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Championship FAQ's

Thursday, April 22, 2010

The Road to the 2010 U-FLI Tournament of Champions (Frequently-Asked Questions)

The U-FLI Tournament of Champions is an annual event where seven different "Champions" will be acknowledged in seven different divisions of U-FLI racing.  This year the Tournament of Champions will be held at the newly-built 84,000 square foot PurinaŽ Farms Event Center in St. Louis, Missouri.  In order to compete in the annual Tournament of Champions, clubs must first qualify through one of seven qualification tournaments held throughout the country.  Read on to learn how your club can participate in a qualification tournament, and possibly become a "Qualifier Champion," on the road to the U-FLI Tournament of Champions itself.

How does a qualification tournament differ from a regular tournament?

A qualifier is run very much like a regular tournament; however, placement in a qualifier determines the division and seed position your team will use in the Tournament of Champions.

Is there always a regular tournament held in conjunction with a qualification tournament?

Qualifiers may be held on the same weekend as a regular tournament.  The qualifying tournament is a one day tournament and is counted as its own class of competition.  A regular tournament can be held simultaneously, at the same venue, and can run from Friday through Sunday.  This format enables your entire club to participate in the event.  For example, while only one team (your fastest team) can enter the qualifier tournament, your club can enter as many singles, pairs, standard, and variety teams (if offered), as they'd like during the regular tournament.  Even your qualifying team that runs Saturday can enter the regular tournament on Sunday if you'd like.

Do we have to enter the qualifying tournament closest to us?

No, you can enter any qualification tournament you'd like.  This is beneficial for a variety of reasons.  For example, if you're club has always wanted to visit the Amana Colonies, you can enter The Prairieland Championship (qualification tournament) that takes place in July in Iowa.  Or, if you need more time to prepare, you can enter The Great Northwest Championship (qualification tournament) that takes place in August.  Or, if you attend a qualifier in June and you don't qualify, you can enter one in August and try again.  Once you qualify, however, you cannot enter another qualifying tournament that year.

Do we have to win the division, and come in first place, to move on to the Championship?

No.  The first three teams in a division will qualify.  For example, if five teams are seeded in Division 3, three of them will move on to the Tournament of Champions based on the tournament results.

Is there any significance to winning our division at the qualifier or is the goal just to qualify?

Yes there is significance!  The first place team of each division will become the Qualifier Champion for that year and will be awarded a special plaque by U-FLITM.

What if there are only two teams in our division trying to qualify?  Will we both automatically make it?

In order to move on to the Championship, you must complete at least one clean run.  So, if there are only two teams competing in a particular division, and both teams complete at least one clean run, both teams will qualify to move on to the Tournament of Champions in that division.  Keep in mind, however, that since your fastest time recorded during the qualifying tournament will determine your seeding within that division at the Tournament of Champions, it is important to run your very best at the qualifier regardless of how many teams are entered in your division.

We are a brand new team.  Can we still compete in a qualification tournament and try to move on to the Tournament of Champions?

As long as you compete in two different U-FLI tournaments held on two different weekends in the 12 month period leading up to the qualifying tournament, you are eligible to compete in a qualification tournament.

How do we know which division we will be competing in at the qualifier?

There are a total of seven divisions.  During the 12 month period prior to the qualifying tournament, your team's fastest time obtained at a U-FLI tournament is recorded by U-FLI and is placed in one of the seven divisions.  Your team's fastest time will determine the division in which you will compete at the qualifying tournament.  Visit the Qualifier Seeding List on the U-FLI website at www.u-fli.com to see where your team is currently ranked.

What happens if we get faster by the time the Tournament of Champions arrive?

This is a very good question and is best described with some examples and in two scenarios.  Also, whether or not you are able to compete in a regular U-FLI tournament prior to the Tournament of Champions will come into play.

Scenario One - If you qualify in Division 3 with a best time of 17.750 but by the time the Tournament of Champions is held you are running a consistent 17.005, you will still be competing in Division 3 because its time bracket is 17.001 to 18.000.  Keep in mind, however, that each division has a break out time associated with it to keep racing close and competitive.  For example, the break out time for Division 3 is 16.751. 

Scenario Two - If you qualify in Division 3 with a best time of 17.003 but at a regular U-FLI tournament between the time you qualify and the Tournament of Champions you post a best time of 16.999, you will automatically be moved to Division 2 for placement at the Tournament of Champions because its time bracket is 16.001 to 17.001.

Note - Each division has a break out time associated with it.  The break out time is designed to keep each division competitive within its own time bracket.  If a team breaks out three times at the Tournament of Champions, it will be disqualified.  Therefore, it is important to be properly seeded prior to entering the Championship.  If your qualifying team starts running considerably faster than it did at its qualifying tournament, and if that new fastest time will cause you to break out at the Tournament of Champions, it is recommended that you enter a U-FLI tournament prior to the Championship so that your new fastest time can be officially recorded.  This will move you to the appropriate division so that you will be competing with similarly seeded teams. 

Do the same four dogs and four handlers that were on the qualifying team need to be on the team we enter at the Tournament of Champions?

No.  You can run different team dogs and have different handlers on the team you choose to run at the Tournament of Champions than were used at the qualifying tournament as long as clubs, participants and dogs are in good standing with U-FLI and meet all of the necessary eligibility requirements. 

Should we attend one of the qualification tournaments even if we aren't completely sure that we will be able to attend the Tournament of Champions?

Yes.  Each qualifying tournament is considered a Mini Championship and the first place team of each division will be awarded a special U-FLI plaque naming them the Qualifier Champion for that year.  Also, if you find that your team can attend the Tournament of Champions, but you have not previously qualified, you will not be able to compete in the actual Tournament of Champions. 

What happens if we qualify early in the year but due to unforeseen circumstances our qualifying team is not able to enter the Tournament of Champions?

While the goal is to qualify with your fastest team and to move on to the Tournament of Champions, it is not a requirement.  Keep in mind that a regular tournament will be held during the Tournament of Champions at Purina Farms and that all U-FLI eligible teams are encouraged to participate in it as it is a separate tournament from the Tournament of Champions.

Where can I get more information on the qualification tournaments and the Tournament of Champions?

Visit the U-FLI website at www.u-fli.com.  On the Home Page, under 2010 Championship Series, you will find helpful articles on each of the qualification tournaments.  You can also click on "View More Information" at the bottom of that same section, and that will take you to a variety of information on rules, eligibility, seeding and much more. 


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