Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Discs, Dogs Do Mix

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Discs, Dogs Do Mix

Article excerpt

Byline: Dan Scanlan, Times-Union staff writer

The fur and the Frisbees will be flying Saturday night as the eighth annual Florida State Canine Frisbee Disc Championship takes off at Mandarin High School's football stadium, with more than 100 canine and human teams scheduled to compete.

As those dogs and their owners leap, toss and catch on the field starting at 5 p.m., someone famous will be in the judging stand -- the man tournament director Lawrence Frederick says started the sport in 1974.

Alex Stein and his whippet, Ashley, sneaked into Dodger Stadium during a baseball game and played Frisbee uninterrupted for eight minutes in front of 50,000 spectators and a national television audience.

"From then on, he has been the father of the sport," Frederick said. "From a competitors' standpoint, it will be a draw because there are lots of people in the sport who have never had the chance to meet him. He is like a legend."

Stein went on to win the Canine Frisbee Disc World Championships in 1975, 1976 and 1977, entertain at the White House, perform at Super Bowl XII's halftime show and start the Ashley Whippet Invitational to promote canine Frisbee disc events.

Last year's Mandarin event had 96 handler/canine teams from seven states competing, including two world champions and a dozen past and present world finalists. This year, more are scheduled to compete in novice, intermediate and open divisions.

The first two divisions will compete only in the throw and catch, in which players try to complete throws and catches on a 40-meter field for a minute, with more points awarded for longer completions. More experienced open competitors will also compete in freestyle, allowing them to execute various trick throws and catches in a choreographed routine set to music.

Player registration begins at 3 p. …

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