The ’09 Hyperflite Skyhoundz World Canine Disc Championship weekend
got underway on Thursday evening at the Chattanooga Choo Choo as a
horde of competitors arrived at the mixer sponsored and hosted by
Hooked on Dogs. Our special thanks to Nadja and Kara for their hard
work 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 of
volunteers did something unprecedented for a one-day competition. The
Last Chance Open Qualifier saw 315 competitive entries, the most in
the history of the Skyhoundz Series. Our experienced judging and
administrative staff kept things moving and when the dust settled, the
last invitations were extended as follows:
Open Division: Tracy Custer & Five, Kirby McIlveen & Sketch, Danny
Eggleston & Guinan, Theresa Brantly & Ciela
Sport Division: Kevin Eroskey & Brook, Bob Bradley & Chase, Don
Blewett & 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 in
time to head to the McKamey Animal Care and Adoption Center for a
reception that featured world-class hors d’oeuvres and drinks. The
McKamey shelter does amazing work but still struggles to make ends
meet, like most shelters. If you are looking for a worthy cause, ask
anyone who has visited the center, and they will tell you about what
great work the dedicated volunteers do. Think of them when you think
of giving to a canine-related cause.
Weather predictions were dire for Saturday but we got off to an early
start and kept on chugging. We were two thirds of the way through the
first 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 called
for the day. We could safely make this call knowing that we had a
cloudless day forecast for Sunday. Having two available fields, while
not ideal, gave us options not normally available at the World
The Gathering of Champions Awards Banquet was the first we have ever
had 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 completion
of Disc Dogs Rock!, a free 40-page book designed to stimulate interest
in canine disc sports and help more folks get started in the sport
affordably. At present DDR! is being translated from English, into at
least 10 other languages. Hyperflite announced that it will create
free business cards for any disc dog club or disc dog performer that
agrees to include a link to the digital book on the reverse side of
their business cards.
Hyperflite also announced the addition of a Youth Division for kids 15
and under beginning with the 2010 Skyhoundz Series. Two invitations to
the 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 banquet
Finally, Hyperflite was pleased to present Quadruped maestro, Jeff
Hoot, with a Skyhoundz Lifetime Achievement Award. Hoot is a dedicated
disc dog organizer and is much loved by our community.
The next morning, with an 8:30 am start, we were off to the races. All
123 World Finalists would compete on Sunday. It was a bit like the
Last Chance Open Qualifier all over again. Only one Snafu of any
consequence and it was de-snaffued, eventually, by our Quick Resonse
De-Snafucation Team (QRST). A competitor’s dog got loose and
Under blue skies, the event proceeded to an orderly conclusion just
before 7 pm. Good crowds and an electric atmosphere prevailed and when
the proverbial dust settled, we could at last fill the podium spots
with the 2009 Hyperflite Skyhoundz World Championship Teams and
For only the second time in history, both Open and Sport Division
World Championship titles were won by the same team. That team was, of
course, Mark Muir and Gipper (Chief Judge, Chuck Middleton & Donnie
were the first to claim the honor).
In the MicroDog Division, Al Erikson and George took the World
Championship for the second year in a row besting the Japanese team of
Hitomi Hasegawa & Ucouleur and German team of Christina Weiss & Ronja.
In the Pairs Freestyle Division, Canadians Rick Rauwerda/Angela
Ewtushik and Rally became only the second team to win a Pairs World
Championship, joining four-time World Champions Frank Buckland/Shannon
Bilheimer and Shiloh on the Pairs Freestyle Cup.
So many great performances from competitors that we don’t know where
to begin but the performances least recognized yet most deserving of
recognition came from the many volunteers who helped during the three
day event. They include, but are not limited to, Val Buckland, Diane
Campbell, Lawrence Frederick, Blake & Candy Kilborne, Ray Lowman,
Frank Montgomery, Larry Pease, Jeff Stanaway, Kara Steffensen, and
Peter & Hilde Wooters.
The Club Cup was awarded again to the Mid-Atlantic Disc Dogs (aka
MADDog) for posting the highest combined scores at a geographic
Regional. Another club will have to pry the Club Cup out of MADDog’s
cold dead hands, we suspect.
The after-competition party at River Street Deli afforded one more
opportunity to mingle with our fellow disc doggers — when we weren’t
stuffing our faces with Bruce’s delicious sandwiches. The arrival, at
the after-party, of a certain smiling competitor from Hungary — Edina
Bojtor — after the recovery of her lost canine, was the perfect
conclusion to a World Championship that was an adventure in so many
ways. We love our beautifully-peculiar extended disc dog family and we
hope you always return home with that impression.
Finally, we checked with the McKamey Animal Care and Adoption Center
on 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 weather
had cooperated on Saturday!
A special thanks to all those who took their valuable time to attend
the Worlds weekend, and support our efforts. But for you, the
Hyperflite and Skyhoundz organizations wouldn’t exist. It is our hope
that you are all home safe and dreaming of your next disc dog
adventures. If one of those adventures is the 2010 Hyperflite
Skyhoundz World Canine Disc Championship in Chattanooga, then we will
count ourselves lucky.