2013 World Championship Boatyard Dog Trials
Sunday, August 11, 10:30 a.m.
The field has been chosen (entries are now closed) for the always zany World Championship Boatyard Dog Trials! The 11th annual running of this pawsome event will kick off with a furry parade of canine competitors at 10:15 on the show grounds. It will feature the newly crowned Maine Sea Goddess and Princess, a flock of puffins pretending to be people, and other surprises. The official trials will 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).
Meet the Competitors
Chewbacca (a.k.a. “Chewie”) - Homeport: Bath, Maine
Four years old, chocolate-colored, and the self-appointed supervisor of the Maine’s First Ship project to build a replica of the Virginia on the banks of the Kennebec River in Bath, Chewbacca is raring to compete. But his entry in the trials almost didn’t happen: in March Chewbacca suffered a near-fatal accident at the work site. A huge oak timber slipped and fell on the passing dog and he was flattened. After a pedal-to-the-metal race to the vet’s office 30 miles away, three veterinarians and a mammal neurologist did all they could to repair his four broken ribs and internal injuries.
That was more than four months ago, and Chewie has made a miraculous recovery. He still reports to work, and his training regimen—swimming in the river as often as possible and chasing a tennis ball as long as someone is willing to throw it—is back in full swing. Chewbacca, is fully recovered, often wet, sometimes energetic, sometimes laid back. Oh—he’s a Labrador retriever, in case you hadn’t guessed.
Fiona (a.k.a. Celtic Cross’ Fiona of Loch Ern) - Homeport: Southwest Harbor, Maine
Fiona was the “Boat Yard Pup” in the July issue of Maine Boats, Homes & Harbors magazine this year; now she plans to win the Boatyard Dog Competition. Despite having the longest name of any of our competitors, she weighs just eight pounds soaking wet. She has been prepping her humans for the trials all fall and winter via weekly agility training, obedience training, AND rally training. After all that, Fiona reports that she will be great at jumping in and out of the tippy dinghy in the “Dinghy Hop” part of the competition. Now, while she can swim, Fiona doesn’t love cold ocean water, but she does love boats, and works hard at keeping everything organized above the waterline. She says that she is also just a tad crazy, which is why she thinks she will clean up at the trials.
After her victory she plans to lounge on the dash next to her trophy, soak in the sun, and see the sights of the Deer Isle Thoroughfare again, one of her favorite places in Maine.
Gatsby - Homeport: Scarborough, Maine
Gatsby is a rare Flying Chocolate Labrador Retriever. She lives with her humans and canine sister in Buxton, Maine, where they have fun! All! The! Time! Although just 2.5 years old, Gatsby already has a job, as president and CEO (Canine Executive Officer) of TBIS (Tennis Ball Investigation Services). She can find tennis balls that are buried, hidden, stolen, and floating, and has solved hundreds of missing tennis ball cases in her short lifetime.
Gatsby just loves the water. In fact, if she had thumbs she’d captain her own boat. She also has many hobbies, but her favorite is dock diving. You can find her on the dock at local competitions and also practicing near home. The best part about dock diving is that she gets to jump after… TENNIS BALLS… and go swimming at the same time. Gatsby likes to mix work with pleasure, and jumps farthest when the crowd goes crazy, which makes her a perfect BYD candidate.
Huckleberry - Homeport: Portland, Maine
Huckleberry is an irresistible, big-hearted, three-year-old male Saint Bernard with a larger-than-life personality. He found his current “furever” home at 16 weeks of age, after he had been placed with Saint Bernard Rescue when his previous owner was diagnosed with terminal cancer. He was very, very sad about that, of course, but now he is thrilled to have a new mum. He thinks she is absolutely perfect because she loves all the same things he does.
And what does Huck love? Lobster fishing aboard his boat Seadonk in Casco Bay, watching the Boston Bruins & Red Sox, swimming, snowball fights, kids, other dogs (even the little ones), cocktail parties, food, and belly rubs! He can be full of rambunctious antics yet will sit on your feet or lie in your lap. His freestyle act at the trials will probably combine his best traits: he is giant, sweet, patient, and gentle, with a tail and a tongue that can clean off a kitchen table. Huckleberry’s keg is full and he’s ready to play!
Otter - Homeport: Wayland, Massachusetts
The reigning World Champion Boatyard Dog, Otter, is a fine specimen of the black Lab-ish variety with a secret talent to go along with the expected duties at which all championship-caliber canines must excel (such as stick chasing, rolling on the beach, supervising the crew, and guarding any young’ns in their care at the beach).
Otter is a poet. A few lines she pawed appear below:
“When we caught wind of the dog trials to be held, we were very excited by what we smelled. If you like a good game of fetch the stick, or enjoy the show of a swim oh-so-quick, hold on to your paddles ladies and gents, we’ve got a crowd pleaser for your event!”
Expect a lyrical entry from this bundle of energy on the big day as she goes all out to defend her title from all comers. Will Otter keep the coveted Pup Cup?
Ruffles - Homeport: Cushing, Maine
Ruffles is a one-year-old Portuguese water dog. She lives in Cushing on Maple Juice Cove, but she and her gang like to spend time hanging out at Olson’s Wharf, gossiping, checking out the cute boy dogs, and watching the lobstermen load and unload traps, gear, and sweetly scented bait (yum!). As part of her training regimen, she has convinced the fishermen to throw rocks for her and she dives to retrieve them. She also has devised a workout in which she jumps overboard to swim with any willing flock of ducks she can find. To build her stamina, she bribes them to paddle along just a couple of feet ahead of her at all times.
She has two goals at the Maine Boats, Homes & Harbors Show. One is to win the crazy dog trials so she has lots to brag about down to the wharf, and the other is to show everyone just how much fun water and boats can be.
Alternate: Polly - Homeport: Stonington, Maine
Polly is a natural canine gymnast just eager to show her stuff at the trials. She hopes she gets a chance to compete, because she just loves to jump, and can’t wait to show off what her dad describes as 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.
What Happens During the Trials? The goal is for each dog to complete three events within the 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 a tennis ball MUST be included in the performance.
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: The freestyle event must include a tennis ball in some way in the performance.
Rule #4: There are no other rules.
Judges will be Dale Dyer of Custom Float Services; Dr. Bjorn Lee of Pen Bay Veterinary Associates in Rockport; and Gretchen Piston Ogden, Editor at Large of Maine Boats, Homes & Harbors magazine. The trials will again 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).
New this year is the “Boatyard Dog Wannabe” Wagon on show grounds. It will profile six shelter dogs who would just love to find permanent homes (and maybe one day get a chance to compete in the Boatyard Dog Trials), and will offer show attendees a chance to help the shelters by “voting” with money for their favorite shelter dog. All proceeds will benefit local animal shelters, and the winning dog will get “Wannabe” barking rights.
To learn about the 2012 Boatyard Dog Trials, click here.
We appreciate the support from our Boatyard Dog® Lead Sponsor: Custom Float Services, and from our Supporting Sponsors: Sea Bags & The Loyal Biscuit, and welcome new supporters Bell’s Furry Friends Photography and Time Warner Media to the pack.