October 23, 2014

Elyria
Partly sunny
53°F
test

When dogs fly, a splash follows

Labradors leap and shepherds soar as dock dogs compete in Sheffield

SHEFFIELD — Colleen Hickerson drove a whopping 900-plus miles — that’s more than 14 hours in a car — to watch her dog soar.
Hickerson was one of the many who flocked to Sheffield on Friday to participate in the Buckeye Dock Dogs competition in the parking lot of Gander Mountain in the Cobblestone Plaza off of Abbe Road.
The event is sort of like a long jump competition for dogs, but instead of landing in dirt, the dogs leap out as far as they can from a dock before plummeting into a swimming pool.
“I love the Dock Dog competition,” said Hickerson of from Coldwater, Miss., whose dog, Jeb, leaped an impressive
18 feet, apparently recovered from the long trip. “It makes the dog happy, which makes me happy.”
On Friday, 35 dogs were
registered for the competition.
Today, the competition will begin at 9 a.m. with the farthest jumpers competing in Sunday’s dog-leaping finals. The winning dog will win the owner $225.
Bill Helfer, treasurer for the Buckeye Dock Dogs organization, also happens to own one of the top contenders.
His chocolate Lab, Jazzie, leaped a whopping 23 feet before splashing into the water.
“She is considered a master title dog,” the proud owner said. “She has five jumps over 20 feet. I call her my obsessive-compulsive retriever.”
Helfer has traveled 1,300 miles to enter his dog in Dock Dogs competitions. He said the trick to training an award-winning dog is to start with small jumps and add length as you go.
The top 24 dogs will be split into two categories for the finals Sunday, with the top 12 moving on to the pro competition. The remaining 12 will be entered into the amateur competition, but will still have a chance to walk away with $100.
Distance is measured from where the point where the dog’s tail and spine meet hits the water, said Tina McLaughlin, president of Buckeye Dock Dogs.
And if you think these dogs aren’t talented, consider this: The longest jump on record was by a greyhound named Country who jumped 28 feet.
Sandy Williams said she was not disappointed that her yellow Lab jumped only 13 feet on Friday.
She was so proud of her dog, she was walking around in a baby-blue T-shirt with a picture of a dog that looked an awful lot like her own.
“I found out about this competition on the Internet,” Williams said. “He always had a love for the water, so I thought he would be a natural.”
The competition opens for registration at 9 a.m. today and will remain open until 40 dogs register. The Sunday event also starts at 9 a.m.
Contact Ben Norris at 329-7119 or bnorris@chroniclet.com.

063007dog.jpg STEVE MANHEIM / CHRONICLE
Vegas, owned by Sue Wolfendale of New Cumberland, W.Va., retrieves a ball in the Buckeye Dock Dogs competition in Sheffield.
Check out various dogs taking their dives
at the competition in Sheffield.