To be held at Cartersville’s Dellinger Park from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, the contest will award championship titles in the super open freestyle and super pro toss and fetch divisions. This weekend’s event will feature 150 teams — consisting of a dog and its handler — from nine countries.
“[The public] will see the freestyle format, [which] is choreographed to music [for] two minutes,” said Melissa Heeter, a Rydal resident and president of the event’s organizer, WOOF! Sports USA. “They’ll see a variety of moves or tricks, [for example] over the body, where the dog clears the body ... and [vaulting] where the dog touches the body first and then jumps. ... [There also will be a] team movement element — that is where the dog and the person move simultaneously across the field. So that could be where the dog leaps backwards through the person’s legs or the dog back circles around the body, which is circling with their [rear] first or maybe the dog will stand on its hind legs and walk to or away from the owner. And that’s where the canine freestyle dancing people will excel.
“So we have a variety of competitors this year. We have competitors that are what I call expert disc handlers and then I have a variety of competitors that are expert dog handlers and then I have a variety of competitors that are what we call canine freestyle dancing experts. So the people who do really well create their entire routine around their dog’s ability to showcase their dog’s best ability and their own personal strengths.”
Along with watching the competitions free of charge, area residents also will have several opportunities to participate in the disc action. Individuals and their canines can compete in the beginner toss and fetch division Saturday for $10 or the dog agility and lure coursing offerings for nominal fees throughout the weekend. Registration will begin at Dellinger Park, 100 Pine Grove Road in Cartersville, at 8:30 a.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. Sunday.
“I think the most important thing that people will see and hopefully take home to their own family pet is that they can do something with their dog, get active with their dog whether it’s a simple game of catch or trying one of the fun sports that are out there,” Heeter said, adding there also will be a pet parade on Sunday at 1 p.m. “We’re having a lure coursing for fun. We’re having dog agility and beginner toss and fetch competition. So we’re hoping that they can come and participate in those things all weekend long and go home and get out and get active with their own dog.”
Along with showcasing the disc dog sport, this weekend’s event also will serve as a fundraiser for the Etowah Valley Humane Society. Along with concession sales, proceeds raised from the Strut Your Pup dog show also will support the EVHS.
Spectators can enter their dogs in the Strut Your Pup offering, which is supported by Bartow County 4-H and organized by 17-year-old Kaitlyn Drexler.
With the contest being held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, individuals can register their dogs and compete in Strut Your Pup throughout the four-hour period. To enter, there is a $5 cost for each of the four categories: best costume, best trick, biggest dog and smallest dog. The first place winners in each competition will be awarded prizes and the second and third place entrants will receive certificates.
“Ever since we were little, we’ve always supported the Humane Society,” said Drexler, whose brother Joshua’s Boy Scout troop is participating in the U.S. Disc Dog World Finals’ flag ceremony as well as assisting her with the dog show. “We’ve taken in and adopted animals.
“Living here in Bartow County, the Humane Society is very underappreciated, and because it’s a [nonprofit] organization, it survives solely on donations and fundraisers. And with the economy so bad the past few years, they really need donations. So I wanted to do something good because we love animals. This was the best idea I could come up with and I really love it.”
For more information, visit www.woofsports.com or call Heeter at 770-386-6184. The event also will be streamed live at www.worldofdogsports.com and www.woofsports.com.