2010 USDDN Disc Dog International Finals
By Laura Moretz
It still amazes me that throwing a piece of plastic to my dog paved the path for me to travel the world judging disc dogs events!
15 years ago I started throwing a flying disc to my Aussie in the back yard to wear him out because he had so much energy and last year I judged disc dog contests in Canada, Japan, Germany and at the USDDN (US Disc Dog Nationals) Finals in Georgia. Besides being a USDDN judge, I am the secretary on the USDDN Steering committee. The steering committee is comprised of elected representatives from disc dog clubs from around the country, and a small number of experienced handlers.
The USDDN is the only organization run by handlers and the only competition format where all the judges have to be tested and certified to judge. The contests are hosted and run by individual disc dog clubs from all over the world who use the rules set up and approved by the steering committee. There are no restrictions on who can compete at one of the open qualifying events that are held all over the US, in Europe and Japan. Any dog over 18 months old, and of any breed, pure breed or mixed has an equal opportunity to win.
How tough is the competition? Last October Shaun Hirai and his border collie Shaq flew 15 hours from Japan and swept the competition on Saturday, becoming the youngest competitor in the history of the sport to become the USDDN National Champion for the second time, and moving him, along with the other 14 top scoring teams to the International Championships the next day. On Sunday, Shaun was in the lead until the last round when Tracy Custer and Raccoon Jack, 2007 USDDN International Champions, delivered an almost flawless routine and became the first 2 time USDDN International Champions.
Looking at the teams who have already qualified for the finals this year this October, the best disc dog teams from all over North America, Europe and Japan will converge on Cartersville, GA to compete for the 2010 USDDN National and International Championships, including both Tracy and Shaun.
Bring the whole family (including your dog) out to Cartersville, GA for this year’s USDDN National and International Finals in October hosted by WOOF! Sports USA. Besides the incredible disc dog competition you can participate in agility or herding and visit the many vendors and rescue organizations at this year’s USDDN Finals where the proceeds from this year’s finals benefit the Bartow County Humane Society. For more information you can go to www.usddn.com.
Photos provided by: Steven Donahue at www.seespotrunphoto.com
Contact: Melissa Heeter WOOF! Sports USA, www.woofsports.com