Rockland, Maine – Maine Boats, Homes & Harbors Show organizers are pleased to announce that the finalists have been chosen from the large group of canines who applied to compete in the World Championship Boatyard Dog® Trials. The trials will take place on Sunday, August 12, during the tenth annual Maine Boats, Homes & Harbors Show, which runs August 10-12, 2012, at Harbor Park in Rockland. Tickets (good all day and for the entire show) are $12; those under 12 get in free.
A perennial crowd favorite (who doesn’t love watching people act silly with their pets?), the World Championship Boatyard Dog Trials are a zany head-to-paw “competition” among the cream of Maine’s canine corps. The field of competing dogs is pre-selected; the organizers emphasize that for liability reasons ONLY those dogs will be allowed onto show grounds. They ask that all other pets be left at home to avoid disappointment.
The kick-off parade at 10:15 a.m. will be led by bagpiper Chris Pinchbeck and include the contestants, Shriners in go karts, Puffins from Project Puffin, and the newly crowned Maine Sea Goddess. There will also be a flyover of antique biplanes from Owls Head Transportation Museum. The trials themselves—equal parts entertainment, silliness, and good, wet fun—will begin at 10:30 a.m. in the inner harbor.
Competing dogs (and their people) will be held to uncompromising standards that focus on each dog’s combination of style and pizzazz (or lack thereof). The trials consist of three events: the “Dockside Obstacle Course,” in which dog and handler negotiate a maze of lobster traps, piles of rope, and other funky dockside paraphernalia; the “Dinghy Hop,” in which dog and handler scramble in and out of a very tippy dinghy that’s tethered to a float; and a “Freestyle” segment, during which each dog (and their person) shows off his or her special talents…. No holds are barred for this segment, but a hula hoop MUST be included in the performance and there is a time limit of eight minutes per entrant.
There are but three simple rules:
Rule #1: Either dog or handler must finish contest completely soaked.
Rule #2: Cheating is not only tolerated but encouraged.
Rule #3: The freestyle event must incorporate a hula hoop.
The Field of Competitors:
Originally from the Deep South, Duff, who was rescued by the collective powers of Facebook, is extremely happy to now have a home in Maine. This self-described “black mutt” probably has some Lab ancestry, but even with water dog in his genes, Duff’s biggest Boatyard Dog Trials challenge will be overcoming his inborn fear of getting wet. As he said, “Hey, you would be afraid too if you had lived in Alabama where there are gators, snakes, crawfish, and even swamp monsters!” Duff has been working hard to overcome his aquaphobia in time for the competition, but wishes the trials were in the winter because he’d rather play ice hockey with his mom, who is a star defensive player on The Nor'easters team and the current holder of the coveted MCP (Most Comic Player) trophy. Another skill he has developed is called “The Look.” Using it, he has managed to get away with breaking most any rule at home; no telling how (or if) it will work on the tough panel of judges at the trials.
Born on St. Patrick’s Day, Greta Maye says that she is trustworthy, steadfast, and mute by choice. This helps make her an excellent crewmember of the *Mimi Rose, a 32' wooden cutter that hails from Brooklin, Maine. Who wouldn’t like a crewmember that never talked back? Her duties on board include eating all the dog food and protecting her people from dragonflies. She describes herself as “fierce but fair, the epitome of grace,” and adds that she has no time for cats or squirrels, but can be easily distracted by a passing bumble bee. At a mere 20 pounds, she is a sleek and athletic specimen of the Boston terrier breed. In fact, her motto is: Small. Is. Great. Look out, all you big dogs!
Another entrant in the “small is beautiful” category of Boatyard Dogs is Julio (Down by the School Yard). He weighs all of five pounds soaking wet, but reportedly acts just like a BIG dog. Julio’s ancestors originated in México, but he assures us that he is a born and raised Mainah' and has lived on the coast of Maine all of his life (thus far). A trickster by nature, Julio is determined to win a trophy so he can keep up with his big sister, previous Boatyard Dog Trials competitor Gracie O’Malley (the Pirate Queen). Where Gracie gets stage fright, Julio gets determined—a personality trait that he plans to combine with a love of cheating to bring home the bacon…err…the title of World Champion Boatyard Dog. If he doesn’t win, he threatens to leave everyone with “that song” ringing in their ears. Forever.
A fine specimen of the black Lab-ish variety, Otter has a secret talent to go along with the expected duties at which all championship quality canines must excel (such as stick chasing and guarding the young’ns from getting their feet wet at the beach). She is a poet. We excerpt a few lines she pawed for us here, and expect a lyrical entry from this bundle of energy on the big day. “When we caught wind of the dog trials to be held, we were very excited by what we smelled. If you like a good game of fetch the stick, or enjoy the show of a swim oh-so-quick, hold on to your paddles ladies and gents, we’ve got a crowd pleaser for your event!”
She’s baaaack. That Powerhouse of Pint-sized Pupsuasion, that Champion of Chihuahuas, that 11 (okay, 12) pounds of muscle, brains and bedsprings. That’s right, Pixel is a returning competitor to the trials. Since last we saw her, she has been hard at work as CEO of her own non-profit corporation, saving lives and advocating for her fellow shelter pets, but she hasn’t forgotten how to have fun. She has been perfecting a new routine to awe and amaze the crowd and to make the other competitors tuck tail and run. Pixel wants all to know that her talents and winning ways have not gone unnoticed by those in high places. She is much sought-after by world leaders for her wisdom, problem-solving ability, and negotiating skill. In spite of her fame, Ms. P is a hardworking, down-to-earth gal who is very much a devoted family member and advocate. She is planning a nationwide initiative next year to attack shelters and her efforts at the show will be designed to bring attention to the issues and to raise funds for her programs. Oh, and she is also actively working to achieve world peace, all the while shouldering the duties of First Dog on the family’s Pearson 303.
Truffle & Puff
Or is it Puffle and Truff? Either way, this pair of Portuguese water dogs was born in Bowdoinham, and they are proud to point out that “ boat sense” is in their DNA. They learned almost immediately to respond appropriately to the Captain’s commands: Aboard! Ashore! Cockpit! Below! Most useful, perhaps, is Foredeck! which is the area they use as their…err…shall we just say “facilities?” when confined to the boat. Being social creatures, one of their favorites is Boat-up!, since that means to transfer from one vessel to another. They are thrilled to have been chosen to compete, and win or lose, wish the following for each of their fellow competitors, “May all of your rides feature open windows and all your hot days offer a spot for a cool dip.”
While the 2011 Defending World Champions, Fenway and her person Officer Joe Neal of the Rockland Police Department, will not be competing this year due to other pressing engagements (and a desire to keep Neal’s uniform dry!), they will be in the parade and will be the course fore-runners. Fenway has reportedly told event organizers that she has stepped aside to allow another dog a chance at the coveted “Pup Cup” perpetual trophy.
Speaking of trophies, every dog is a “winner” at the trials (goody bags for all!), but the 2012 World Champion will be featured in Maine Boats, Homes & Harbors magazine, since the popular Boatyard Dog® column is where all this silly fun got its start. The champ also keeps the cherished revolving “Pup Cup” trophy for one year.
Special thanks to our sponsors: Custom Float Services of Portland is the lead sponsor of the BYD Trials. The Bark magazine is the media sponsor. Supporting sponsors Sea Bags, of Portland; The Loyal Biscuit Co., of Rockland; and Planet Dog of Portland will provide goody bags to all contestants. We would also like to acknowledge Crypton for providing gifts for both the overall winner and the People’s Choice winner.
Judges will be: Dale Dyer of Custom Float Services; Lucinda Lang of Legacy Properties Sotheby’s International in Camden; Dr. Bjorn Lee of Pen Bay Veterinary Associates in Rockport; and Gretchen Piston Ogden, Managing Editor of Maine Boats, Homes & Harbors magazine.
The trials will again be spiced up by the verbal antics of emcees Mike Joyce and Alan Sprague, the garrulous co-hosts of WERU-FM’s call-in show “Boattalk” (89.9 FM and weru.org). Mike is a self-employed boatbuilder and sailor, has never met a dog he didn’t like, and isn’t afraid to get wet. Alan is also a self-employed boatbuilder in the Mount Desert Island area. He and his wife have three cats; all of whom have declined (on principle) to attend such silliness as the Boatyard Dog Trials.
The “People’s Choice” Wagon on show grounds will once again allow show attendees a chance to “vote” for their favorite canine contender. Monetary votes can be cast throughout the weekend, with one dollar equaling one vote. All proceeds will benefit local animal shelters, and the winning dog will get “People’s Choice” barking rights.
The Maine Boats, Homes & Harbors Show was founded in 2003 by Maine Boats, Homes & Harbors magazine. Held annually during the second weekend of August in Rockland, Maine, the show attracts thousands of attendees from all over the country and world. Show hours: Friday and Saturday, August 10 and 11, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sunday, August 12, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Admission is $12 at the gate, under 12 free. Advance tickets are available online until August 1. Please Note: NO PETS will be allowed on show grounds (except the pre-qualified Boatyard Dog entrants on Sunday morning). For more information about the show, its exhibitors, and collaborative community events, visit www.maineboats.com.