It all started as a dream. Literally. I had recently bred my wild-and-crazy
Pembroke Welsh Corgi, Riot, and was overjoyed with her incredible
son, Harpo. I wanted to teach him the weaves 'the right way'
(whatever that was). I'd tried various things with previous agility
dogs, and I was pretty sure I wanted some kind of channel set.
So I went online, started looking, and eventually gave up finding
something that would be easy to use and solid enough for the right
'feel'. [Even today, many years later, I'm unimpressed
with competitor offerings, which are mostly unsafe, unstable and not regulation.] I like to tinker, so I started thinking
about how I could build my own set. One morning, in that semi-waking,
mostly semi-sleeping state that's occasionally inspired,
(what we now call a 'slider') came to
me: a cantilevered pole support that glides freely along the side support leg and
extends the pole over the centerline. Eureka! But since the idea came
to me in a dream, I'm taking no credit!
I made a wooden prototype and showed it to my friend Jane Mohr.
She liked the idea, cautioning me to make sure the sliders would
slide easily. [They do now.] When I showed the first rudimentary products to my friend Joel
Lavalley, he said, "Man, you gotta patent that!" [They are now.] And since Joel teaches college-level engineering, I was encouraged.
I had even less experience working with metal than I had with mechanical
engineering (none). Over the first few years, I tried several
different design concepts and manufacturers. In 2011 I finally met the
perfect engineering team,
APTUS Designworks in Alcoa, TN. With the
help of Ben Nibali and Jerome Tester, we finally got it right. I
could never have come up with the innovative Universal base without
Now we've got about 7 major products that work together, with modular
components and interchangeable parts. These products make me proud
... they're functional, strong and beautiful. But what makes me happiest is that we've now got a product family that meets the needs of our agility family. And we owe our agility family a
ton of gratitude.
Responding to our customers' advice has made us the best!
Harpo's retired from agility now, but he keeps me company when we travel to
trials to vend, and he's doing other sports too. The little
nondescript dog in our logo (even though he has floppy
ears and a tail) makes me think of Harpo as the original
impetus to develop weave pole equipment.
Enjoy your dogs! Happy weaving!!
Ace Russell, founder/designer
866-814-4DOG (4364) toll free
866-844-4DOG (4364) fax
1811 Holston River Rd, Knoxville, TN 37914 USA
Ace Russell & Harpo, with GForce Fabrication, our first design team