published Thursday, September 26th, 2013

Flying discs and flying dogs — Sept. 27-29

Skyhoundz world championships move to Coolidge Park

Sue Joy Blewett practices tricks with Habit, a terrier mix, during the 2012 Skyhoundz Championship at AT&T Field.
Sue Joy Blewett practices tricks with Habit, a terrier mix, during the 2012 Skyhoundz Championship at AT&T Field.
Photo by Contributed Photo /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

IF YOU GO

• What: Hyperflite Skyhoundz World Canine Disc Championship

• When: 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Friday, Sept. 27; 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday-Sunday, Sept. 28-29

• Where: Coolidge Park, 150 River St.

• Admission: Free

• Phone: 678-662-3835

• Website: skyhoundz.com

Coolidge Park is going to the dogs this week.

Specifically, it's going to the Hyperflite Skyhoundz World Canine Disc Championship, an event in its sixth year in Chattanooga.

If the name sounds foreign, think Frisbee dogs, flying dogs or disc-catching dogs.

Some 200 of them, in a variety of big, little and in-between mixed breeds and pure breeds, will be vying for 17 world championships.

"We feel like we have a full plate of events," says Jeff Perry of Skyhoundz, which is headquartered in Roswell, Ga.

The Open and Youth divisions of the Skyhoundz Classic will have their world championships Saturday, Sept. 28, while Pairs Freestyle, Microdog and Sports divisions will be Sunday, Sept. 29.

DiscDogathan and Xtreme Distance world championships -- in 12 total categories -- were held at Camp Jordan earlier this week.

Friday, Sept. 27, the last-chance qualifier for the Skyhoundz Classic championships will be held at Coolidge Park.

"We call it the little world championship," says Perry. "A lot of competitors use it as warm-up for the world championship. It's a hotly contested competition. People will enjoy Friday almost as much as they would Saturday and Sunday.

This is the first year the weekend competition will be held at Coolidge Park. Previously, it was held at AT&T Field.

"We're excited about the new, very public venue," Perry says. "We believe it will be a huge success."

The world championships drew several thousand at AT&T, he says. He believes the new venue is likely to draw significantly more.

Competitors, outside the last-chance qualifiers, come from nine U.S. qualifiers and 15 around the world, according to Perry. Of those, he says, about 80 percent are able to come.

The dogs that do best in the competition, Perry says, are those who have a special relationship with their owners, whether animal-shelter mutts or purebreds.

"That's the great thing about the sport," he says. "It's not a beauty contest. If you qualify, you can compete."

He recalls one previous championship that saw a three-legged dog finish seventh and another that had a paralyzed dog with a cart and wheels for his back feet qualify.

"We're pretty accommodating," he says.

While the dogs crowned world champions this weekend are likely not new to the competition, anyone who has a dog, access to grass or a park, and a flying disc can enjoy the sport.

"Don't expect to be a champion overnight," he says. "But a family pet [could be] a great disc dog. And they need activity to stay healthy, Especially if they're overweight, they should give it a try."

A free, 40-page beginners book, "Disc Dogs Rock," is available digitally on the Skyhoundz website (skyhoundz.com).

Contact Clint Cooper at ccooper@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6497. Subscribe to his posts online at Facebook.com/ClintCooperCTFP.

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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