Dogs catch discs at Skyhoundz in McAuliffe Park
By Frances Taylor - Staff Writer
East Hartford - posted Fri., May. 6, 2011
Novices and experts met in McAuliffe Park on May 5 for the 17th annual Skyhoundz Canine Disc Championships, where dogs ran at top speed and jumped their highest to catch a Frisbee. It's a sport that relies on teamwork between the dog and the owner, with lots of fun for both.
“The championship is open to all levels,'' said Jim Uhrig, assistant director of the East Hartford Parks and Recreation Department, which sponsored the event. “Some are very good, some can't catch a disc at all – it doesn't matter, because everyone is welcome.''
In the competition, which is a timed event, dogs must catch the disc and return it. The faster the return, the more points are scored. “It's real teamwork,'' Uhrig said.
While some competitors were novices, there were just as many who were champions. Disc championships are held nearly every weekend around the country, and many travel to compete for a spot in the national championships, which are held in June, and the world championships, which are held in September.
Bill Lupone and his dog, Harmony, a 3-year-old Australian shepherd, have won blue ribbons around the country and are already on the road again this year. “I have two other dogs who also compete, and we go to events every week. We've been to Vermont, Georgia, and Indiana,'' Lupone said.
Corinne Brewer is president of Yankeeflyers, a dog and disc club based in Southbury. Her best dog, Kangaroo Jack, a 6-year-old Australian shepherd, set a world record this past Sunday during a meeting in Farmington, with a catch after a run of 157 feet. The dog set a record of 132 feet last year.
“The key is to always be positive with your dog, whether they catch it or not – as long as they are doing what you are telling them to do,'' she said. For more information on dog disc competition, go to www.skyhoundz.com/ or http://yankeeflyers.com.