A dog makes its way through the agility station during the first annual Pawzitive Outdoor Games Saturday at the Rhinelander-Oneida County Airport. (Kayla Breese/River News)
8/18/2014 7:30:00 AM Dogs have their day at Pawzitive Outdoor Games
Kayla Breese Feature Writer
Frequent downpours could not dampen the enthusiasm as Northwoods residents brought their dogs to compete in the first annual Pawzitive Outdoor Games, held Saturday at the Rhinelander-Oneida County Airport.
Pet parents enjoyed watching their dogs participate in agility, Pier Pups' dock diving and the radar run. The event was sponsored by Pawz n' Clawz Natural Pet Food and Grooming of Rhinelander.
Kris Riebe and her American Eskimos Boo and Jeeba competed in agility.
Jeeba, who has participated in the sport for five years, won a blue ribbon. He also ran in the radar run, clocking a speed of 22 miles per hour.
"It was a lot of fun, I hope they do it again next year," she said. "Everybody is with dogs, everybody is happy."
Each event was fenced off so dogs could be let loose in a safe area.
The radar run enclosure was narrow and the speed sign was provided by the Rhinelander Police Department. Orange ribbons were tied so dogs could see that the area was blocked off when they completed their dash.
"I think it was very well prepared, they did a great job for their first year," said Sharon Wiese.
Her Aussie Doodle, Billy Jo, ran in the radar run and hit a top speed of 23 mph. She also competed in beginner's agility.
"I love [Pawzitive Outdoor Games], I love it. I think it's a great thing for the community and I'm hoping we do it again next year," Wiese said.
Danielle Riebe's dog, Samson, ran 23 miles per hour in the radar run and participated in the dock dive.
"He liked it, it was fun. He probably wished he could have done it a couple more times," Riebe said.
The dock diving station, provided by Pier Pups, was filled with 14,000 gallons of water.
Retrievers dominated the event, leaping after their favorite toys and making big splashes.
Some dogs had second thoughts about plunging into the water and walked down the exit ramp instead.
Radar run and agility had several sets for beginners, intermediate and advanced participants, with the winners receiving ribbons and moving on to the finals.
The winner of the agility competition received a year's worth of by-Nature dry dog food and other prizes including one, hour-long private training session per month for a year, gift certificates and gift baskets from local businesses.
Pelican Puck, a Labrador owned by Gary Storms, won the dock diving competition and a year's worth of Zignature dry dog food. Pelican Puck leaped 17 feet 4 inches.
A greyhound named Ernie, owned by Tony Gloudemars, won "The Fastest Dog in the Northwoods" radar run, earning a year supply of Canidae dry dog food. Ernie ran 28 miles per hour.
Carol Lofquist of TLC Dog Training thought Pawzitive Outdoor Games went very well and she liked seeing everyone take time out of their busy lives to have fun with their canine family member.
She estimated 50 dogs went through the agility station.
About 30 dogs participated in the radar run and 50 plunged into the water for dock diving.
"There's been all sorts of different breeds, everybody's participating in all the events, it's been a pretty good equal distribution of participation between agility and fastest dog and the Pier Pups' Dock Diving," said Dan Gallagher, owner of Pawz n' Clawz.
Lofquist was equally pleased with the inaugural event.
"[The turnout] really shows that the community really wants something like this and also what I like about it is that it goes to three different non-profit organizations," Lofquist said. "Dan and I collaborated together to make something happen for these non-profits to make a difference in the community."
Bark for Life will be held this weekend and all proceeds from the agility registration will go to that event.
Part of the racing entry fees went to the Rhinelander Police Department K-9 Unit and the rest went to Bark for Life. The police department will put that money toward raining for canine officer Drago's and equipment for the K-9 Unit.
The local 4-H club supplied food for people and homemade treats for dogs. All the money raised from food sales went back to 4-H.
"I just appreciate everybody coming and making this a fun event I just love how people take the time to be with their family," Lofquist said. "We got room out here at the airport and if it wasn't for the airport (allowing) us come here and do this event it would never have happened and all the sponsors we got we just never would have got it and I appreciate it immensely."
"I'd like to thank all the sponsors for their help in making this possible and they've all been very generous in their time and effort and we hope to have them all back next year along with more," Gallagher added.
Gallagher and Lofquist are hoping to add new events next year.
"This is going to be an annual event, we are hoping to do a Saturday- Sunday and maybe do a fly ball tournament, we have a lot of things in the hopper for what we want to do, maybe a frisbee competitions," Gallagher said.
Gallagher also noted the fastest dog competition will be broken down by weight class next year so smaller dogs can participate and win within their weight class.
"This is our 'thank you' to Rhinelander and the community for helping us be successful in our first year and we're looking for this to be our annual anniversary event," he said.
Kayla Breese may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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