It all goes back to the human fascination with flying and outer space. The fact that, as we learned in 2006, Pluto isn’t really a planet doesn’t take a thing away from the immense enjoyment humans and dogs share tossing and catching a disc in the air. Following the 1930 discovery of Pluto the Planet and the subsequent 1931 naming of our favorite Disney pooch, Walter (Fred) Morrison arrived on the scene having been heavily influenced by the 1950′s flying saucer craze.
Applying a little aeronautical engineering he picked up while serving in World War II, he modified the original tin pie plate college students had been tossing into the air around campuses. In 1955, Morrison produced the first plastic flying disc, which he called the Pluto Platter. A few years later, after partnering with Wham-O Toys, the name was changed to Frisbee, a nod to the Frisbie Pie Company credited with making the first tin pie plates to be thrown around campus by Yale students.
Fast forward to the early 1970s, way before security measures were in place which today would prohibit a baseball game from being interrupted by such a spontaneous event as the first dog disc exhibit.Enter Ashley Whippet who, with Frisbee cohort Alex Stein, dashed onto Dodger stadium centerfield at the bottom of the eighth inning.The crowds loved the show.Stein was arrested for trespassing and fined $250, but Catch & Fetch competition was born.
The 2009 Ashley Whippet Championships will be held over Labor Day weekend near Chicago. If the event is anything like the 2008 championship held in Southern California, fans will be treated to exciting acrobatics, leaps and catches, and professionally choreographed routines.Last year’s winner was Harley Davidson, a border collie hailing from Jacksonville, Florida who, along with his team-mate, Lawrence Frederick, put on an awesome freestyle show to beat out the defending champs, Rusty and Yoshihiro Ishida from Japan.
If you can’t make it to Chicago in September, be sure to check out an event close to your neighborhood this summer for some exciting canine entertainment. We’ll be attending our local championshiphosted by Southern California K9 Air Corps, on July 25th in Torrance, California, home of i Love Dogs.
If you are hosting or attending an event, please post a comment with the details!!