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Zamzows Frisbee Fest (Fun For All)

dogfrisbee.jpgEvery year since 1993, Zamzow has hosted and extraordinary event - our annual "Frisbee Fest" for dogs! The 2008 event is scheduled for Saturday September 27th at 10:00 a.m. at Ann Morrison Park in Boise. The event is sponsored by Zamzows Premuim Pet Foods, KNIN-TV Channel 9 ("K-9" Television), and The Idaho Humane Society, who helps out at the event by providing volunteers. The Humane Society staffs a booth at the event to offer hungry and thirsty spectators delicious grilled hotdogs and ice cold Pepsi for a donation. Zamzows buys the hotdogs and buns, and Pepsi donates the soft drinks, so the Humane Society can keep 100% of the proceeds. As a result, Zamzows Frisbee Fest has been a major fundraiser for the Humane Society for the last 14 years - but that's not the real purpose of the event. The purpose of Zamzows Frisbee Fest is to celebrate the unique "bond" between humans and their pets, and quite frankly is just for fun; fun for the dogs; and fun for their owners and the audience who gets to watch them compete. So, what's up with 120 dogs running up and down a grass field chasing a flyin' piece of plastic? Well it just may be part of a dog's natural instinct to FETCH.

It seems most dogs love fetching a stick - or any other object thrown by their master. Its a simple 3-part task for the dog; (1) Watch where the item is being thrown (2) Go get it (3) Bring it back to their owner. Most dogs seem to do this naturally.  But some dogs are better than at than others. In fact some dogs are just down right amazing at playing catch. They catch food, sticks, tennis balls, and about anything else you can throw at them. So when the Frisbee was introduced in 1948 (first called the Pluto Platter) it was only natural that dogs began to chase and even catch themreturning them to their owners to throw again! Certain breeds seem to be naturals at catching Frisbees, including Border Collies, Australian Shepards, and other herding breeds of dogs. Others like Labradors and Golden Retrievers are also very good at running down and catching and returning the discs to their owners. In fact most dogs, even small ones try. One year in our contest, we even had a Minature Pincher ("min-pin") try to catch one and bring it back to his owner. The disc was bigger than the dog!

In 1993 Zamzows started Boise s first dog Frisbee catching competition. That first year we had about 60 dogs of various breeds competing, which then grew to 100, and soon to 120, which is about the number of dogs that have entered each year for the last 10 years. There are two categories each dog is judged in: Distance and Style. Distance is just what the term implies; the actual distance in feet the dog travels to catch the Frisbee. Style is the way the dog catches the Frisbee, and is subjective to what our judges like. However, it is usually very obvious which dogs have outstanding style because some of the catches are truly amazing! Each competing dog and owner is allowed 3 throws. For the throw to "count" the dog MUST catch the Frisbee. Near-misses are not judged, but the dog does get extra points if they catch all 3 throws. There are two age brackets in the contest, Adults (15 and above) and Child (14 and under), with one dog being allowed to compete a maximum if twice, once with an adult throwing and once with a child throwing. This allows several members of the family to "interact" with their dog.

 The contest record for distance is just over 180 feet for an adult, and just over 100 feet for a child. Men and women both seem to do well in our contest and over the years we have had several women win the Adult Distance award, and many girls win top distance in the Child Category. For 2006 we are adding a "Cumulative Distance" award in both "Large Dog" and "Small Dog" division. Large dogs weighing 35 pounds or more and "Small" dogs weighing under 35 pounds will both compete for the greatest combined distance of all three throws. Thus a small dogs can still have a chance for a distance award if they catch all three throws and can really "go the distance." Large dogs will have the same opportunity even if theirs is not the longest single distance caught. If a Large dog can catch all 3 throws, it is possible for their combined distance of all 3 to exceed that of the winning distance dog. This new and exciting category has been added for 2006!

To enter, contestants can simply go to any Zamzows store after August 15th and sign up. Entry is by dog and is $12.00 each which includes (1) "official" Frisbee brand disc. To make it fair to all, all entrants MUST throw using the exact same model of disc, which is supplied by Zamzows. We use a Frisbee brand disc that is well suited for distance, yet easy for the dogs to catch and pick up. With each $12.00 entry, the person signing up will also receive (1) 100% Cotton commorative T-shirt with custom designed artwork. These shirts will be collector's items and will look and wear great! Extra T-shirts and Frisbees can be purchased for modest price at all Zamzows stores and at the event. Remember, entry is by dog - and each dog can only compete twice; once with adult and once with a child. Prizes include a placque with the dog and owner's picture on it, and Gift Certificates from Zamzows for bags of Grandma Z's All Natural Dog Food.

Head Judge for the event is Dee Fugit, Education Director of the Idaho Humane Society. Dee has been a judge every year for 14 years and wouldn't miss it for the world! Other Judges include Hy Klock of Boise State Radio, Dee Ann Robb of Nagle Beverage Company (who donates the Pepsi to the Humane Society), and one of our Zamzows Managers or Corporate Office Staff. Our "official" Veterinarian is Dr. Dianne Soule, owner of Companion's Animal Hospital in Boise, who has also been with us since our first year in 1993. Announcer is Tom Keithly of KNIN-TV and Art Gregory, Zamzows Marketing Director supplies the music. Music you ask? What do the dogs do - dance to it? Well in a matter of speaking they do! We try and pick a song that is special for each dog and play it over the loudspeaker while they compete. We look for songs that have the dog's name in it. Thus, if the dog's name is Susie - we might play "Wake Up Little Susie" or "Run Around Sue." And yes, the dogs do seem to perform to the music both during and after the catch! Because when they catch that disc and hear the cheers and applause from the audience...they know they've done something pretty cool!

Oh, one last thing; admission for spectators is Free. You'll be helping out the Humane Society and will get to see very some beautiful dogs whose athletic abilities, skill, and determination will truly amaze you! So pack up the kids and pets (they are welcome too by the way) and some comfortable lawn chairs or a blanket or two, and head for Ann Morrison Park in Boise at 10:00 AM Saturday September 30th for the Zamzows Frisbee fest! It's 3 hours of "hi-flyin" fun!

Want to know more about the History of The Frisbee?  Well read on...

Every object has a history, and behind that history an inventor, the person who thought it up first. Sometimes who was first can be a topic for hot debate: often several people independent of each other will all think of the same good idea at around the same time and will later have to argue "No it was me, I thought of it first." Many people have claimed to have invented the Frisbee.

frisbeepie.jpg The Frisbie Baking Company (1871-1958) of Bridgeport , Connecticut , made pies that were sold to many New England colleges. Hungry college students soon discovered that the empty pie tins could be tossed and caught, providing endless hours of game and sport. Many colleges have claimed to be the home of 'he who was first to fling.' Yale College has even argued that in 1820, a Yale undergraduate named ElihuFrisbie grabbed a passing collection tray from the chapel and flung it out into the campus, thereby becoming the true inventor of the Frisbie and winning glory for Yale. That tale is unlikely to be true since the words 'Frisbie's Pies' was embossed in all the original pie tins and from the word 'Frisbie' was coined the common name for the toy.

In 1948, a Los Angeles building inspector named Walter Frederick Morrison and his partner Warren Franscioni invented a plastic version of the Frisbie that could fly further and with better accuracy than a tin pie plate. Morrison's father was also an inventor, who invented the automotive sealed-beam headlight. Another interesting tidbit was that Morrison had just returned to America after World War II, where he had been a prisoner in the infamous Stalag 13. His partnership with Warren Franscioni, who was also a war veteran, ended before their product had achieved any real success.

Morrison (after his split with Franscioni) produced a plastic Frisbie called the Pluto Platter, to cash in on the growing popularity of UFOs with the American public. The Pluto Platter has become the basic design for all Frisbies. The outer third of the Frisbie disc is called the 'Morrison Slope', listed in the patent. Rich Knerr and A.K. 'Spud' Melin were the owners of a new toy company called 'Wham-O'. Knerr and Melin also marketed the Hula-Hoop, the Super Ball and the Water Wiggle. They pair first saw Morrison's Pluto Platter in late 1955. They liked what they saw and convinced Morrison to sell them the rights to his design. With a deal signed, Wham-O began production ( 1/13/1957 ) of more Pluto Platters. The next year, the original Frisbie Baking Company shut down and coincidentally Fred Morrison was awarded a patent (Design patent 183,626) for his flying disc. Morrison received over one million dollars in royalties for his invention.

The word 'Frisbee' is pronounced the same as the word 'Frisbie'. Rich Knerr (Wham-O) was in search of a catchy new name to help increase sales, after hearing about the original use of the terms 'Frisbie' and 'Frisbie-ing'. He borrowed from the two words to create the registered trademark Frisbee . Sales soared for the toy, due to Wham-O's clever marketing of Frisbee playing as a new sport. In 1964, the first professional model went on sale. Ed Headrick was the inventor at Wham-O who patented Wham-O's designs for the modern frisbee ( U.S. patent 3,359,678). Ed Headrick'sfrisbee with its band of raised ridges called the Rings of Headrick had stablized flight as opposed to the wobbly flight of its predecessor the Pluto Platter.

In 1967, high school students in Maplewood , New Jersey , invented Ultimate Frisbee, a recognized sport that is a cross between football, soccer and basketball. Ten years later, a form of Frisbee golf was introduced, complete with professional playing courses and associations.

Another Great Frisbee Moment: In 1968, the U.S. Navy spends almost $400,000 to study Frisbees in wind tunnels, following their flights with computers and cameras, and building a special Frisbee-launching machine on top of a Utah cliff to test a prototype flare launcher.

Today the fifty year old Frisbee is owned by Discover the World only one of at least sixty manufacturers of flying discs. Wham-O sold over one hundred million units before the selling the toy to Mattel, and now Discover the World.

Disc Golf
Headrick, owner of the Disc Golf Association, Inc. founded the game of Disc Golf in 1976. The sport is played by an estimated two million recreational players in the United States and increasing. Headricksinventions include the Wham-O Superball that sold over twenty-million units and the utility patent for the modern day Frisbee, which has sold over two-hundred-million units to date. Mr. Headrick led the Advertising program, New Products program, was Vice President of Research and Development, Executive Vice President, General Manager and served as CEO for Wham-O Inc. over a ten year period. The patent drawing at the top of this article is from U.S. patent 3,359,678 - issued to Headrick on December 26, 1967 .

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