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AUSTIN EDITION - DockDogs competition will benefit Green family

By Tim Ruzek

truzek@postbulletin.com

Dozens of jumping, leaping, diving dogs are expected to converge in Austin later this month.

A nationally sanctioned DockDogs competition is set for April 23 and April 24 at Riverside Arena and likely will attract 40 to 50 dogs from the Upper Midwest, organizers said this morning.

It's not unusual for DockDogs competitions to attract 1,000 to 1,500 people, said organizer Bob Mallory.

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"I hope we fill it up," Mallory said of the arena.

Mallory, an Austin resident, has been competing in dock-jumping contests for nearly two years with his daughter's dog, Sir Jackson, a Labrador retriever.

The "Jump for Luke" event will raise funds for the family of Luke Green, an Austin High School senior recovering from a severe spinal-cord injury he suffered during a Feb. 7 hockey game. Green, 17, remains at Saint Marys Hospital in Rochester.

Mallory said he had talked with his son Brady, a senior at Austin High and friend of Green, about hosting a DockDogs event to help with Green's recovery. He also found interest from DockDogs officials and participants at contests in recent months.

More than a year ago, Mallory organized a demonstration on dock-jumping at East Side Lake, featuring five dogs from the region.

A dock and little lake -- actually; a large tank of water -- will; be installed at Riverside Arena.

The contest is expected to attract about a dozen of the top dock-jumping dogs in the nation, Mallory said.

Organizers also hope to get Little Morgan, the world's record holder from Shakopee, Minn., to come to Austin. Little Morgan's record is a 26.6-foot jump, Mallory said.

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On April 24, the top 12 dogs will compete in the afternoon finals competition.

DockDogs began in 2000 to create a nationally recognized competitive sport based on the rules and precedents of track and field long-jump competitions, according to the organization's Web site.

Sir Jackson, who is ranked 32nd in the nation, will compete at the Austin event, Mallory said. The dog placed fifth and second at recent competitions in Minneapolis and Grand Rapids, Mich., respectively.

The dog lately has been jumping around 21.7 feet, Mallory said.

Tickets are expected to be available no later than Monday, said Kyle Klaehn, an organizer. They will be sold at Double K Specialty Inc., Wells Fargo Bank, Ankeny Mini Marts, Elrod &; Green dentistry and at the door. The $5 ticket will allow entrance for both days.

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