Top dogs make a splash near Quesnel at Western Cup Challenge

The Western Cup Challenge took place again at the Eromit AIRcademy. (Photo Rebecca Dyok – Quesnel Observer)
Peggy Aeichele of 150 Mile House with her dogs Gator (left) and Beckin.  (Photo Rebecca Dyok – Quesnel Observer)Peggy Aeichele of 150 Mile House with her dogs Gator (left) and Beckin. (Photo Rebecca Dyok – Quesnel Observer)
Friday ended with an aerial recovery.  (Photo Rebecca Dyok – Quesnel Observer)Friday ended with an aerial recovery. (Photo Rebecca Dyok – Quesnel Observer)
A black Labrador Retriever swims with a bumper.  (Photo Rebecca Dyok – Quesnel Observer)A black Labrador Retriever swims with a bumper. (Photo Rebecca Dyok – Quesnel Observer)

“Grab it, get it,” people could be heard shouting from a dock as their four-legged friend ran, leaping into the air to retrieve a bumper before splashing a splash on a late Friday. ‘afternoon. Aerial retrieval was one of the canine sporting events in the Western Cup Challenge recently held at Eromit AIRcademy.

From Friday August 12 to Sunday August 14, dogs from across Western Canada competed in dock diving events, including hydro dash, fast fetch, distance and air retrieve, for a chance to be crowned champion of the Western Cup.

“This is the fifth year that we have organized the Western Cup Challenge,” said Erin Lynes, owner of Eromit AIRcademy with her husband, Tim. “It’s definitely the biggest dockside diving event in Western Canada, and I think this year it’s the biggest in Canada.

There were 67 dog and handler teams competing from as far away as Victoria and Calgary. Last year, Lynes said some even came from Texas.

Sherri Fleck of Whistler recalls buying her late Labrador Retriever, Sable, from Eromit AIRcademy, where Sable’s 13-year-old sister still jumps in the pool.

“At the request of Erin and Tim, they said you had to try this sport, so I took her to the States because there wasn’t much going on in Canada, and she jumped at the Puyallup Spring Fair in Washington State and the rest is history,” Fleck said.

Canada eventually began to hold more canine dockside diving events, with Erin and Tim setting up a pool large enough to host competitions.

“And since then the sport has only grown,” Fleck said, describing it as fun that all dogs of any size or breed can participate in.

“It’s a very friendly sport, the handlers help each other out, and it’s also a good spectator sport.”

Since its inception, the Western Cup Challenge has also raised funds for the Smiling Blue Skies Cancer Fund, founded by Suzi Beber in memory of her Golden Retriever service dog, Blues, who died of lymphoma.

Lynes says Beber has helped many competitors with advice and more when their dogs have been diagnosed with cancer.

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