Wind Warriors Disc Dog Club
Wind Warriors care and service to our community is in grained
Wind Warriors Crossover Crown – Sep 2020
(extended photo feature at end of article)
Frisbee dog competitions started in the 1970s and continued to evolve over the years since. From the traditional throw and catch, eye popping freestyle “dance” routines, to the more recent hybrid agility and frisbee games.
The foundation for the sports growth has always been its community and especially local clubs where dogs and their humans can come play together, learn together and be part of a community with shared interests.
Linda Shoenberger grew up with dogs in her family. Mostly mixed breeds and rescues from around the state of Oklahoma and moved to Florida in 1979. She has always been active with her dogs and decided to try her hand at “disc dog” after she heard about it one day in 2015. In her 60’s and with a bad shoulder Linda does not have any serious barrier to having a great time with her dogs at the events.
"Once we played, we were hooked... Probably my favorite thing to do.” – Linda Shoenberger
Linda and her son Landon wanted to start their own club near Myakka City, Florida. They teamed up with their friend Allie Menendez and formed the Wind Warriors Disc Dog Club in 2016.
We are a group of fun, friendly people that get together to play with our dogs. We are members of the Worldwide K9 Frisbee Toss & Fetch League (Sarasota K9 Frisbee Toss & Fetch) and we compete and host UpDog Challenge events.
Linda’s own father was a Korean War veteran and he and her brother were both volunteer fire fighters. Neither suffered any serious injury from their service, though Linda has seen and experienced firsthand the sacrifices made by those who serve. Her father passed away in 2014 and left a legacy of care for others and service to community that seems to part and parcel of the community and the club here.
What and Why
Some dogs like to fly, twist and groove. If your furry buddy is one of those, then Disc Dog may be for you. With local Disc Dog clubs around the state providing training, guidance, and hosting competitions there are great resources here in Florida for all those mad K9s with a need to show their moves.
Additionally, our state based UpDog Challenge disc dog league have shown a sincere commitment to supporting our disabled military and 1st responder veterans.
From small to large, any healthy dog with the drive can play. Since its start in formal competition in the 1970s, thousands of dogs in N. America have wowed crowds and built undeniably steel bonds with their owners while playing these games. It’s one you can play at most parks or in your yard to start but coming to an event or joining a local club can really heighten the best experiences for you and your dog.
The Games This weekend we dropped in on the Wind Warriors Disc Dog Club event in Myakka City where they were technically hosting two disc dog events. One a traditional distance throw and catch offered by the internationally popular K9 Frisbee Toss & Fetch League and the far newer hybrid agility and frisbee games of the UpDog Challenge.
Bekki Davidson and her husband Chris were here today with two of their six rescue dogs, “Tactic” and “Backup”. Chris is a Florida Fish and Wildlife Officer in one of the world’s most famous ecosystems. Florida wildlife protection can be intense, and this young couple with their baby girl “Parker” have found a way to relax and escape the pressures of their lives through the many sports and games available in our state, and in particular Disc Dog.
“Everyday life with his job to just go and get away from it, yeah together and have fun and not have to think about it. And it's pretty nice.” – Bekki Davidson
K9 Frisbee Toss & Fetch
Since the earliest formal leagues for disc dogs, simple throw and catch of a Frisbee was the obvious and most played game in yards, fields and parks everywhere. Over the years it has become an international game and the K9 Frisbee Toss & Fetch. With over ten clubs across the state and over 250 around the world. The league was created by Mark Virtullo in 2015 after playing and competing since the seventies in various disc dog leagues.
“In just five years, we went from a rag-tag group of half-a-dozen to more than 100 regulars from Akron, Cleveland and Youngstown becoming one of the biggest Clubs in the U.S.,” said Vitullo.
It started with a competition of a fun and simple game contest between two mid-west disc dog clubs in Ohio and Michigan and gave him the idea to expand and share this fun simple format with clubs across the nation.
UpDog Challenge started as an idea between some friends one day and launched in 2014. Since then it has grown to be one of the most recognized and loved international dog events and now recognized by the AKC Sports Dogs. The league with headquarters in St Louis and Dade City here in Florida is deeply committed to keeping it all laid back, lighthearted and fun for all.
“We want more people to play with their dogs, be active and social together for their dogs” – Jack Fahle
I have covered official league events more than once over recent years in Florida, and they are always unconventional, entertaining and exhibit probably the most diverse competitors of any formal dog sports I see.
On a special note of importance is the leagues absolute commitment and support for all dog owners and especially our military and first responder disabled veterans.
The stability and explosive growth of UpDog made it the first disc dog league to be formally recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC) in the Autumn of 2019.
AKC and Disc Dog
In 2019 the American Kennel Club announced the UpDog Challenge was being added for those pursuing sports title recognition. The new Disc Dog title is available to all AKC registered dogs through the programs for both pure bred and mixed breeds on their website.
Veterans with Disabilities:
The Wind Warriors club currently hold most of their meeting/events in Myakka City, FL. at a private property of Allie Menendez. The field is fully enclosed but accessible over grass and parking near the entrance on the property itself.
Its is uneven grass terrain that may be difficult for some with mobility issues or wheelchairs.
There is a portable toilet, but is not one of the modified for disabilities currently, but ADA compliant facilities can be arranged in advance.
The first step is up to you. For questions about Hero Dogz, please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Step one is easy. Get a safe disc, go outside with your dog, and start playing.
- Step two
– Get in touch with a local club or just come to one of the many Disc Dog events that continue to increase around the state.
* Can’t Find One?
Make sure to Like Bad Azz Dogz on Facebook for alerts from most comprehensive dog events calendar in the state.
It is no secret that disc (frisbee) dog sports hold a special place in my heart. Competing, and doing expos many years ago with my own dogs had a huge impact on me post service and during an exceedingly difficult period personally. When I see clubs thriving today and so much interest in supporting our brothers and sisters it makes it abundantly clear the real barrier is spreading the word and getting you and your dog to take the first step together and come on out to play.
The Wind Warriors Disc Dog club is open to all. The door is open, and they provide a relaxed and fun environment to come enjoy a great day with your best friend and most trusted furry partners. Take the first step and reach out to them, or just come to a disc dog event near you. It can change your life for the better. The choice is up to you to better your day and your dog will be very thankful you did. So do it for them at the very least.
** Photo-Feature **
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Wind Warriors Crossover Crown 19-20 September 2020
Bad Azz Dogz
The photo-journal for Hero Dogz
By Dogz 4 Dogz
entertain, educate and engage
Wind Warriors Disc Dog
K9 Frisbee Toss & Fetch
American Kennel Club (AKC)
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