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updated: 9/1/2011 3:46 PM

Top dog disc competitors coming to Naperville

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  • Disc dogs from across the globe will compete in Naperville Saturday to qualify for two major world championships.

      Disc dogs from across the globe will compete in Naperville Saturday to qualify for two major world championships.
    Daily Herald File Photo

  • Video: Naperville dog disc contest

  • Video: Ashley Whippet in action

 
 

The fur will be flying at a breakneck pace this week in Naperville.

Some of the best disc-catching dogs in the world will show their stuff from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 3, when the Windy City K9 Classic comes to the Grand Pavilion along Naperville's downtown Riverwalk. A second contest, the 2011 Ashley Whippet Invitational follows from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 4, at the same location. The top five performers from each event earn points toward their respective championships, held in October in Missouri and Texas, respectively.

"We're expecting anywhere from 100 to 150 teams from all over the country because both of these events are qualifiers to world championships," said event coordinator Tom Wehrli. "It's a huge draw, so Naperville will be the place to be in the disc dog world."

Dog owners and their canines vie in novice, intermediate or open divisions. In addition to the toss-and-throw that all the teams do, owners in the open division show off their pets' talents in a two-minute, high-flying freestyle event.

Freestyle throwers toss up to seven discs with dogs doing such tricks as jumping off their owner's back to intercept the Frisbee or catching multiple discs.

Wehrli said the teams each will be judged on the drive and athleticism of the dog, the ingenuity of the disc-thrower, the sequence and flow of the two-minute routine and an overall composite.

Nancy Faust, former White Sox organist of 41 years, is expected to throw the first disc to launch the weekend event.

The founder of the dog disc-catching sport, Alex Stein, also will attend. Wehrli said Stein caught the attention of a major promoter when he and his dog, Ashley Whippet, took the field at Dodger Stadium 36 years ago.

"It's awesome that he's coming in and continues to support these events," Wehrli said.

Any kind of dog is welcome, but high-energy dogs such as border collies, Australian shepherds and just plain mutts do best, Wehrli said. The Naperville resident noted he has gotten all his award-winning dogs from shelters.

Registration is open up to the day of the event.

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