Vail Teva Games: Pooches fly high at dog jump | VailDaily.com

Vail Teva Games: Pooches fly high at dog jump

Melanie Wong
Vail, CO Colorado
TMG dog jumping JF 6/7/09
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VAIL, Colorado – Ruff! Woofwoofwoof! Ruff!

Translation? Throw the toy already.

Rouser, an 18-month-old golden tetriever, could barely stay seated at the end of the dock platform, waiting for handler Steve Roessler to throw a toy into the water pool. The second Roessler gave his dog the OK, Rouser took off like a rocket after the toy, launching himself into the air for an cheer-raising 24 feet, 7 inches.

Roessler pumped his fist in the air at the jump, and sure enough, the jump was enough to clinch the big air distance jump competition.

The cacophony of yips and yaps from numerous excited dogs filled the air at Vail’s Golden Peak Sunday afternoon as many gathered to see who would be named top dog at the Teva Mountain Games. In the amateur, semi-pro and pro divisions, about 125 dogs competed.

In the pro dog big air competition, where dogs ran off a dock to fetch a toy in the water, several handlers were pleasantly surprised at their dogs’ performances. Roessler, of Elko, Minn., said that Rouser’s jump was a personal best.

Jon Langdon, of Arvada, brought his 2-year-old Belgian Malinois, Remy, for the dog’s first competition. In the initial qualifiers, Remy jumped far enough to be placed in the pro dog category. Any dog, regardless of experience, who jumps further than 22 feet is placed in the pro category.

“He surprised me,” Langdon said. “I was expecting a good 20 out of him, and he jumped 23 feet and 2 inches.”

The jump placed Remy fourth in the distance-jump competition.

Jet, another Belgian malinois from the Front Range, dominated in some of the other contests, including the vertical jump competition. He leaped 6 feet, 2 inches for the win. In the speed-retrieve competition, where dogs are timed in how quickly they jump into the water and retrieve a duck at the end of the pool, Jet won the competition with a time of 6.608 seconds.

The wins earned him the Iron Dog title, for the best results in all three events.

The athletic dogs and big splashes drew big crowds, including Maria Lvova of Russia, who was busy catching the dogs in mid-air on her camera.

“This is really fun. I didn’t even know this kind of competition existed,” she said. “I’m definitely sending these pictures to my mom.”

Durango resident Amy Capsay entered her black labrador, Ringer, in the amateur dog jump competition, but stuck around to watch the pro dogs in action.

“These dogs are just awesome,” she said. “I’m really impressed with the coordination of the handler and the dogs together.”

Good competition and great crowds had many handlers saying that they’ll be sure to be back next year.

“This is the best event,” Roessler said. “We chose to come out here even though there was an event close to our home.”

Langdon said the event exceeded his expectations.

“There was way more than I thought there would be in numbers of people, the dogs and all the events,” he said. “We’ll be back.”

Staff Writer Melanie Wong can be reached at 970-748-2928 or mwong@vaildaily.com.