The ’09 Hyperflite Skyhoundz World Canine Disc Championship weekendgot underway on Thursday evening at the Chattanooga Choo Choo as ahorde of competitors arrived at the mixer sponsored and hosted byHooked on Dogs. Our special thanks to Nadja and Kara for their hardwork in preparing for the event! Attendees were in great “spirits”and a fun time was had by all.
On Friday, at the Last Chance Open Qualifier, our dedicated staff ofvolunteers did something unprecedented for a one-day competition. TheLast Chance Open Qualifier saw 315 competitive entries, the most inthe history of the Skyhoundz Series. Our experienced judging andadministrative staff kept things moving and when the dust settled, thelast invitations were extended as follows:
Open Division: Tracy Custer & Five, Kirby McIlveen & Sketch, DannyEggleston & Guinan, Theresa Brantly & Ciela
Sport Division: Kevin Eroskey & Brook, Bob Bradley & Chase, DonBlewett & Meg, Danny Venegas & Jumpin’ Jack
MicroDog Division: Katherine Ferger & Zelda, Frank Montgomery & Chicklet
Pairs Freestyle Division: Bob Hegyi/Gary Duke & Haze, Darrel Earle/Marie Earle & Nitro Nana, Bob Bradley/Donna Bradley & Beau
Despite that record turnout, we finished a little after 6 pm, just intime to head to the McKamey Animal Care and Adoption Center for areception that featured world-class hors d’oeuvres and drinks. TheMcKamey shelter does amazing work but still struggles to make endsmeet, like most shelters. If you are looking for a worthy cause, askanyone who has visited the center, and they will tell you about whatgreat work the dedicated volunteers do. Think of them when you thinkof giving to a canine-related cause.
Weather predictions were dire for Saturday but we got off to an earlystart and kept on chugging. We were two thirds of the way through thefirst round of the Open Division and things were looking great, when,in a matter of minutes, the sky opened up and rained on our parade.After the field became thoroughly saturated, the contest was calledfor the day. We could safely make this call knowing that we had acloudless day forecast for Sunday. Having two available fields, whilenot ideal, gave us options not normally available at the WorldChampionship.
The Gathering of Champions Awards Banquet was the first we have everhad where the Open Division World Championship was not yet decided.The Banquet itself was huge with approximately 200 disc doggers,family, and friends.
Highlights of the banquet include the announcement of the completionof Disc Dogs Rock!, a free 40-page book designed to stimulate interestin canine disc sports and help more folks get started in the sportaffordably. At present DDR! is being translated from English, into atleast 10 other languages. Hyperflite announced that it will createfree business cards for any disc dog club or disc dog performer thatagrees to include a link to the digital book on the reverse side oftheir business cards.
Hyperflite also announced the addition of a Youth Division for kids 15and under beginning with the 2010 Skyhoundz Series. Two invitations tothe World Championship will be extended at each Qualifier.
The usual goodies, including 2009 World Championship medals, books,discs, and posters were handed out to competitors and other banquetattendees.
Finally, Hyperflite was pleased to present Quadruped maestro, JeffHoot, with a Skyhoundz Lifetime Achievement Award. Hoot is a dedicateddisc dog organizer and is much loved by our community.
The next morning, with an 8:30 am start, we were off to the races. All123 World Finalists would compete on Sunday. It was a bit like theLast Chance Open Qualifier all over again. Only one Snafu of anyconsequence and it was de-snaffued, eventually, by our Quick ResonseDe-Snafucation Team (QRST). A competitor’s dog got loose and“misplaced.”
Under blue skies, the event proceeded to an orderly conclusion justbefore 7 pm. Good crowds and an electric atmosphere prevailed and whenthe proverbial dust settled, we could at last fill the podium spotswith the 2009 Hyperflite Skyhoundz World Championship Teams andrunners up.
For only the second time in history, both Open and Sport DivisionWorld Championship titles were won by the same team. That team was, ofcourse, Mark Muir and Gipper (Chief Judge, Chuck Middleton & Donniewere the first to claim the honor).
In the MicroDog Division, Al Erikson and George took the WorldChampionship for the second year in a row besting the Japanese team ofHitomi Hasegawa & Ucouleur and German team of Christina Weiss & Ronja.
In the Pairs Freestyle Division, Canadians Rick Rauwerda/AngelaEwtushik and Rally became only the second team to win a Pairs WorldChampionship, joining four-time World Champions Frank Buckland/ShannonBilheimer and Shiloh on the Pairs Freestyle Cup.
So many great performances from competitors that we don’t know whereto begin but the performances least recognized yet most deserving ofrecognition came from the many volunteers who helped during the threeday event. They include, but are not limited to, Val Buckland, DianeCampbell, Lawrence Frederick, Blake & Candy Kilborne, Ray Lowman,Frank Montgomery, Larry Pease, Jeff Stanaway, Kara Steffensen, andPeter & Hilde Wooters.
The Club Cup was awarded again to the Mid-Atlantic Disc Dogs (akaMADDog) for posting the highest combined scores at a geographicRegional. Another club will have to pry the Club Cup out of MADDog’scold dead hands, we suspect.
The after-competition party at River Street Deli afforded one moreopportunity to mingle with our fellow disc doggers — when we weren’tstuffing our faces with Bruce’s delicious sandwiches. The arrival, atthe after-party, of a certain smiling competitor from Hungary — EdinaBojtor — after the recovery of her lost canine, was the perfectconclusion to a World Championship that was an adventure in so manyways. We love our beautifully-peculiar extended disc dog family and wehope you always return home with that impression.
Finally, we checked with the McKamey Animal Care and Adoption Centeron Monday and they were pleased to report that they received close to$800 in donations and adopted out a dog on Sunday. If only the weatherhad cooperated on Saturday!
A special thanks to all those who took their valuable time to attendthe Worlds weekend, and support our efforts. But for you, theHyperflite and Skyhoundz organizations wouldn’t exist. It is our hopethat you are all home safe and dreaming of your next disc dogadventures. If one of those adventures is the 2010 HyperfliteSkyhoundz World Canine Disc Championship in Chattanooga, then we willcount ourselves lucky.