2014 World Championship Boatyard Dog Trials
Sunday, August 10, 10:30 a.m.
The field has been chosen (entries are now closed) for the always zany World Championship Boatyard Dog Trials! The 12th annual running of this pawsome event will kick off at 10:15 a.m. with a procession of the competitors across show grounds. The trials themselves begin at 10:30 a.m. on the waterfront. Admission to the trials is included in the price of a show ticket ($12/ticket, kids under 12 free).
What Happens During the Trials? The goal is for each dog to complete three events within an 8-minute time limit:
1. The Dockside Obstacle Course — Dog and handler negotiate a maze of lobster traps, piles of rope, buoys, and other funky dockside paraphernalia.
2. The “Dinghy Hop” — Dog and handler scramble in and out of a very unstable dinghy that’s tethered to a float.
3. The “Freestyle” segment — Each dog (and their person) shows off his or her special talents….No holds are barred during this segment, but "twelve" must somehow be incorporated in the performance in honor of the show's 12th anniversary. (See Rule #3 for details)
Are There Any Rules?
Rule #1: Either dog or handler must finish the contest completely soaked.
Rule #2: Cheating is not only tolerated but encouraged.
Rule #3: To celebrate our 12th year, the freestyle event must somehow incorporate
twelve in the performance. Creativity is a judging consideration so use of
imagination is encouraged. For example, maybe it's 12 items, or the number 12, or
Rule #4: There are no other rules.
Every competitor receives a custom bag made by Sea Bags and filled with treats from Loyal Biscuit Company. The World Champion takes the perpetual "Pup Cup" trophy home for the year and is invited back to defend the title of champion at the next show. In addition, the winner is featured in the Boatyard Dog® column in Maine Boats, Homes & Harbors magazine (where all this fun got its start).
Meet the Competitors:
Ruffles (Defending Champ)
Homeport: Cushing, Maine
Handlers: John & Linda Duffy
Ruffles is getting in shape for this year’s pawsome trials and is more than ready to defend her title, but she can't imagine having more fun than she did last year! She loved all the people cheering her on, the prizes, the Pup Cup, the photos, and the excitement on the docks. She is practicing her new act at her waterfront home, where the regimen includes chasing sticks into the water and cruising to the Lobster Dock next door where all the boats drop off their catch. Swimming is a daily pleasure as she is a Portuguese water dog, bred to retrieve nets full of fish and act as a courier between fleets. To improve her balance, Ruffles co-pilots her mom’s kayak and competes in agility trials. Other skills get honed as she leads her “gang” of five around the ‘hood. They swim, roll in bait, beg for cookies, and perform public service by retrieving anything that floats.
Homeport: Scarborough, Maine
Handler: Amy Douglass
Gatsby came in second in the 2013 World Championship Boatyard Dog® Trials, so she is bound and determined that she will win this year’s competition. When she heard that it was the 12th anniversary of the Boatyard Dog Trials this year, her response was “WOWZA!” Then she composed the following list of 12 reasons why she will be a great competitor:
1. I love the water
2. I love to jump
3. I love everyone
4. I love tennis balls
5. I love competition
6. I love to give kisses
7. I love life
8. I love swimming
9. I love to win
10. I love to play
11. I am super cute (if I must say so myself)
12. I have big plans for the number 12*
(*One “rule” for the trials is that each dog must incorporate “12” into their freestyle act.)
Homeport: Stonington, Maine
Handler: Geoff Warner
Polly is a natural canine gymnast who is just so eager to strut her stuff at the trials. She absolutely loves to jump, and can’t wait to show off what her dad tells us is the “graceful twisting style” she uses in her efforts to fly. Since Polly weighs in at about 55 pounds, it’s quite a spectacle when she launches into the air; her leaps range from three to five feet off the ground. Polly was an alternate last year and did not get to compete, so she is chomping at the bit for a chance to shine.
Homeport: Marblehead, Massachusetts
Handler: Peter Dragonas
Sadie Rose is a purebred golden retriever. She’s now six years old, but in her mind (like many of us), she is still just a two-year-old. Sadie has lots of water experience, and has been swimming in nearly every anchorage from Casco Bay to Northeast Harbor. Her favorite cruise activities are chasing birds from the floats in Northeast Harbor, sliding on her belly on the seaweed in Pulpit Harbor, and hanging out with her humans at the bars in Boothbay. She is in the water every day from May through October, where her favorite activity is chasing sticks and tennis balls thrown into the water, and then shaking off as close to people as she can. She also excels at dragging her master back to the float after he “falls” in, which is something that, as a retriever, is just in her genes. On her bucket list is to successfully drag a lobster pot to land. She finds it frustrating that they seem to be stuck on something on the bottom, but she keeps trying.
Sandra Bee (a.k.a. Sandy)
Homeport: Gorham, Maine
Handler: Lori Green
This lucky pup accidentally found her current home via the Pixel Fund. The person who was supposed to foster her did not show up, so Lori Green grabbed the crate without looking inside and took it home. Green said she brought the crate inside, opened it up, and the “saddest, ugliest, baldest, smelliest” dog came out, madly wagging her tail. Still, it was love at first sight, and with lots of loving care Sandy has now been transformed. The duo was a bit reluctant about entering this year’s Boatyard Dog contest, since Sandy does not “do” water, nor did she have an act or a lot of tricks at the ready, but rumor has it that they are working hard on something with which to wow the crowd. We have great confidence in this 22-pound dynamo (and her ears). Not only does she now have a stage name—Sandra Bee—she has also promised to get her owner trained in plenty of time because she wants the Pixel Fund (a Maine nonprofit that saves the lives of shelter pets through education, advocacy, and rescue efforts) to get lots of great publicity.
Homeport: South Portland, Maine
Handler: Maureen Furlong
As soon as he heard about the trials, Scout barked and barked until his person agreed to write a letter on his behalf so he could participate. Scout doesn’t just stay at home every day while his humans go off to work; he really does live a “dog’s life.” Every morning he waits eagerly for the moment when he can jump in the car and head to the lake where, for the past year, he has been helping to build a lakeside house. As official job site dog, Scout excels at keeping wildlife away, drooling while begging for food, wandering (or, as he likes to call it, “exploring new territory”), and, of course, swimming. Pond, lake, or ocean, it doesn’t matter, swimming is his favorite activity, even in the middle of winter. He has been known to body surf and stand-up paddleboard, and he is an accomplished dock jumper. Rigorous activities aside, Scout also has a soft side. After a hard day’s work, he likes to sprawl out on the couch and cuddle with his three best friends, his two humans and (shhh!) the cat.
Homeport: Moose River, Maine
Handler: Lindsey Guay
Carolina is a friendly, sweet, silly Dutch shepherd that was rescued by the Pixel Fund to become one of the great loves of her owner’s life. She's a year and a half old but still acts just like a 50-pound puppy. Her family calls her their “mocha mess” because of her beautiful brindled coat. Carolina’s talents consist of fetching baby chickens and (gently) bringing them inside, riding on a snowmobile, and pulling a dog sled. Well, she’s only done the sled pulling once so far, but it’s a start. Recently, she tried to jump off the dock in a unique way: She left her hind end in place while putting her head completely under water. Once she recovered her dignity (more or less) and managed to swim back to shore, she decided that she loves the water. That bodes well for the trials, where either she or her handler will have to get wet!
Judges will be Dale Dyer, of Custom Float Services; Dr. Bjorn Lee, of Pen Bay Veterinary Associates in Rockport; and Joel Neal, co-owner of The Loyal Biscuit, with locations in Rockland, Camden and Belfast. The trials will be spiced up by the verbal antics of emcees Mike Joyce and Alan Sprague, who are also the co-hosts of WERU-FM’s call-in show “Boattalk” (89.9 FM and weru.org).
As always, the Boatyard Dog Trials will offer show attendees a chance to help support animal shelters and competitors will be encouraged to bring shelter donations.