10-year-old Taylor Sharb is one of DockDogs’ youngest competitors at the GoPro Mountain Games
And she's winning medals
Taylor Sharb shouts from the edge of the DockDogs platform at the GoPro Mountain Games in Vail as her grandfather’s golden retriever River barrels down the runway. He jumps after his yellow ball, and lands with a splash. Taylor is 10 years old and will be a fifth-grader in the fall.
She’s competing at the GoPro Mountain Games with her grandparents, Dave and Debra Bedia, and she’s one of a few kids who entered competitions. Per official DockDogs rules, handlers have to be 7 years old to participate.
Taylor started training last year, and the Mountain Games marks her second official competition. On Thursday, she scored a first place and a second place in the junior waves. On Friday, River jumped bigger than he did Saturday, which got the family excited because usually he jumps shorter after a few days of competing.
Taylor runs only with River. The Bedia’s have three dogs. Charlie, their emotional support dog, stayed home in Colorado Springs with Taylor’s mom. Debra’s dog, Winter, is much more powerful, and Taylor wants to train with her.
“I might let her, if Winter doesn’t take her down the dock,” Debra said.
The Bedias moved to Colorado from Vermont in 1999. Dave had a good job offer from the military, and he had been wanting to move back since he graduated from Adams State University. Now, Dave, Debra, Taylor and her mom all live together. Taylor and her grandparents all compete together, but Dave lets his granddaughter run with his dog.
Taylor’s favorite part of competing in DockDogs is throwing balls and watching her dog swim.
“And I also get to spend time with my grandparents,” she said.
Taylor has ADD, so her grandparents love to get her outside to help keep her focused. Taylor and Dave like to ski and shoot .22s together. In the summer, she and Dave go roller-skiing on paved paths, but Taylor still sticks to regular blades. She also used to do archery competitions, but she prefers DockDogs because she gets longer breaks.
“During archery competitions, normally you only get a few seconds for a break,” she said “And my arms hurt after archery.”
“This is like a team sport for you and River,” Dave said.
When she’s not outside, Taylor likes to draw, color, read and write. Her favorite book is “Black Beauty,” but sometimes she doesn’t understand the big words and always has to start rereading from the beginning. Her favorite subject in school is math.
“I’m really good at fractions, except multiplying and dividing. I haven’t really learned that yet,” she said.
Between competitions, she and her grandparents retire to the team rest area. They bring a tent, camp chairs, an outdoor rug, a cooler and crates for the dogs.
When she grows up, Taylor thinks she wants to be a vet technician.
“I like animals,” she said.
Entertainment editor Casey Russell can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.