1996 AWI Champion Pon Saradeth demonstrating a thow with David's Maverick
AWI was founded in the mid '70's by Irv Lander, Alex Stein and Eldon McIntire. Alex was the owner of the Ashley Whippet. Eldon was the owner of Hyper Hank. Irv was a promoter who worked at Wham-O promoting the (human) Junior Frisbee disc Championships, where Peter Bloeme met Irv.
Ashley won the first 3 World Championships tournaments, some of the old T&F tournaments were judged on style points – others on distance – others on standing in a circling throwing out – and others throwing into a circle. Eventually, it turned a contest series and was named The Ashley Whippet Invitational (AWI). The competition series included local events, regional events where people would qualify for the World Finals Championships. There was only one organization for many years and only one Champion each year. Within the sport there has only been 3 women who finished 1st runner up, Lourdes Edlin, Donna Schoech -on a run through day (due to bad weather predicted) and Jenny a woman that competed with Areobie discs, and one woman world champion, Melissa Heeter and her dog Ariel Asah within the Co-ed sport. Some years there were no women at the World Finals and the most was 3 women in one year. The old AWI format was 4-6 Regionals were the 1 and 2 place teams earn a trip to the World Finals in a closed Regional system. You had to live in and compete in your geographical area and your assigned Regional. One Denver Open Regional was created in 1994 and 2 Open Regionals in 1997.
Peter Bloeme got involved with Frisbee Dogs in the early 80's, (after winning a human Frisbee disc accuracy tournament) and immediately after winning his Frisbee Dog World Championship in 1984, he "retired" and began to work for AWI as a judge and event coordinator. Peter Bloeme pushed the sport in the multiple disc Freestyle direction that changed the Frisbee Dog game for ever. In the mid 80's, a few people tried to put together another organization. It was called the K9 DiscMasters of America (not to be confused with any organization that uses the name DiscMasters today-totally unrelated). It only lasted a couple of years, before Irv had put enough pressure on to make it go away. In 1986, Ron Ellis founded the first Frisbee Dog club, The Dallas Dog and Disc. The second club was founded by Peter Bloeme and Jeff Perry in 1989, The Greater Atlanta Dog & Disc Club with many clubs following over the years. The next event series to crop up was in 1995, when Bill Watters started the FDDO. For many years it was one FDDO event only, in Phoenix. But in 1998, he started running a couple events each year.
In 1994 the first State Championships was started by the Greater Atlanta Dog & Disc Club President, Steven Heeter.
In 1995 and 1996, the first husband and wife team competed both years at the World Finals together was Steven Heeter and Radical Rush, and Melissa Heeter and Casey.
In 1995 Max McAllister and Sergeant was the only dog that I know of to earn a 10 in difficulty in the Open Denver Regional.
Around 1996 the GADDC started to organized 2 day Frisbee Dog tournaments.
In 1996 Pon Sarradeth and Owen Boy was one of the only competitors to earn 2 bonus points at a Regional and World Finals.
In 1997, the first woman wins the World Championships - Melissa Heeter with Ariel Asah. Due to an unfortunate incident that happened in Denver in 1997, a battle started within the sport. The Frisbee Dog sport lost its innocence.
In 1997, the NCAC was the first club to not use the AWI contest rules and create their own rules.
At the end of 1997 the GADDC decided not to accept the ALPO sponsorship and found their own sponsors for their own tournaments.
In 1998, Irv Lander, Executive Director of AWE died and left the AWI tournament series and AWE business to his son, Steve Lander in his will. This was very significant. Many people thought that Peter Bloeme would take over, because he was the Director of the AWI series. For many reasons, Irv asked his son, Steve Lander, to take over the event and Steve Agreed.
Chuck Middleton and Bling Bling rose to the lead after the highest throw and catch round of the day with a 20 point effort and then never looked back. It was heart warming to hear the European competitors begin to cheer them on as they started the last round of freestyle for the day. Others joined in and Chuck seized the moment to just relax and do what he does every time he practices at the park and jam with his best friend Bling Bling!
Chuck Middleton and Bling Bling are the 2012 Ashley Whippet Invitational World Champions for the second year in a row!
Once again big props go out to our major sponsors: Purina ProPlan and Hero Disc USA.
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