Staging a World Championship event of the magnitude of the 2005 Hyperflite Skyhoundz World Canine Disc Championship would be impossible were it not for the many volunteers who helped, not only at the event, but all-year long with regional events throughout this country and Canada. We were very fortunate to have great weather for the Open Qualifier and both days of the Worlds.
I think the best measure of the success of an event is the feeling that you have at the end of the day. Listening to competitors cheer for each other and root for all the teams who had worked so hard was, as always, very gratifying.
A total of 112 teams competed in Friday’s Open Qualifier and 12 of those teams advanced to the Worlds. At the Worlds, 70 teams competed over two days for four world championship titles — Open Division (Freestyle and Distance/Accuracy combined), Sport Division (Distance/ Accuracy), MicroDog (Freestyle and Distance/Accuracy combined) and Pairs Freestyle (Freestyle only).
Competition was stellar as always. As much as I enjoyed the sensational individual efforts of all of the competitors I have to say that I was absolutely riveted as the Pairs Freestylers worked their magic. What fun for a dog to have not one, but two throwers! All of the Pairs routines were truly world class and chock full of innovation. No two routines were alike and the crowd went nuts as the teams battled it out. Every spectator seemed to be wearing a smile as they watched the Pairs teams perform. I can’t wait to see what next year’s routines will look like. I have a suspicion that Pairs Freestyle will be the next big thing in canine disc sports.
For the duration of the Worlds there was a high level of mutual support and camaraderie, and when I think of support and camaraderie, I can’t help but think of MADDOGS (Mid Atlantic Disc Dogs), the new “fun bunch” in the D.C. area. A warmer more helpful collection of disc dog nuts you won’t find. They offer encouragement and assistance to everyone they meet. But don’t even think about trying to take away their Skyhoundz Club Cup! They have owned this trophy for two years and, rumor has it, the Cup serves as their communal drinking vessel at celebratory functions.
Highlights… lets see… Ray Lowman of MADDOGS serving up Mimosas to a thankful and thirsty pod of disc dog supporters at 11 a.m. during the Open Qualifier. Who would have guessed that so many disc doggers were morning drinkers! Watching competitors giving their burger orders to Skyhoundz judge Greg Perry at the Open and telling him how you wanted things for a change. “Just call me cookie,” was his motto. If only you could order up his freestyle scores the same way. Watching Zac George wow everyone with a sensational freestyle routine was a nice moment. I have no doubt we will see great things from him in the future.
Having the time to take a few sightseeing flights during the Open for photography and fun was nice. Thank you Jen for leaning out of the Super Cub to capture some nice aerial images. Thanks also to Susan Jones who trusted me enough to let me take her on the first airplane ride (large or small) she had ever taken in her entire life… and with the airplane doors wide open no less. Without a doubt the most fun for all of us was presenting World Championship trophies to Mare Potts and Shannon Bilheimer, our two new women World Champions. The women were a force this year and judging from the strong performances of women overall, the men should be trembling with fear.
At Piedmont Park, the turf was golf-course quality and the new field orientation presented a great view of the event for spectators as well as a nice panorama of midtown Atlanta for the competitors. Despite our slow start, things moved rapidly enough that quick showers were possible before the Awards Banquet at Flying Dog Farm. At the Banquet, we were honored to present Chuck Middleton with a Lifetime Achievement Award for his efforts in promoting canine disc sports and encouraging people to adopt shelter animals. His hard work has long been appreciated by all of us and it was nice to formally recognize him for his service to our sport. All together, 120 attended the awards banquet. In addition to the long list of competitors, banquet guests included disc dog perennials, John Misita and Greg and Carol Tresan.
Our guest speaker at the Banquet, Randy Grim and his dog “Quentin” were the highpoint of the evening for many. Some folks, I heard through the grapevine, were wondering just who would have the audacity to bring a dog to the awards banquet! All was made clear when Randy was introduced. I think Mike McKenzie, put it best – “[Randy Grim] was fantastic, just down home, honest and eloquent on a very serious subject.” For more about Randy and Quentin be sure to visit the Skyhoundz website. Competitors who attended the banquet stood in line forever to have their copy of Randy’s book, “Miracle Dog” autographed by Randy and Quentin.
I could go one forever, I suppose, but I will close by reiterating our thanks and congratulations to all of the staff and volunteers who made the event special. If you haven’t already checked out the order of finish at the Skyhoundz website, here are the top three finishers in each World Championship Division:
Open Division Tony Hoard & Rory<br> Frank Buckland & Shiloh<br> Danny Venegas & Oreo
Sport Division Adrian Custer & Blade<br> Danny Venegas & Jumpin’ Jack<br> Scott Jones & Bolaero
MicroDog Division Mare Potts & Scout<br> Todd Duncan & K-2<br> Susan Jones & Whoopin’ Roo
Pairs Frank Buckland/Shannon Bilheimer & Shiloh<br> Joshua Grenell/Andrew Yori & Wallace<br> Joshua Grenell/Andrew Yori & Wazee
We will look forward to our next reunion with you at the 2006 Hyperflite Skyhoundz World Championship.