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The sky’s the limit for Ohio Disc Dog competitor

Posted: August 18, 2017

by Hannah Predojev 

 

“Fetch” is more than just a game for Sagamore Hills resident and Revere High School graduate Michael Widemire and his dogs. 

 

Widemire has traveled all over the country to participate in competitions with Ohio Disc Dogs. The group holds contests to test not only one’s furry companion, but the pet owner as well.

 

Participants toss plastic flying discs on a 50-yard field and the dogs race to retrieve them. A team can earn points in three rounds: distance, accuracy and freestyle, which each last one minute. 

 

Widemire, 41, has worked as a parts manager for a Bedford Mercedes-Benz dealership for the last 14 years. He has been competing with Ohio Disc Dogs since 2012. 

 

From age 14-16, Widemire worked at Paws Awhile Pet Memorial Park in Richfield, grooming dogs. As a young boy, he dreamed that he would someday open his own dog kennel. Although his life took a different direction, the idea is still not entirely off the table. 

 

Dean Baber of Painesville founded Ohio Disc Dogs in 2013 in his hometown. His business partner, Mark Vitullo, is the co-founder. Initially, Baber was intrigued about the sport when he heard about it through an acquaintance. 

 

Ever since Widemire’s wife, Catherine, announced that she wanted to get involved with dog photography, and after being introduced to Baber and Vitullo, Widemire has spent most of his free time working with his dogs, practicing for competitions and attending meets. 

 

He and Catherine have four dogs: Lana, a 2-year-old border collie; Makai, a 5-year-old border collie; a 6-month-old border collie named Maui, and Kona, a 3 1/2-year-old border collie. 

 

Kona is the Ohio Disc Dogs star, qualifying for the Ashley Whippet Invitational World Championship, a UFO World Championship and three Skyhoundz World Canine Disc Championships. 

 

On July 8, Kona participated in the K9 Frisbee Toss and Fetch Clinic and the Mid-Summer Discdogathon at Lake Farm Park in Kirtland. She took first place in distance and accuracy, second place in the time trial, third place in spot landing and third place in freestyle. 

 

Widemire said that he teaches his dogs a variety of tricks, including jumping off of his chest, running through his legs and doing flips and vaults. 

 

He said that he is still in his infancy stage with instructing. 

 

While Widemire has received a broken nail or the occasional scratch, he has not suffered any serious injuries from his dogs, either during practice or in competitions.

 

The best advice he has for those who are interested in taking part in the sport is to practice his or her routine on a daily basis, invest in quality flying discs and keep the dog on a leash between competition rounds to avoid potential catastrophes. 

 

The 43rd annual Skyhoundz World Canine Disc Championship will take place on Sept. 20 at Camp Jordan Parkway in East Ridge, Tenn., and on Sept. 23-24 in Coolidge Park in Chattanooga, Tenn. The winners will receive World Finalist plaques, apparel and a bottle of wine with the official Ohio Disc Dogs logo.

 

For more information on the group, visit the Ohio Disc Dogs Facebook page. 

 

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