Words are simply not adequate to describe the drama and excitement of the 2006 Hyperflite Skyhoundz World Canine Disc Championship. But since words are all I have, I will get right to it. For 72 hours in Atlanta, disc dogs most definitely ruled.
Our thanks go out to the many volunteers who helped make the event a great success. First, our judges, Chuck Middleton, Ed Jakubowski, Mark Jennings and Mark Wood were spot-on with their officiating. For three days straight, these four gentlemen “slaved over hot clipboards” and got it right. Staff members Mike and Kathy Miller and Ron and Amy King made sure the event ran smoothly and were expert multi-taskers. Next, the many volunteers from the MadDog and Indy dog and disc clubs helped out tremendously when they weren’t “burning it up” on the playing field. Countless others stepped in with offers to help along the way and, were it not for their efforts, we could not have staged this event successfully.
If it could be said that there was a common thread of this three-day event then it would have to be “firsts.” There were many awesome performances and unusual happenings at the Open Qualifier and the World’s that, to the best of our knowledge, were canine disc “firsts.”
At the Friday Open Qualifier, in the first round of the Sport Division (Distance/Accuracy), two teams turned in world record-tying performances. Danny Eggleston & Guinan and Mike Pawich & Jessie each scored 25 points. The record was first set by Ed Jakubowski & Dasher at the 2004 World Championship. To put this accomplishment in perspective, we believe that the maximum possible score in this 60-second event is 27.5.
In another Skyhoundz first, Peter Wouters and Hilde Van Durme, and their awesome dog Acira, became the first Belgians to compete at the World’s in Pairs Freestyle, after qualifying the previous day in the Open Qualifier.
Lawrence Fredrick was his usual top-notch self on the field but his antics off the field earned him an unusual first. Lawrence became the first person ever to be stung on the tongue by a yellow jacket at a Hyperflite Skyhoundz Championship. Lawrence later joked, with a funny-sounding lisp, that we must have done something to encourage that yellow jacket to visit his drink can. While it is true that Hyperflite made a sizable contribution to the Georgia Tech Entomology Department this year, we would never use or resources for such an evil purpose. Muuuuhahahaha!
From Bend, Oregon, Troy Kerstetter and Lynne Ouchida’s three-legged rescue dog, “Maty” was the first canine with less than four legs to ever qualify for the World’s. We had to hastily amend our rules to allow Maty to earn a jumping bonus for getting only three paws off the ground instead of the usual four! And Maty came to play, finishing seventh in a field of 33 of the top teams in the world in her first World Championship appearance. Co-owner Ouchida later joked that Maty’s only handicap was Kerstetter’s throwing ability! Photos of Maty here…
John Bilheimer & Beamer (Sport Division) and Shannon Bilheimer & Shiloh (Pairs Freestyle Division) became the first husband and wife to win world championship titles in the same year.
Shannon Bilheimer became the first woman to win two world titles by racking up her second consecutive world championship in Pairs Freestyle with her partner Frank Buckland and canine Shiloh.
And let’s not forget the big show on Saturday where the “Danny’s” were plentiful. In fact, it was a Danny trifecta with Danny Eggleston & Guinan winning a world title in the Open Division in his first World Championship appearance. Equally impressive were the performances of Danny Venegas & Oreo and Danny Venegas & Jumpin’ Jack who took, respectively, second and third place in the Open Division. No person in the history of our contest series has ever taken two podium spots with different dogs in the Open Division at the same world championship. Wow!
On Sunday, the competition in the Sport Division was incredibly tight with the top two teams tied for first, even after the first tie-breaker. This meant that, for the first time in history, the Sport Division World Championship was decided by a “Face-Off” where each team makes one throw to determine a winner. Jeff Stanaway won the coin toss and sent John Bilheimer & Beamer to the throwing line first. Bilheimer then proceeded to throw down the gauntlet with a five and one-half point throw that followed a laser beam to the end zone. Jeff Stanaway “lives” in the “End Zone” and the crowd prepared for a running battle. Stanaway’s throw to CoJo was long enough but was caught just barely out of bounds and with that final catch, the 2006 Hyperflite Skyhoundz World Canine Disc Championship came to a close.
The award ceremony began with camera shutters chirping like crickets as all the spectators crowded around to take photographs of the top teams.
Following the presentation of the championship cups, the Skyhoundz Club Cup was awarded. For the first time since the inauguration of the Skyhoundz Club Cup, the custody of this rather large “drinking vessel” will be in the hands of a club other than canine disc powerhouse, MadDog. As Chuck Middleton handed the Club Cup to its new “custodian,” the Indy Dog and Disc Club, the MadDoggers were already strategizing for its eventual return!
Congratulations to all of the competitors, spectators and volunteers who made the World’s a great success. We extend special congratulations to Ed Jakubowski who received a Skyhoundz Lifetime Achievement Award at the “Gathering of Champions” Awards Banquet, while good friend Gail Mirabella (on assignment with the Ringling Brothers Circus) listened in on Ray Lowman’s cell phone to the presentation given by Peter Bloeme.
Finally, congratulations to the two winners of this year’s “Peter Rice Bloeme Rising Star Canine Disc Scholarship,” Jackie Parkin and Bob Warwick.
To all who made the trip to Atlanta we thank you for making the World’s a special experience for each of us and we will look forward to our next “family reunion” with you.
Here is the recap you have all been waiting for:
World Champions – Danny Eggleston & Guinan
2nd Place – Danny Venegas & Oreo
3rd Place – Danny Venegas & Jumpin’ Jack
World Champions – John Bilheimer & Beamer
2nd Place – Jeff Stanaway & CoJo
3rd Place – Adrian Custer & Blade
World Champions – Tony Hoard & Seven
2nd Place – Susan Jones & Whoopin’ Roo
3rd Place – Frank Buckland & Filo
Pairs Freestyle Division
World Champions – Frank Buckland/Shannon Bilheimer & Shiloh
2nd Place – Josh Grenell/Andrew Yori & Wallace
3rd Place – Peter/Carolynn Williams & Lena