DockDogs: Have A doggone good time at Brittlebank Park
By Harris CohenSpecial to The Post and Courier – Thursday, February 7, 2013
If you go
When: Big Air Waves at 10 and 11 a.m. and 1, 2:30 and 4 p.m. Friday; Big Air Waves at 10 a.m., noon and 2 p.m. and Extreme Vertical at 4 p.m. Saturday; Big Air Waves at 10 a.m. and noon, Speed Retrieve (all in one finals) at 2 p.m. and Big Air Finals at 4 p.m. Sunday
Where: Brittlebank Park, Lockwood Drive downtown
Price: Included under general admission tickets; $20 Friday and Saturday, $10 Sunday, $40 for a three-day pass
more info: www.dockdogs.com, 330-241-4975; www.sewe.com, 723-1748
One of the most popular events at the Southeastern Wildlife Exposition, DockDogs returns this year bigger than ever.
The world’s premier canine aquatics competition is bringing a second tank, which will make SEWE the only event east of the Mississippi to use dual 30,000-gallon tanks for this high-flying event.
What began as a “filler” event in ESPN’s Great Outdoor Games has morphed into 230 worldwide events per year, including in the U.K., Australia and Japan, with plans to expand to Russia and Germany.
The “Late Show With David Letterman” helped raise visibility with its periodic dog-jumping features.
While copied, DockDogs is widely recognized as the official sanctioning body.
Just as a rodeo comprises separate events, DockDogs now consists of three separate competitions with all breeds of dogs open to participate in three skill levels: pro, semi-pro and amateur.
DockDogs began with Big Air, the long jump for dogs. Each human handler and dog team competes head-to-head against each other. Still the most popular event, each team has 90 seconds for the run down the dock and into the water. All jumps are electronically measured using a proprietary digital video stop-action technology developed by the ESPN television network.
After being used as a training tool for the Big Air competition, DockDogs officially launched Extreme Vertical in 2005. For this high-jump event, the dogs run and jump to remove a “bumper” suspended over the water 8 feet from the edge of the dock. The bumper is raised 2 inches each round until the highest jumping dog wins.
The third event focuses not on jumping ability but speed. The dogs must swim to the end of the 40-foot pool and remove an object. The fastest time wins.
As with human sports that combine events into one competition, the Iron Dog Challenge combines the best results from each of the events for those that participate in all three contests.
The DockDogs organization keeps world records, and Guinness World Records is the process of recognizing the events. The current best length for Big Air is 31 feet, while 8 feet, 4 inches marks the record height for Extreme Vertical.
Two prior SEWE participants are logged in the DockDogs list of top accomplishments.
DockDogs is not all about fun and competition, though. The organizations supports such charities as the Bay Area Animal Rescue Klub, (BAARK), which “rehabilitates cocker spaniels and helps to find them a loving home”; Team 21, which raises money and awareness for children with Down syndrome; and Chase Away K9 Cancer, which funds cancer studies and awareness efforts.
DockDogs CEO Grant Reeves said, “DockDogs is a great way to bond and have a blast with your dog, any dog, no matter what your dog’s breed, size or abilities, from the smallest Pomeranian to the largest Great Dane, we welcome you. We look forward to seeing you on the dock at the Southeastern Wildlife Exposition.”
Given DockDogs’ growing popularity and as wave slots are limited, participants are being advised to register early. On-site registration is on a first-come, first-served basis and begins at 9 a.m. for each day’s events. The entry fee is $30 per team per event. Alternatively, there is limited pre-registration through 11:45 a.m. Tuesday, at the DockDogs website, www.dockdogs.com