A Brief History of Big Island Agility

The original BIA logo you see above, showing 3 stars around the island, was designed to express BIA’s gratitude for the contribution of 3 agility instruction facilities/teachers across the Big Island. These 3 were the pioneers who trained so many of our early agility students, who, in 2006 were ready for the first sanctioned agility trial on the Big Island. Without these instructors, who knows what we would be doing with our weekends?

In 2000 Elena Arnold started going to seminars at Power Paws on the mainland.  In 2001 she started doing agility classes at her home in Hawi.  Her first students were members of the Kona Coast Kennel Club and she infused them with her passion for agility. She continued to go to the mainland yearly to take classes from Nancy Gyes and Bud Houston and go to seminars to increase her knowledge.  Later she also became an instructor at Paws University.

In 2002 Paws University started offering agility classes.  Tammy Goodreau was the instructor.  Tammy, a Bachelor of Science graduate of the University Wisconsin at LaCrosse, has a double major in Biology and Psychology with an emphasis in Animal Behavior.  She had experience working with dolphins, killer whales, walruses, sea lions and dogs but this was her first time teaching agility.  She recognized right away that the bond developed in agility is like no other.  She now operates another facility on Oahu.

In 2003, at Paws, Gale Sansone and Tammy Goodreau arranged a seminar done by Terry Simons, an AKC and USDAA agility champion and instructor.  Gale was at the side of Paws University at the beginning and is considered “the taproot of Dog Agility.”  She quickly became the lead instructor for Paws, and was the driving force responsible in creating the groundswell behind the sport.  As one of the founding members of Big Island Agility she crossed divided lines within the dog community in an effort to bring everyone together in a unified front to promote this wonderful sport.  Her overwhelming love and passion for the sport of dog agility affected all who came into contact with her.  She was an instructor for 6 years until her passing in 2009. See more on Gale’s Page.

In 2004 on the east side of the island, Angelic Ebbers started doing agility classes at her home.  Angelic had done agility in Canada and had been an instructor and a judge in AAC and CKC agility there before moving to Hawaii.

On a fun note, in 2004, what Gale called “Team Big Island” was formed! A group of Big Islanders started going to Oahu AKC agility trials on a regular basis. Those AKC trials became a major enthusiasm builder for these folks, who would eventually be part of the driving force for the creation of Big Island Agility. With the changes in quarantine making it possible, some of those Big Island dogs began to compete in US National competitions all around the mainland and Alaska.

2006 was the banner year for creation of agility clubs on the Big Island. In May of 2006 the Kona Coast Kennel Club, DBA Big Island Agility, put on the first agility trial on the Big Island of Hawaii.  That is when Big Island Agility was born as a non-profit organization. Big Island Agility conducts regular training in cooperation with Paws University, and does agility classes, fun runs, seminars and 3 agility trials a year.

In May of 2007, in Hilo, our ‘sister’ club, Orchid Island Agility, put on their first trial.  They have fun runs, many seminars, and also do 3 trials a year.

 In 2011, Hilo Obedience Training Club, a long standing AKC obedience club on the Big Island for many years, brought our first AKC agility trial to the Big Island. For more information contact Mary Clarose at akcshowsec@msn.com, or 808-987-5923.

Last but certainly not least, in 2011, Kukini Dog Agility, a club based on the East Side of the Big Island was created and brought us our first UKI Trial.

 Since then, the Big Island has developed a wonderful and diverse training capability. We now have experienced trainers and facilities over much of the island.