First, let me apologize for getting this post to the list a tad later than normal. I’ve had my hands full the past few days with a very small, but needy, matter of great importance.
This will be a long post so grab a “cactus cooler” before you start reading.
This morning I performed the ceremonial “last rites” on the 2007Worlds…namely I returned the empty keg from the awards banquet to the local microbrewer. As I drove down the road with the keg banging around in the back of my truck, it occurred to me that it wouldn’t be entirely inaccurate to describe the disc dog community as “a drinking family with a disc dog problem.” You folks sure know how to have a good time!
Let me begin where I should and thank the many volunteers who worked tirelessly to make the event a success. Kudos go to our experienced judges Chuck Middleton, Mark Jennings and Greg Perry. Those guys spent three days in the sun and watched hundreds of dogs perform and, as usual, got it right. Next year, we promise not to outfit the judges in black shirts, though they sure looked svelte don’t you think!
Others volunteers who toiled to make the event special include, but are not limited to: John Bilheimer, Shannon Bilheimer, Frank Buckland, Val Buckland, Diane Campbell, Gary Duke, George Freeman,Kara Gilmore, Chuck Hensley, Nancy Liptak, Ray Lowman, FrankMontgomery, Theresa Musi, Larry Pease, Gail Pease, Joselyn Skaggs, Jeff Stanaway, Angie Stanaway, Swanee Swainston, Sven Van Dresche, Peter Williams, Carolynn Williams, Dolores Willis, and countless others who were always willing to lend a hand whenever and wherever needed. It sounds cheesy to say it, but without you, there is no us.
Next we want to thank all of the competitors who donated money to theForsyth Humane Society no-kill shelter. Thanks to your efforts — and with a little Hyperflite cash tossed into the kitty — a total of$3,500 was raised to support the efforts of this worthy organization.It is always a delight to see dog lovers open up their hearts (and wallets) to help ease the plight of homeless animals. Special thanks to Susan Jones who, with a Verizon matching contribution, donated$750 dollars to the cause, and to George Freeman who made a last minute donation of $200 at the Awards Banquet to help us reach the $3,500 milestone. Thanks also to Ray Lowman and Susan Markham and to the numerous other clubs and individual donors who helped raise money for the cause. We have a sneaking suspicion that the disc dog community could raise even more money next year if Peter and I promise not to do another pairs routine! Our knees and backs are still hurting from that humbling experience.
Now, let’s talk about the Eastern Open Qualifier. We were blessed with wonderful weather for all three of the competition days including a light rain and cloud cover on Friday morning that kept the dust down and the dogs cool. The Open Qualifier, despite more than 200 competitive entries, went smoothly thanks to the aforementioned cadre of volunteers who busted their tails to help us finish by late afternoon. A better name for the Open Qualifier might be the “Mini World Finals” because the competition is undoubtedly as fierce as the big events on Saturday and Sunday. At the end of the day, 12 new teams qualified for the Worlds.
Lawrence Frederick & FlashPreston Dean & SkyeTracy Custer & Raccoon JackAutumn Trainor & Nevi
Peter/Carolyn Williams & LenaMark Muir/Preston Dean & Rocket
Micro Dog Division
Nadja Palenzuela & Wee-laJack Fahle & Ruckus
Danny Eggleston & Guinan, Adrian Custer & BladeTroy McConaughey & EinsteinJeff Stanaway & Cojo
For the complete Open Qualifier score rundown please go to this link:https://skyhoundz.com//downloads/07_Eastern_Open.pdf
As the countdown timer on the Hyperflite website clicked to zero, theWorld’s began.
It was pouring when competitors arrived at Piedmont Park On Saturday morning, but eventually the sprinklers turned off! As most competitors know, Saturday at our World’s features the Open Division which is still regarded by many as the most challenging disc dog championship because it combines Freestyle and Distance/Accuracy. In all my years of judging disc dog competitions, I have never seen aWorld’s in which the competitors were so tightly grouped. Every one present felt sorry for the poor judges who were forced to split hairs to account for the subtleties between so many great routines. In the end, Danny Venegas of West Palm Beach, Florida gave notice that two of the top podium spots were his domain. Finishing in third was TracyCuster who, showed great poise in dealing with an unexpected interruption to her routine that occurred when a visibly ashen Michael Vick wandered onto the field in an attempt to apologize toAndrew Yori’s dog “Wallace” for crimes against “caninity.” There sponse from the disc doggers present has already been well documented in other posts and I won’t expand on it, except to say…Semper Fido!
Final results for the Open Division were as follows:
1st Danny Venegas & Jumpin’ Jack, 2nd Danny Venegas & Oreo, 3rd Tracy Custer & Raccoon Jack
Sunday was another glorious day and I’m not just talking about the,,weather. For me, the most heartening thing about the competition on,,the final day of the World’s was that everyone was rooting for,,everyone. All the competitors and spectators were wowed by great routines and it didn’t matter who had them. The copious camaraderie that I saw on Saturday and Sunday was the most pleasing and wonderful thing about the event this year. I have always had great faith in the disc dog community and believed that we were unique in the world of sports because of our love for our dogs and our concern and respect for our extended family members. Although I didn’t get to see the final rounds on Sunday (something relating to a birth in the family),I was told that the competition continued with spectacular performances and not much room between the top competitors. In the end, someone had to win and the results are as follows:
Pairs Freestyle Division
1st Frank Buckland/Shannon Bilheimer & Shiloh, 2nd Josh Grennell/Andrew Yori & Wallace, 3rd Danny Eggleston/Christina Curtis & Guinan
1st Katherine Ferger & Tallulah, 2nd Jack Fahle & Ruckus, 3rd Nadja Palenzuela & Wee-la
1st Robert Walkley & Brigit2nd Scott Jones & Bolero3rd Bill Marion & Blaze
For the complete World Championship score rundown please go to this link: https://skyhoundz.com//downloads/07_World_Championship.pdf
Much as last year, there were many firsts at the 2007 HyperfliteSkyhoundz Worlds.
Frank Buckland and Shannon Bilheimer & Shiloh became three-time PairsFreestyle World Champions and joined a rather elite group of three-time world champions that includes Alex Stein & Ashley Whippet, BillMurphy & Bouncin’ Boo, and Gary Suzuki & Soarin’ Sam.
Two young men, Preston Dean (a 14-year old from Monroe, Georgia) andChandler Curtis (a 13-year old from Fountaintown, Indiana) qualified to compete in the Hyperflite Skyhoundz World Championship making them the two youngest competitors to qualify to compete at the elite level of the sport.
Danny Venegas became the first competitor to take the top two spots at the same World’s after finishing in the second and third spots the previous year.
Our neighbors to the north also notched their first world title when Katherine Ferger & Tallulah of Queensville, Ontario, Canada, won it all in the MicroDog Division. The maple flags were flying everywhere as an enthusiastic pod of talented Canadian teams, including veteranDennis Alexander, showed the disc dog world that “Canadian Chicks most definitely do rule!” Previously, the only other international team to win a World Championship title at our World’s was the team of Sayuri Norose & Passer, from Japan, who took the Sport Division crown in 2003.
The year 2007 marked he first time that Mike and Kathy Miller missed the Worlds. Apparently, the couple decided that a vacation at a transmission repair shop in Gallup, New Mexico, would be preferable to the company of their disc dog family. We will forgive them…this time.
Even more notably, the 2007 Worlds showcased Lawrence Fredrick’s ability to go three days without French kissing a stinging insect.
At the Gathering of Champions Awards Banquet, we were privileged to announce that Ray Lowman, was the 2007 recipient of the SkyhoundzLifetime Achievement Award. Ray’s devotion to our sport is unquestionable and he has helped turn the MADDOG Club into a model for disc dog clubs everywhere. Five MADDOG world champions joined Rayat the podium as he received his award. Then before they could retreat to their tables, they were informed that MADDOG had also recaptured the Skyhoundz Club Cup from the Indy Club. Word on the street is that MADDoggers feed their canines a strict diet ofChesapeake Bay seafood! Hmmm. The text of my Lifetime AchievementAward speech can be seen here: https://skyhoundz.com//downloads/2007_Skyhoundz_Lifetime_Achievement_Award.pdf
Finally we forgot to mention a few things at the Awards Banquet.First, “Disc Dogs: The Complete Guide” is nearly finished and we promise it will represent our sport well. We have delayed publication until late 2007/early 2008 so that we could incorporate more Pair sand MicroDog photos from the 2007 Worlds and also obtain information from the other contest series for inclusion in the book.
This year’s Hyperflite Skyhoundz World Championship DVD, for the first time, will include footage of all the Divisions: Open, MicroDog, Pairs, and Sport. The 2007 World’s DVD should be available in about three weeks.
Next, we neglected to announce the recipients of this year’s PeterRice Bloeme Rising Star Scholarships. These are awarded each year to deserving disc doggers. The 2007 recipients are Frank Buckland, Matt Derfler, and Bill Marion. In addition to free entries to allHyperflite Skyhoundz events for 2008, these individuals will receive discs, apparel and other goodies in “the post” (as they say overseas)very shortly.
To conclude, Peter, Greg, Nancy and I extend our deepest gratitude to the disc dog community for supporting our little flying disc company and for helping us to showcase the talents of the world’s best canine disc teams.