June 20 • 03:56 PM

Ultimate Air Dogs fly into Imlay City

Canine competition coming to 24th annual Woods-N-Waters News event


September 01, 2010
IMLAY CITY — Look...up in the sky. Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it's the "Ultimate Air Dogs."

Founded by former Detroit Tigers pitcher Milt Wilcox, Ultimate Air Dogs returns to the 24th Annual Woods-N-Water News Outdoor Weekend, Sept. 10-12 at the Eastern Michigan Fairgrounds.

Living up to the Air Dogs' motto, "When Dogs Fly," dozens of canine athletes will compete by jumping their maximum distances into a waiting pool of water.

"This will be a show fit for television," says Wilcox, who helped pitch the Tigers to the World Series and World Championship in 1984. "It will be like those shows seen on ESPN or Versus.

"The 'W-N-W News Weekend' is a perfect venue for our Ultimate Air Games," Wilcox adds. "The majority of our competitors are hunting dogs in peak physical condition."

Under the terms of the competition, the dog's handler throws a buoyant, retrievable, non-living object of his choice into the pool; either before or while commanding the dog to "go get the bird."

Contestants must pre-register to enter the "Splash" or competitive round, where each dog/handler team gets two jumps.

Meanwhile, a pair of expert judges will stand alongside the pool, ready to measure the distance the dog jumps, from the edge of the dock to where the dog's hind-end breaks the water.

The better of the two jumps will count as the competing animal's "score." The scores will be ranked by divisions based on distance attained.

For example, dogs attaining distances of 1 foot to 9 feet, 11 inches is ranked "Novice." Those jumping distances of 10 feet to 14 feet, 11 inches is ranked "Junior" division; 15 feet to 19 feet, 11 inches, "Senior" and 20 feet to 22 feet, 5 inches; is "Master." Dogs achieving distances of 22 feet, 6 inches or greater fall into the "Ultimate" category.

Woods-N-Waters News Editor Tom Campbell says the Ultimate Air Games continue to be one of the Weekend's most popular family attractions.

"If your dog loves to catapult into the water, this sport is for you," says Campbell. "There are no bad jumps. If you can get your dog to jump off a portable dock standing five or six feet high, into a pool and in front of a cheering crowd, you should be proud."

The Ultimate Air Games is just one highlight of the 2010 Woods-N-Water News Weekend Sept. 10-12 at the fairgrounds in Imlay City.

Show hours are Friday, Sept. 10 from 5-9 p.m.; Saturday, Sept. 11 from 9 a.m.-7 p.m.; and Sunday, Sept. 12 from 9 a.m.-5 p.m.

Admission is $7 per person, including parking. Children 12 and under are admitted free.

For more information, visit the website at:

Tom Wearing started at the Tri-City Times in 1989, covering the Village of Capac as a beat reporter. He later served stints as assistant editor and editor. Today, he covers Imlay City and Almont as a staff writer. He enjoys music and plays drums and sings with various musical groups in the Detroit Metropolitan area.
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