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"In The Beginning"

What is beleived to be in the beginning,
Flyball was introduced with a "Demo" on the Johnny Carson Show",
by a Mr Herbert Wagner in the early 1970's in California.
Between then and 1984, not much is really known. This a page dedicated to the years 1987 and earlier!
To the Pioneers of our sport a much deserved pat on the back. And a BIG Thanks to my many contributors, for which this page could not have been made without them.
Index
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"The
Early Pioneers"
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"What it
was like"
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" A Trip Down
Memory Lane
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"Memory Lane
(cont.)"

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"Granmother
Of
Flyball"

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The
Early
Teams

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One of
the First
Flyball boxes

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Some of
the First
Tournament Flyers
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Flyball is a direct decendant from the activity call "Scent hurdling"!

Scent hurdling is a racing sport where the dogs jump over four jumps and pick up one of four articles, that were previuosly scented by the handler. The dogs also wore racing jackets, that had the same number as their article.


"The Early Pioneers"

Flyball was then picked up by some dog training clubs in Canada/Detroit area. The Sportsmen's Dog Training Club of Detroit and McCann vs. McCann in the Toronto area, introduced Flyball to the Great Lakes area!

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"What it was like"

by"Sue Ethier"

There were no start lights and no passing lights. All of the starts and passes were called by the line judges, who also used hand-held stopwatches to time the races. The race was started by the head judge; the judge would do a basic "ready, set, go" and blow the whistle on the "go". As you can imagine, a lot of the dogs were very keyed into the whistle and got quite excited when they heard it! It was very strange running with the lights for the first time and not having that start whistle.
"Sue Ethier" member Companion Dog Training Club in 1985!
Sue is now a member on the Rude Dogs Team.

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A trip Down Memory Lane

By "Deb Norman"

I was on the first Swansea team that put on a demo at the Sportsmans Show in Toronto in 1982. We ran a single team consisting of a Boston Terrier, a Chow (really!), a Samoyed, a Mini poodle and a Belgian Tervuren. We all stood at the start line (then it was just 4 feet before the jumps) and let our dogs go when the other was past us. Our box was the arm/tuna can type. We were just glad when all the dogs did it. I remember being incredibly excited the first time we broke 27 seconds!

We practiced sporadically for a few years and ran in a lunch-time demo/tourney at the 1984 World Series. (That's Dog Obedience, not baseball) I believe 12 teams applied to go and they chose 6 at random. We were lucky enough to go, and ran a tean of 3 tervs, a minipoodle and a GSD.

I remember exciting close races between us and McCanns and us and the Ann Arbor Front Runners. Pam Shultz's wonderful "Cisco" was running then, and I remember it because when my own terv caught sight of him at the box he did a "double take" and almost ran into the first jump (Belgians are very aware of other Belgians). I remember Marty McCann calling dogs to the box. I think Alison MacIntosh , a wonderful person in the sport, was with them then.

The 1985 tourneys: I, a flyball fanatic, ran in only one, as I had moved to Philadelphia. I did come back for the Swansea tournement, held after the completion of the first day of their famous two-day obedience trial. It was held in a hocky arena and was incredibly noisy. Naturally there was the barking, but there was a thunderstorn as well. I remember it well because my very fast terv was too afraid of the thunder to compete. Our team was called "Reunion" because it was me back from Phila and another dog who'd also moved away combined with two Toronto friends. I remember shopping for our "uniform," matching flowered baseball caps! You can see we were not helped by our sporty apparel, as we were last. That was because my boy was too afraid of the thunder to run. At that tournement I also remember the all-GSD team of the Glen Saxon kennel, a sight I've never seen repeated. In fact aside from all BC teams, I don't recall ever seeing a team made up of all one breed. Has anyone else? I have pictures of the team from the World Series and racing at Credit Valley (1983) taken by photographers from "Dogs in Canada" if anyone ever writes a book... Thanks for letting me take a little trip "down memory lane."

Deb Norman, Philly Fur
You can E-mail Deb at---Normanland@aol.com

thanks Deb

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Memory Lane (cont.)

By "Beckie Randall"

I remember also when we were incredibly excited to run 27 seconds. Everyone used the free arm with a can style box back then. The team that won was usually the team that had 4 dogs that could do the run with the fewest mistakes. There were no passes - really. You just sent your dog when the other dog got back.

At the World Series one year, (a very long time ago) I seem to recall that Hamilton ran a team of all GSD and ran a very slick time of just under 30 seconds. We were all very impressed. This was the fastest time we had heard or seen. (This may have been 1980 or around then, maybe 81) A very good all Doberman team beat us in a race at the Sportsmen's Demo in Toronto one year - I don't remember their team name. This was also very early in history (pre-NAFA days). I think there used to be an all Dobe team in California a while back (88?)
Thanks, Deb for recalling those old days - I'd almost forgotten.
Beckie Randall
North Carolina Blockade Runners
(formerly of Ann Arbor Front Runners)

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Grandmother of FLYBALL!

By Val Culpin

Back in 1985, Elsie May Lang decided it was time that B.C. (the province, not the breed! :) ) jumped on the flyball bandwagon, and so she and well known trainer Donna Bradley bought the first flyball boxes in this area...yes, the bungee cord / tuna can variety... and started teaching flyball. I was in the first class Elsie May taught with my Golden. After we all had our dogs running at what we thought was lightning fast speeds..(my dog was one of the fastest at a cracking fast 6 seconds!!), we formed a team called the Looney Tunes.

It was comprised of my golden, an Aussie, an ACD, a lab cross, and a whole passel of shelties. The team was named the Looney Tunes because we practised outdoors in all weather..for those of you who know our climate, it was usually wet... anyways Elsie decided that only a bunch of loonie tunes would be out practising in that weather and so the name was coined. It was later shortened to the Toonies. Most of us ended up going off and starting our own teams, but Elsie May's shelties were always at the core of the Toonies.

To this day, the Toonies have proportionately more shelties running on their teams than do most teams in this region. And I have to say that they probably have more fun than many others as well. Last fall (1996) after a Vancouver Island tourney, this raucious bunch had so much noisy fun in the ferry cafeteria, they cleared the joint!!

This is a good chance to publicly thank Elsie May for starting us all off on a great sport. I acknowledged her several years ago in a Dogs in Canada article I wrote as the 'grandmother of flyball in B.C.' and that is still the way I feel.
Val Culpin
val_culpin@bc.sympatico.ca

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Early teams, their numbers, and contacts.

I'm not sure when of if they started dropping teams that were no longer active and "using" their numbers for new teams. " Mike Randall"

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Some First Items From the "Era"

One of the First boxes,Designed and Built by, By James A Cogswell

Two of the First Programs Cover pages-4/12/86 Flint, Mi. and 8/9/86 Dearborn,Mi.

"What is Flyball", from Program 8/9/86 Canine Express (Canex Inc.) Dearborn, Mi [A little bit differant than what were used to now].

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