Waine Singleton, Making IGP a better place
Waine Singleton, National level IGP Decoy, IGP Judge, IGP Competitor and Founder of IPO Live! He is best known for his national level IGP helper work over the last 20 years. He is also known for his support of IGP with recent live-stream broadcasts of IGP championships via the 'IPO Live!' channel. I first met Waine at the 2015 AWDF Championship in Chicago where he was the back-half helper and I the event photographer. I have lost count of the number states and stadiums at which we have seen each other since then but the photos in the blog give some clue. I have been curious about his concept for IPO Live! and have been looking forward to interviewing him. I finally got the chance to do so and this is the product of that time spent.
Waine grew up in South side Chicago. His first dog was a Rottweiler when he was 19 years old. At the time his main passion was motorcycles. Not just any motorcycles but stunt riding in particular. One day while walking his dog, a stranger saw him with his dog and asked if he was involved in training, and invited him to train with his group of clients of Gerald Rogers. Waine accepted the offer and Gerald Rogers would eventually become Waine’s first dog sport mentor. With his first taste of personal protection dog training and he was hooked immediately. A little later Waine started personal protection helper work with the club and doing some helper work in protection tournaments. Then one day Gerald invited him for a visit to Chi-Town Schutzhund Club where Gerald was to do Schutzhund helper work. This experience observing Schutzhund dogs left a profound impression on Waine that would forever change his future, as the sport would become a huge part of his life and the next 25+ years.
One day when Waine was at Chi-Town Schutzhund Club no helpers were able to make it out for training and they were unable to train. Waine had protection dog decoy experience but no IGP helper experience. He offered to catch the dogs anyway. They scoffed at first, but without an alternative, they reluctantly agreed to give him a try. To everyone’s surprise he was not only good, he was safe with his catches. Waine never looked back. He has since done helper work in 32 championships and 14 consecutive years of at least one championship:
A trademark of Waine is his taste for stylish helper attire. He has made a point to be a style trend setter and no one comes close to to having as many helper outfits. He is satorially to helper work as T. Floyd is to competitors.
2015 AWDF in Chicago. Everything airborne, catching a David Knopp's blistering fast A'Essard.
2015 AWDF in Chicago. Waine helped organize the event, was picked as back half helper and served in the heeling group during obedience phase.
2015 AWDF Championship in Chicago. Waine consults with AJ Pepper and Marcus Hampton before taking the field for protection phase.
2017 USCA South East Regional IGP Championship in Dawsonville, NC. Maggie Shook's Gunslinger.
Along the way he also made time to become the Training Director at Midwest Working Dog Association and titled four HOT dogs to IPO3, one dog to an FH and compete in two National Championships as a handler. Another one of his early mentors was Dean Bundley who is the original founder of Midwest Working Dog Association. Dean opened Waine to the amazing abilities of the Malinois breed in IGP.
There have also been setbacks along the way. There was a point where their club lost the use of their training field. They did what they had to in order to continue their training by finding parking lots and abandoned fields and using their car headlights to train at night. It was a bleak period, but looking back it was a test of resolve to continue their training program.
Twenty years of decoy work will takes its toll on one's body and Waine started to look ahead at how he would continue in the sport when the day came for him to hang up his scratch pants. He knew that handling a dog as a competitor by itself would not satisfy his appetite for dog sport. He set to work to became an IGP judge and earned his judges license in 2017 with the AWMA. This proved to be a natural fit for his fascination with the technical side of the sport.
His critiques as a judge made him aware how much he enjoyed this aspect of the sport which in turn led to the idea of live-streaming the 2017 WDC and doing commentary just for fun. It was spontaneous and unplanned. The live-stream went viral and had thousands of viewers. People encouraged him to do it again and the next thing he knew he and his girlfriend Angie had created a YouTube channel called ‘IPO Live!’ From that point on I would see Waine at all the big championships where I was the photographer. It started modestly with a iPhone and a dime store camera tripod (not even a video tripod) and later evolved into a sophisticated broadcast rig with shotgun mic, a high-end 4k camera and fancy fluid-head video tripod. During a broadcast of an IGP championship one competitor came up and wanted to thank him. The competitor said his mother was not well and was in hospice, and that his family was there with her to comfort her. He went on to say that because of IPO Live that they were all able to watch him perform and went on to say how much they appreciated it. Waine was deeply moved and realized that what started as something fun had grown into something bigger than himself and was now affecting many in the working dog community. It came with a new understanding of the responsibility. He made the decision to clean up the salty language and jokes and make the program more family friendly. He also started to consider his mission for the channel going forward with aspirations of extending the reach of the IGP. Long term, he would love to see IPO Live! help elevate the sport to reach new people outside its current participants and make it a mainstream dog sport.
2019 AWDF Championship in Little Rock, Arkansas. Waine live steaming to more than 100,000 viewers on IPO Live!
2018 USCA Southeastern Region IPO Championship in Fayetteville, NC. Hold & Bark with Abrisco Vamoz Bohemia.
2017 USCA Southeastern Helper College Dawsonville, NC. Showing the new helpers how it's done with a spunky Fala.
2017 USCA Mid-Central Region IGP Championship in Lawrence, KS. Back half gaurding by Joe Stuetelberg's Trossacks's Fortune Amok in IPO3.
I asked Waine what recent developments in the sport that he found interesting. Without hesitation he said the most important event is the recent separation of the AWDF and USCA which he felt is dividing the sport and changing the dynamics of the sport. He spoke of the damage this split was having with clubs that have a mix of breeds that can’t, or won’t trial because of the confusion it has caused with scorebooks and trials counting towards their goals. He felt that lack of flexibility and common ground at the high levels of the two organizations was likely at core of the rift and that perhaps those in charge had become too entrenched to find middle ground. He wondered if this might not be a good time for some fresh blood, to bring a new perspective, as the current state of affairs is hurting the sport and driving people away. He felt strongly that people new to the sport will not know the history, so the politics will not make sense and that in the end they will be poisoned with the toxicity.
Looking to switch to something more uplifting, I asked Waine on his advice for a newbie to IGP. He said without hesitation “It’s about the dog. People will lose their way and make it about trainers ego. But always remember it is about the dog.” He resists talking about great handlers and would much rather talk in depth about specific dogs as the heroes. He suggests a new handler visit a number of clubs before choosing one and to make sure the club’s culture is a fit. He said this cannot be overstated because you will spend a lot of time with these people. It is important that they are a group that you can have fun with and that you believe and agree with the training methods. They should have similar interests as you and a good indication is if the club spends time together after training. If they come to train and then they all go their own ways then keep looking a better fit. Then along the way, when you have found your tribe, make sure look outside the circle for fresh ideas and keep an open mind.
Looking back, Waine’s fondest achievements was taking the field at championship with his first mentor Gerald Rogers and beating him. It was Waine’s way to sincerely thank Gerald for the guidance, showing he had put the lessons to good use, and at the same time a way of saying that Waine had evolved to take his own path to the next level.
2017 USCA Mid-Central Region IGP Championship in Lawrence, KS. Pressuring Ronnie Weiss' Radic z Gemera in IPO3.
2017 USCA Mid-Central Region IGP Championship in Lawrence, KS. Waine finds fun everywhere. Sharing a laugh at the end of IGP protection with USCA Judge Athur Collins and Betim Polisi in IPO3.
2019 GSDCA National Championship in Wilmintton, OH. Turning up the heat on Jackie Camp's Yankee v. Kaltwasser.
2019 GSDCA National IGP Championship helpers Markus Hampton and Waine Singleton.
Waine Singleton is a bigger than life personality. Fun and laughter and a passion for dogs follow him wherever he goes. His life long love of dogs has lead him down a unique path and he heart has inspired him to improve IGP. I believe the sport is better for it. Tune into IPO Live! And enjoy the show.
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See you out on the field!
Brian Aghajani is a freelance photographer based in Houston. He began his fascination with dog sport in 2000, has titled three dogs to IPO3 and competed in a handful of national IPO championships. He is an official photographer for most National IGP/Mondioring competition including the USCA, GSDCA, AWDF, AWMA and USMRA as well as the WUSV World Championship. Follow him on facebook
Outstanding interview with Wain.
Great dedication Wain, appreciate all your hard work.
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