Orange County: Catching Up with Kirby and Sora

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Catching Up with Kirby and Sora — SoCal’s Freestyle Flying Disc Duo

Photography by Anabel Dflux

As our regular readers may remember, Pet Companion Magazine’s summer 2021 issue brought you coverage of the Purina® Pro Plan® Incredible Dog Challenge® (IDC) West Coast Regional Event, which showcased dogs from all over the country competing in events they’d been invited to participate in, ranging from freestyle flying disc to diving dogs.

One of the standouts from that West Coast Regional competition were Kirby and Sora, a young team looking to strike gold in freestyle disc. The duo won the event at the West Coast Regional and advanced to the Final Round at Purina Farms in St. Louis, Missouri. After the finals, we checked in with Kirby to get her take on how the two did.

While our favorite team didn’t go on to win the finals, Kirby described a stellar performance, one that she’ll never forget. “I think it was possibly the best that any of my dogs and I have ever performed at the IDC. We played well but didn’t place. However, our good friends Dee and Rogue won. They were really spectacular, and it was a well-deserved win. We’re so happy for them!”

Photography by Anabel Dflux

The finals are always challenging, and for this one, the weather proved to be uncooperative at just the wrong time. “It actually rained during the freestyle flying disc portion, which made things a little tricky. Otherwise, the weather was great.”

Kirby had been enjoying extracurricular activities with her pups for many years before discovering dog sports in 2003—specifically, canine agility competitions with her then Shih Tzu, Lucky. In 2006, Kirby’s family expanded with the addition of Sketch, a border collie who led her into the world of flying disc. Over the years, many more pups have joined Kirby’s team and allowed her to compete all over the world in the sport for which she has such a strong passion. In Kirby’s own words, “Their [her dogs’] talent and enthusiasm has taken us to the top of elite competitions around the world, winning 20 world championships and 6 national championships.”

Not a newcomer to the Purina IDC, Kirby has competed in six events so far, with each one teaching her something new. From the 2021 event, her biggest takeaway was, “Think about rain and other possible weather conditions when putting together a freestyle routine! Living in Southern California, we don’t experience much rain or other extreme weather conditions. But many of the competition locations do experience changing weather conditions, frequently. The rain this year meant we had to slow down some of our routine, so Sora didn’t slip on certain tricks that require her precise footing.”

With fun always the number one goal, this event was full of much love, laughter, and friendships. Kirby reports, “We had so much fun at the IDC! All the disc doggers stayed in RVs right next to the field at Purina Farms, so we all got to hang out. It was a great time!” And that certainly epitomizes one of the most important facets of dog sports—having fun with your dog and enjoying a community of people who feel the same way!

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