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Obstacle Match Play final set for Sunday

 A rare move whips the disc dog crowd into a frenzy. By Anne Douglas


It took a jaw-dropping, seldom-seen double tip to launch Darrel Earle and his German Shepherd Mix Breed, Bo, into the FDDO Obstacle Match Play finals set for Sunday.

Earle and Bo beat Matt Meiring and Buckaroo, an all-breed, in the quarter-finals. In the other quarterfinal, Mark Brisse and Gabby, a Border Collie, beat Darrel Earle who was handling another dog.

In Obstacle Match Play, each competitor must throw the disc through a series of obstacles to their dog. There's the skip plate, tree of hoop, hyzer, tunnel vision, single hoop, and free for all. The dog gets points for completing the toss, more points if the catch is made outside the zone, and even more points if the catch is made in a zone painted on the grass.

The quarterfinal between Earle and Meiring went down to a sudden-death finish in the "free for all" station, where handlers throw the disc for distance with more points awarded the further away the dog catches the disc.

Earle threw and Bo launched himself into the air to catch the disc in the four-point zone. But he bobbled the catch. The crowd gasped as it looked like the Earle and Bo had lost the sudden death round but Bo hit the ground with his eyes still focused on the disc. In a split second he collected himself and propelled himself under the disc to catch it again. And his final catch was in the 5-point bonus bull's eye -- a huge and heart-stopping finish.

Spectators were still shaking their heads at the finish. "Imagine a center-fielder bobbling the ball that was just hit to the wall to end the World Series and still coming down with it," says Bob Swan, volunteer with FDDO.

Other events, such as Speed Disc, Distance, and Freestyle continue tomorrow.

The Ashley Whippet Invitational is running concurently with the FDDO event. At the end of the weekend, both organizations will compare their final standings and come up with an ultimate Cynosport Disc Champion.

Watch the double tip move in action:

Anne Douglas is the editor of DogSport Magazine (www.dogsportmagazine.com) and can be reached at anne@dogsportmagazine.com.

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