Most long-standing festivals tend to develop traditional fan favorites, events that repeatedly attract large crowds and a lot of hype. After only two years, the Dock Dogs competition has emerged as one such event.
You can think of the Dock Dogs competition as a track and field contest for canines, featuring three areas of competition for pups and their masters.
The Big Air Open Waves Competition is something of an augmented doggie long jump, with a dock runway and a 27,000-gallon tank instead of a sand pit. Dogs of all varieties take off, charging after a chosen ball or beloved toy, before carefully placing one last foot and launching into the water. Although the majority of competitors are labs, the current world record holder is a greyhound named Country, who made an impressive 28 ft. 10 in. leap in 2005.
The scoring technology is a feat even within itself. Unique to Dock Dogs, a proprietary advanced digital video is used along with digitally enhanced measurement systems software to accurately pinpoint where each competitor's hind-end reaches the water.
Less advanced scoring mechanisms are required for the Speed Retrieval Competition. With a simple stopwatch, the four-legged athletes participate in a run-jump-swim-return version of the good ole game of fetch.
The Extreme Vertical is another fun event, for both spectators and the four-legged competitors. The competition pits dog against dog in a high-jump contest, with the pup leaping the highest taking home the prize. Last year, Andy Mace became the world record holder for the event at the SEWE competition.
New this year is the Celebrity Dock Dogs competition. Local celebrities scheduled to participate include TJ Phillips of WEZL, Brad Franko of WCBD News 2, Live Five WCSC's Tracey Amick, and Bryce Donovan of The Post and Courier.