published Thursday, September 24th, 2009

Canine cavorting

Skyhoundz World Canine Disc Championship at AT&T Field this weekend

Audio clip

Jeff Perry

Who can resist disc-catching dogs?

This weekend, for the second straight year, Chattanooga will host the Hyperflite Skyhoundz World Canine Disc Championship at AT&T Field.

"It's a wonderful family event," said Jeff Perry, co-founder of the Roswell, Ga.-based Hyperflite Skyhoundz. "It's perfect for kids. It's a great way to spend the weekend -- watching dogs do their things."

The event will feature competition in the Open division (combines freestyle, distance and accuracy skills) on Saturday and in the Microdog, Sport (in which dogs try to make as many successful catches over a distance course in the time allotted) and Pairs Freestyle (two throwers and one dog) divisions on Sunday. A last-chance qualifier today will fill the final 20 spots in the competition.

Competition begins at 9:30 a.m. Saturday and Sunday and concludes with the awards ceremony about 4 p.m.

There is no charge to attend, but Perry says any donations to the McCamey Animal Care and Adoption Center would be welcome.

The field this year has climbed from 75 to more than 100 dogs, he said, reflecting the growing popularity of the sport even in a difficult economic climate.

The top canines, according to Perry, have come from six regional competitions and open qualifiers in Canada, Japan, Hungary, Belgium and Poland.

"They're coming from everywhere," he said.

To attest to the popularity of the sport, the reigning world championship team, Tony Hoard and Rory, advanced to the Top 20 on the NBC television series "America's Got Talent."

Perry said the competition is not breed-centric. Herders and retrievers and mixed versions of those breeds are probably seen more often, he said, but many others do equally as well.

"The bottom line is any athletic, energetic dog can do well in the sport," he said. "Even couch potatoes will surprise you."

about Clint Cooper...

Clint Cooper is the faith editor and a staff writer for the Times Free Press Life section. He also has been an assistant sports editor and Metro staff writer for the newspaper. Prior to the merger between the Chattanooga Free Press and Chattanooga Times in 1999, he was sports news editor for the Chattanooga Free Press, where he was in charge of the day-to-day content of the section and the section’s design. Before becoming sports ...

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