Dock Dogs comes to Lincoln offering a new component for the Pigs & Swigs weekend

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[September 15, 2018]  Earlier this year, while enjoying some weekend downtime, Chris Graue, one of the original founders of the Pigs & Swigs Festival/KCBS BBQ competition, was surfing the web when he came across an interesting show on ESPN. As he watched the competitive event he couldn’t help but think about the upcoming Pigs & Swigs Festival and a desire to make the festival more diversified. This was a good answer, and the process began to bring 'Dock Dogs' to Lincoln for the first weekend in June.

If you don’t know what Dock Dogs is, then click here for a brief overview.

Graue took the idea to the Up in Smoke on the Square/Pigs & Swigs Committee, then contacted Dock Dogs to see if they would come to Lincoln on June 1st and 2nd. Once it was determined that the program would be available, the next vital step was to secure the $6,800 in sponsorship needed to bring the event to town.

Graue made contact with the city of Lincoln and the Logan County Board and received sponsorship dollars from those two government entities. Sponsorship dollars were also provided by CEFCU, Lincoln NAPA, Logan County Farm Bureau, Best Friends Animal Hospital, and the Lincoln Animal Hospital. Chicago Street Rental is helping out with some of the equipment that will be needed and the Humane Society of Logan County got on board, agreeing to help with the management of the program and to serve as hosts on the days of the events.

Events will start on Friday and continue on Saturday. The large, portable swimming pool for the event will be placed on Broadway Street on the east end of the block near the intersection of Broadway and McLean Streets (the post office corner). The pool will be set up against the sidewalk on the courthouse side of the street. Visitors are encouraged to bring lawn chairs or blankets and may sit on the courthouse lawn to view the competitions.

The competitions will feature dogs and handlers that routinely travel the Dock Dog Circuit, but is also going to offer amateur competitions for local pets and their owners.

The gist of it is that any dog six months of age and older can compete, and all the handler has to do is get the dog interested in taking a dive in the pool, catching an object thrown out over the water, or jumping high to retrieve an object suspended over the pool.

The Dock Dogs Big Air competition is basically a long-distance jump. Trainers will instruct the dogs and entice them to run the length of the platform and jump as far as possible before landing in the water. The distance will be measured for the edge of the dock to the location where the dog’s tail section hits the surface of the water.

The Extreme Vertical is a high jump. This is basically a high jump over water. An object will be suspended over the pool and dogs will jump off the dock, into the air to grab the object. If they accomplish this, the object will go back in the air, the target will be raised a few inches, and the dog can try again. The competing dogs will continue to jump until they are unable to reach their target.

Graue said that as of last week, there were 22 teams signed up for the event from the Dock Dog Circuit. These will be dogs and handlers that are trained and have lots of experience. The dogs and their handlers will all have their own subtle style and it promises to be very entertaining.

But wait. That isn’t all. Within the event there is a schedule for the amateur dog. This could be YOUR dog! All you have to do is enter, and get the dog to jump.

Anyone who wants to give it a shot, simply needs to come out on Friday at 1 p.m. and register your dog or dogs or be there at 10 a.m. for registration in Saturday competition.

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Locally, a couple of people, Lincoln Alderwoman Heidi Browne and Lincoln Street Superintendent Walt Landers have jumped their dogs at Dock Dog events held in Springfield and Morton. Both said it was a fun event and that the big challenge is that the dogs can become shy and won’t want to get into the water. But, if you have a dog, regardless of breed, that appears to be a natural born swimmer and loves to play with his or her toys, then you have a good shot at getting the dog to respond.

For local folks, the local dog competition could be a big highlight as it is fun to cheer the professionals, but sometimes even more fun to cheer on the “underdog” novice, especially when Rover belongs to your neighbor!

The Dock Dog schedule is as follows:


Onsite registration/practice – 1 p.m.
Practice in between waves both days as time allows.
Big Air Wave # 1 – 2 p.m.
Big Air Wave # 2 – 3:30 p.m.
Big Air Wave # 3 – 5 p.m.
Extreme Vertical (All in one finals) – 7 p.m.


Onsite registration/practice – 10 a.m.
Big Air Wave # 4 – 11a.m.
Big Air Wave # 5 – 1 p.m.
Big Air Wave # 6 – 3 p.m.
Speed Retrieve (All in one final) – 5:30 p.m.
Big Air Finals – 7 p.m. (Pro, Semi-pro, Contender & Amateur finals)

Graue said the Dock Dogs was a great addition to the weekend because it is very much a family oriented attraction. While the Swigs side is best appreciated by those age 21 and up, and the KCBS competitions, Steak, Backyard, and Kids Q may attract a specific group of people and may not hold the attention for the full day, it is hoped that this event will fill the gaps and end up being something that keeps visitors in the downtown area all day long.

The other asset to this is that because there is no admission charged. Dock Dogs is a ‘come and go’ event. Visitors can tour the BBQ rows, do some shopping in the downtown stores, enjoy food from the vendors or local eateries, visit the Oasis Flea Market, and call Dock Dogs their home base for the weekend. Parents and older kids can split up and follow their own interests then come back and rejoin at the Dock Dogs. Or if dad wants to go watch the BBQ competitors dish up their fare, and mom and the kids want to stay and watch, it’s all good.

This is a first year event, and its success is going to depend on the number of people who come to watch and cheer and on the number of people who participate.

The Pigs & Swigs Committee, the HSLC, and the event sponsors are hopeful that the entire community, as well as guests from out of town who are there to enjoy all the festivities of the weekend will come out to watch.

[Nila Smith]


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