DockDogs of summer set the tone at GoPro Mountain Games |

DockDogs of summer set the tone at GoPro Mountain Games

Little Rascal gets some serious air during the GoPro Mountain Games Dockdogs Big Air Thursday in Vail. There were multiple heats for each Big Air event.
Chris Dillmann / Vail Daily

One of the reasons we love dogs is because they remind us of our own basic instincts, especially when it comes to having fun. They are the first to leap off the dock, steal the ball and dive into a play session. They are the ice breakers in every situation, and the leaders that us humans eventually follow.

Did you really think it was any other way?

The same applies to our seasons. A dog doesn’t see summer as the period of days between two equinoxes, defined by months and ordinal numbers. They see it as a time when the weather is warm, the water is warm enough, and there’s opportunity to experience a whole new level of fun.

In a dog’s mind, summer is already here. You don’t need to be Cesar Milan to see that. All you have to do is go see all the dogs having fun this weekend at the GoPro Mountain Games. They will tell you everything you need to know about the changing of seasons.

And this year’s Mountain Games provides several opportunities for just that. The schedule of events is drooling with dogs. Don’t miss all the fun this weekend at the RVing DockDogs Arena in the gondola yard at Lionshead. There will be dogs on the Big Air course basically every day, every other hour throughout the event-filled weekend, sending their longest jumps into the pool. But that’s not the only canine competition; The Speed Retrieve is a timed jump & swim canine competition; Dueling Dogs is an exciting head-to-head jump and swim race, and the K9 Superwall will test the vertical limitations of each canine competitor.

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Maleki from team Hawaiian Chaos retrieves the toy during Big Air Thursday in Vail.
Chris Dillmann / Vail Daily

Meet the competition

To the first-time GoPro Mountain Games visitor: We are serious about our DockDogs. Feel free to come and see why. This isn’t your average dog park play session; these dogs are trained incredibly well, have impressive athletic skills and have teams. Yes, teams, with names like Hawaiian Chaos. Be on the lookout for Maui, Maleki and Kai, and their handlers Ryan and Cassie Swift, who have been regulars to the competition for years. This year, the team will be introducing Kai to his first inaugural Mountain Games competition.

Also keep an eye out for Team Splashdown, led by Sugar, a nine-year-old yellow lab and owner/handler and Rocky Mountain DockDogs co-founder Tracy Burlingame. While many of Sugar’s competitors took a hiatus in 2020, Sugar continued to compete and set an all-time personal record in Speed Retrieving. But that’s not Sugar’s only discipline; also check her out in the Dueling Dogs and Orijen DockDogs Outdoor Big Air competitions, where she will be showing her fellow yellow protégé, Drift, how it’s done.

Houdini is one of the many lovable dogs available for adoption this weekend at the GoPro Mountain Games.
Special to the Daily

The souvenir of a lifetime

For those who decide they want to raise some DockDogs of their own, there will be plenty of rescue pups hoping to find their furever homes at the Eagle County Animal Services (ECAS) booth on Gore Creek Drive throughout the weekend. The booth will be open from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Friday, and then from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. You can see the full list of dogs available for adoption here.


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