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Dock Dogs are joined by Disc Dogs for Rivertown Days

"Man's best friend" has been joined by some of his friends for the annual Rivertown Days Friday to Sunday, July 17 to 19, in Hastings.

Dock Dogs Northern Stars Club, which has been part of Rivertown Days since 2007, will be joined this year by Disc Dogs Minnesota.

The Hastings Area Senior Center is sponsoring the event from 1:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Saturday, July 18, at Jaycee Park. Rivertown Days participants will be able to watch "flying dogs" in action as they soar through the air to catch discs. The sanctioned Skyhoundz event is part of the Minnesota Cup hosted by the Minnesota Disc Dog Club, a nonprofit club that loves playing Frisbee with dogs and just having fun. The club holds competitions, perform shows and hosts play dates to give people a change to practice their skills and connect with other disc-doggers.

As part of its mission, the Minnesota Disc Dog Club wants to promote the sport of canine disc, heighten public awareness of the happiness dogs can bring to people's lives when properly trained, educate the public about the need for animal population control through the spaying/neutering over euthanasia and promote canine rescue organizations.

The Dock Dogs Northern Stars Club will be at Jaycee Park for all three days of the festival.

Registration on Friday July 17, opens at 2 p.m., with a special presentation by Tom Dropik, cohost of the TV series, "Dock Dogs Unleashed, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.

For both Saturday and Sunday, July 18 and 19, registrations open at 9 a.m., with events scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. A complete listing of the event schedule is available under "Events" at

"The whole idea is about having fun in the water," club president Cyndi Porter said.

In the 2000 ESPN Great Outdoor Games, the Big Air Dogs event was introduced. Its popularity was surprising and the event continues today.

Dock Dogs was introduced as a company in 2002. Six qualifying events were established that year. In 2005, more than 765 events were booked, and in 2007, more than 1,000 events across North America were scheduled.

The Northern Stars Cub has more than 75 members. For each event, members come to the site, and set up the pock and dock.

"Each event has a number of divisions, called 'waves,' with the dog owner deciding how many to enter," Porter said. "Each wave has a winner."

All dogs are celebrated in all events. Winners in each wave receive ribbons. At the end of the finals competition, more ribbons and some cash prizes will be presented.

There is also an extreme vertical competition for dogs - no water is involved.