Dock Dogs make a splash at Brown County Fair

NEW ULM – The Dock Dogs competition on Saturday at the Brown County Free Fair brought out plenty of dogs doing some pretty cool tricks, making a big splash with the packed audience during a hot, muggy day.

The events allowed local dogs to compete on everything from distance to speed to height in their daring leaps off the dock into a large pool. For their part, the soaked dogs showed extreme enjoyment with the pursuit.

While the local competition was aimed at showing off and having fun, the high jump competition turned into surprise dog fight due to three world-class dog athletes joining this year’s competition:

First, the local favorite Shadow, owned by Bob Sorenson of New Ulm, who placed second in last year’s Dock Dog World Championship.

Second, Remi, owned by Tom Dropik of New Prague, is the top rank Speed Retrieve team in the world.

Finally, RJ, who was managed by Dropik’s daughter Mackenzie, came in third in last year’s Dock Dog World Championship.

These dogs ended up in a fierce competition in the end rounds with several other top dogs, pushing each other to their jumping limits. The event ended with a dramatic showdown between Shadow and Remi. Both dogs were the only competitors left when they faltered at 7 feet and 4 inches, the maximum height of the event. The rules of the event then kicked them back down to 7 feet and 3 inches, allowing a few eliminated competitors back into the game. The event finally ended with an upset victory by Remi the next round after all other dogs, including Shadow, failed to likewise hit the new mark.

The Dock Dog events are a growing event around the country, combing the appeal of the animals with the competitive edge of the sport.

Sorenson said the key to transforming a regular dog into a competitive jumping dog is train them to enjoy snatching the target out of the air as much as getting a treat. He said he also keeps his dog in top health with a balanced diet and regular exercise, such as having Shadow run a mile uphill with him every two and a half days.

“It gets the dogs to look up, which they do not normally do. For them, getting that target is the greatest thing in the world,” said Sorenson.

He said Shadow plans to compete in this year’s World Championship. But, they will first face down a qualifier in Alabama at the start of November.

Additionally, the fair hosted another bout of Demolition Derby. The Entertainment Hall concluded with musical performances by Audioworks DJ and Them Pesky Kids. Finally, The Amazing Hoopsters ending the night with an outdoor lighted hula hoop show.

The Brown County Fair will concluded today with events from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. The first events will the Dock Dogs will pick up at 10:30 a.m. and continuing to close. Finals for the event will be held at 2:30 p.m. A Minn-E-Rods and Truck & Tractor Pull will start at noon, with a $5 admission. The Minnesota Gladiolus Society State Show will host their event from noon to close. The last major event will be the County Fair Awards Program at 2:30 p.m. in the Swine Barn area.

Josh Moniz can be e-mailed at

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