For The Ashland Beacon
This year’s Back to School Party at the Ashland Town Center will come with some high flying canine entertainment as Kentucky DockDogs returns by popular demand to the Ashland area. The 40-foot pool and 40-foot competition dock will be set up in the mall parking lot near Jo-Ann’s and will host a variety of competitions during the Ashland Town Center’s Back to School Party on August 10 and 11. Competing times will be from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Sunday.
Kentucky DockDogs, an affiliate club since 2014 of DockDogs Worldwide is based in Ashland at Tin Woof Inn, and recently added a second chapter in Frankfort. Club President Rod Niemer says “the last couple of years, we have traveled around Kentucky jumping dogs in places like Elizabethtown, Lexington, Frankfort and Perryville, but there is nothing like being back home. “Our first club events were in Ashland at Poage Landing Days; we had a lot of folks come and bring a chair and stay all day just watching the dogs jump. We have people ask, when we were coming back to the Ashland area to jump, and we are thrilled to have this opportunity to jump again locally.”
A variety of competitions are held throughout each day where dogs compete in Big Air, Extreme Vertical, and Speed Retrieve (as seen on ESPN, The Outdoor Channel and The David Letterman Show). Spectators will have the opportunity to cheer on all levels of teams, from new to experienced, as they splash down into the big blue swimming pool. The teams are judged depending on their ability, with different levels of jumps, speeds and heights this way any dog can be very competitive within their own division. Big Air waves are jumps that are judged on distance. In the Extreme Vertical competition, the dogs jump out eight feet and up to eight foot in the air to grab a suspended toy, and Speed Retrieve is a doggie drag race.
This year’s competition will include some local teams that got their start in DockDogs at Poage Landing Days by showing up and joining in on a Let’s Try session. Alysha Patton and her dog Primo earned “Rookie of the Event” at the 2016 event in Ashland; they have continued to grow in the canine sport and this year has earned an invite to the 2019 DockDogs World Championships in Dubuque, Iowa.
Scott Mootz and Kip is another one of those teams that found DockDogs to be a good fit for this high energy team and are looking forward to competing back in Ashland where it all began for them.
If you would like to give DockDogs a try, come Saturday morning at 9 a.m. or Sunday at 10:30 a.m. for Let’s Try DockDogs. Jacob Salisbury says, “it’s a time we have set aside for new dogs/handlers that might be interested in the sport, to come and give it a try.” Bring your dog, a four-foot leash, and a floatable toy (dogs must be at least six months old). The cost for let’s try is $15; additional information can be obtained on Facebook on the Kentucky DockDog page.