, pull".  The crowd was cheering, and JIB stood there, looking right and left, sort of caught in the headlights.  Then, he lowered his gorgeous little silver poodle head and dug in.  I was running backwards bent over cheering him toward the finish line.  What a thrill!

Much cheering and three Rat Terriers later, we were called back in.  JIB was still tail up, marching right in, willing to play whatever game is on the card.  We hooked up to 145 lbs and when my hand left his shoulders and I gave him the pull command JIB went to work.  When he crossed the line he earned a qualifying leg in weight pull, by hauling more than eight times his body weight!

The judge told me we had qualified and could quit anytime.  I figured we'd try one more go.  JIB seemed fine with that, pom pom wagging.  The weight went up to 165 lbs and we hooked up.  I gave him the sign, but the cart didn't budge.  I cheered, called, and waved him forward.  He jumped in the air, tugged one way, and then the other, and finally the cart began to roll.  Everybody was screaming, as the little guy clawed his way across the line pulling harder and faster as he neared the end.

I thought about calling it quits then, but JIB hadn't.  So we lined up for 185 lb.  Try as he might, the cart would not budge, and I quickly put my hand on the back of his neck, to give him the leverage to push off and get the wheels rolling.  That was a move that caused a foul, which meant the pull did not count, but it allowed JIB to pull 185 lb across the finish line and be successful in his effort.  It was a good place to bow out.

I was so proud!  JIB returned to pull at two more trials, and qualified each time, earning his UKC Weight Pull title, with a heaviest pull of 190 lb.  I suppose he'll want a big leather harness now with a prize winning size buckle.  Poodles can do anything.

Suzi Cope