Story by Mark Rickard, The Bugle Observer. Photos by Pixels + Photons.
It was the Gallop of the Game, and the incredible toss and catch is still flying high on social media.
Frisbee Rob McLeod and Sailor the dog, a border collie-whippet cross, combined forces at the Calgary Stampeders football game Saturday Oct. 23 for a 109-yard flying disc throw and catch. The 21,000 fans at McMahon Stadium went wild as Sailor skipped into the end zone to complete the touchdown catch.
McLeod, who grew up in Woodstock, said he was ecstatic that he and Sailor added another world record to their lengthy accomplishments, this time the longest flying disc catch at a live sporting event.
“It was kind of mind-blowing. It happened so fast… the only thought was just throw and execute with him. The people in the stands, I didn’t notice them, I didn’t notice when the fireworks went off. It was pretty surreal,” McLeod said.
McLeod and Sailor teamed up for three long distance catches in the stadium.
“Not a lot of people outside Canada know about the CFL. People don’t know that it is a 110-yard field. That was the challenge. If it was an NFL field, we would have been able to go end zone to end zone. I like that he caught it just short and ran in so it was a touchdown… He actually scored three touchdowns, which was more than the Stamps and the [Saskatchewan Rough] Riders scored in the game.”
McLeod said the Oct. 23 event was this year’s PinkPower game, a long-standing initiative between the football team and the Canadian Cancer Society. Sailor did his part wearing a pink jacket and pink leggings, joining the football players who wore pink gloves, wristbands and chin straps.
McLeod said the video was highly viewed and “the value and awareness for the Stamps and the CFL is huge.” He hopes he and Sailor can perform at other Stampeders events in the future.
The ‘fun uncle’
Sailor is owned by a friend but gets together with McLeod regularly to practise and compete.
“They call me the fun uncle. I’m the guy who throws frisbees for him and the guy to have fun with,” he said. “I’ve been competing with [Sailor] for about three or four years. He is six now.”
McLeod said he thinks Sailor could catch even farther if there was a slight wind and he could loft the disc higher. He thinks 120 to 130 yards is possible in a stadium.
McLeod holds numerous Guinness Book of World Record achievements, including the longest flying disc throw caught by a dog at 122.5 m (402 ft) with Davy Whippet in 2012, and the longest flying disc throw, run and catch on ice skates at 73.2 m (240.16 ft) in 2013.
The disc golf athlete and motivational speaker said the football event was a nice way to bounce back after his speaking engagements were reduced by 90 per cent during the pandemic. McLeod has visited more than 400 schools and spoken to more than 135,000 students, focusing on physical education, kindness and disconnecting students from technology.
“I’m so excited to start going back into schools. I really enjoy meeting the students and teachers,” he said
McLeod said he and Sailor will be busy competing in events over the next few years while Sailor is in his prime.
“I have a big year next year… The World Overall Flying Disc Championships are in San Diego and hopefully we will be having quite a few competitions with Sailor.”