The members of Patriot Flyball have been participating in
NAFA® flyball tournaments since the year 2000, when
Lorraine Messier joined Canine Mastery Jumpmasters and Cindy
Henderson formed the Weston Whirlwinds. Over the years Lorraine
and Cindy were both competitors and friends, so when
Lorraine formed her own club in 2019 it seemed natural that
the two clubs should join forces.
The mission of the club is, above all, to have fun with our canine companions while training to be the best we can be and exhibiting good sportsmanship.
The Weston Whirlwinds Hurricanes (Gehrig, Henna, Remi, and Zak) were the 2018 CanAm Multibreed Division 4 Champions.
Regular Team Best Time (Weston Whirlwinds): 17.238 seconds, October 2013 (Gunnar, Mattingly, Finn and Krave, jumping 8 inches).
Multibreed Team Best Time (Weston Whirlwinds): 18.479 seconds, November 2012 (Mattingly, Eika, Addie, and Zak, jumping 9 inches).
Open Team Best Time (Patriot Flyball): 16.434 seconds, September 2019 (Cedar, Gehrig, GG, and Thor, jumping 7 inches).
Flyball is a relay race for teams of dogs in which each of the four dogs on a team must run down a 51 foot course, jump four hurdles, trigger a "box" which releases a tennis ball, and return back over the hurdles with the ball. Each dog must run in turn and may not cross the start line before the previous dog has returned.
Races occur between pairs of teams running on parallel courses and are electronically timed; sometimes races are decided by as little as one thousandth of a second.
A fast-paced sport open to dogs of all sizes and breeds, Flyball is unique among dog sports in that it is truly a team sport - all the dogs on the team as well as their handlers must work together in order for the team to be successful.
Winter Blast 2020
Patriot Flyball Offensive Line placed 4th in
Regular 1, Defensive Line placed 2nd in Multi 1,
and Special Teams placed 4th in Open 2 at
their own Winter Blast tournament, February 1 at Canine New England
in Walpole, MA.
In addition to the club's signature hospitality table and Pot Luck Lunch, the small one-day event also featured two sessions of Singles Racing - one before team racing began and the second during the lunch break. Open only to dogs who were not entered as tournament competitors, the sessions allowed green dogs a chance to race in a tournament environment. From what we can tell this was a much appreciated addition to the tournament offerings and we anticipate offering it again in future tournaments.
The weather was very cooperative and the tournament ran very smoothly (even though there were problems before the tournament with the EJS display and the judge's remote was not working until a programming fix during the lunch break).
One high point of the tournament for the club was when Odo (running on Offensive Line) got his FDCh-G title in the first race. Well done team, and congratulations Odo!
Special shout-outs go to Nancy and Angelica for once again running the scoring table (and having fun while doing it!), and to Junior Handlers Alex, Keely, Peyton, and Ciara, who did everthing from ball shagging to running dogs to helping at the scoring table to helping with the raffle to judging. Thank you all for doing such a great job.
Pictures of the tournament can be seen here
Flyball MAINEia 2019
Patriot Flyball Starting Lineup placed
4th in Open 1 while Stars and Stripes placed
3rd in Open 2 at the 2019 Flyball MAINEia tournament,
November 9-10 at the Boothbay YMCA in Boothbay Harbor, ME.
The tournament began on an ominous note when GG had to be scratched due to an injury and Torre and Gehrig were stranded 160 miles away because of an 8pm Friday night flat tire. But Torre and Gehrig made it to the Y with 30 minutes to spare and then went on to perform admirably for their respective teams.
Starting Lineup (Thor, Phantom, Jessie, Torre, and Wicked) definitely felt GG's absence, and even though Torre ran gamely the entire tournament in her place (not the original plan) the team was no match for the Open 1 competition. But they ran well and were able to get Wicked some more experience running in a tournament (as well as 25 points), and Phantom earned her FDCh-G. Good work!
Stars and Stripes (Cedar, Gehrig, Henna, Dillon, and Zak with Poison doing warmup runs) fared better, posting a best time of 18.306 and narrowly missing 2nd place on a tiebreaker. Cedar and Gehrig ran full time while Henna, Dillon, and Zak rotated through the remaining 2 slots, earning Cedar his FM title and having a good time overall. Congratulations, Cedar!
Pictures of the tournament can be seen here and a video can be seen here.
Merging with Patriot Flyball
In November 2019, Weston Whirlwinds and Patriot Flyball
announced that they will be joining forces and will become
one club under the name Patriot Flyball.
In the words of Weston Whirlwinds club owner Cindy Henderson:
Watch this space for more information as the merge
progresses. Note that team practices remain the same
(Sunday mornings at 8am at Canine New England, when the
facility is available). In addition, some of the club
members participate in Canine New England's drop-in Flyball
training sessions on Wednesdays from 7 to 9 pm.
Weston Whirlwinds Thunder placed 4th in Open 4 on
Friday, 3rd in Open 3 on Saturday, and 2nd in Open 3 on Sunday
at the 11th annual CanAm Classic tournament, October 11-13 at
the Indiana State Fairgrounds, Indianapolis, IN.
The team of Cedar, Gehrig, Jessie, Torre, and Dillon, augmented by Bella from NASDOG, had trouble finding their rhythm on Friday but pulled it together on Saturday and Sunday for a quite respectable showing with some very tight races. Saturday included one race (against Shenanigans Unleashed) that went to five heats, with the last heat ending up in a 19.565 second tie. On Sunday the Open 3 division ended up with a 3-way tie for first place that was decided on tiebreakers.
Weston Whirlwinds went to Indianapolis this year with a very small group - only 3 handlers and 5 dogs - and we are very grateful for all of our friends who helped us out, including Jeff from NASDOG who ran Bella with us, and everyone from Ready, Set, Ruckus! who boxloaded for us for the entire tournament. Many many thanks - we couldn't have done it without you!
Such a fun event - we're already looking forward to next year!
End of Summer 2019
Weston Whirlwinds Hurricanes placed 3rd in Multi 1,
while Thunder placed 4th in Open 2 and Patriot
Flyball's Starting Lineup placed 1st in Open 1 at
our own End of Summer tournament, September 28-29 at Canine
New England in Walpole, MA.
Co-hosted by Patriot Flyball, the tournament featured a breakfast hospitality table, potluck lunches, placement prizes, title ribbons, and plenty of fun racing. New team member Maris was introduced to Flyball as she attended her very first tournament.
With a primary goal of getting Wicked on the board, Thunder (Cedar, Zak, Finn, Henna, and Wicked with backup by Gehrig) had trouble finding a rhythm but in the end succeeded in getting Wicked her first Flyball points and her FD title. In addition, Junior Handler Alex did an outstanding job of running Finn the entire tournament. We saw some pretty tight passes out there and were very impressed. Well done team!
Thunder (Gehrig, Phantom, Max, Stella, and Odo) ran very well, and there were some tight races with the competition. Phantom in particular is coming along nicely, and Gehrig posted some 3.9's running start. All in all a very good tournament for this group.
Starting Lineup (GG, Thor, Jessie, Torre, and Dillon) blew away their competition, easily winning first place in the division by a wide margin. Junior Handler Peyton continued to impress, running GG in start for several heats. Well done!
Pictures of the tournament can be seen here.
Shark Rush Fully Loaded 2019
In their first foray ever to Napanee, Weston Whirlwinds
Thunder placed 3rd in Open 4, while their sister team
Patriot Flyball's Starting Lineup placed 2nd in Open
1 at the Shark Rush Fully Loaded tournament, August 31 -
September 1 at the Napanee Fairgrounds in Napanee,
Ontario. Both teams arrived at the tournament with a mission
- Thunder (Arizona, Jessie, Henna, Addie, Scarlet,
and Torre) were determined to get Addie as close as possible
to her FGDCh-50 title, and Starting Lineup wanted to
see how fast the lineup of Cedar, Gehrig, GG, and Thor could
go. In the end, both teams achieved their goals admirably.
Thunder had the most drama of the two teams. Addie needed just 535 points to get her title, but with a 3 of 5 format, only 8 races to run, and a seed time that was at the bottom of the division, the team would have to run clean for as many heats as possible to achieve their goal. In addition, the team's one really fast dog came into heat just a week and a half before the tournament and had to drop out of the tournament, which left them scrambling for a replacement. Luckily Arizona and Scarlet from 2 Fast Fur U were available, and so the team went into the tournament with paws crossed that they could jell quickly enough to get the job done.
Going into their 7th race, Addie needed just 83 points. Thunder ran clean and won the first heat, ran clean and lost the second heat, and then ran clean and won the third heat. Everyone held their breath as the fourth heat began - Arizona ... clean, Jessie ... clean, Henna ... clean, Addie ... clean! Time - 22.379, and Addie had her title!
Starting Lineup was simply impressive and fast the entire tournament. Aside from their second race when everything seemed to go wrong all at once, the team ran cleanly in the low 17's and upper 16's almost the entire time. Even more impressive, they posted their fastest time - 16.434 - in the first heat of their last race of the day, and closed the tournament with a 16.654. Really fun to watch!
Other highlights of the tournament included Henna running in start for the first time in a long time and posting some blistering (for her) 5.1's while doing it. Henna also ran for the first time ever with another Toller when both she and Scarlet were in the lineup together for 4 races (it was a first for Scarlet as well). There was some confusion as to which dog was going to be the more ball-obessed but they worked it out and ran well together.
We owe a huge thanks to Lisa from 2 Fast Fur U for letting Arizona and Scarlet run with us on Thunder on such short notice, and to Lorraine and Nancy for letting Cedar and Gehrig run with you on Starting Lineup. Also a huge thanks to Lorraine for boxloading for Thunder - you did a get job of keeping up with the lineup changes!
Congratulations to Addie for earning your FGDCh-50K, and have fun in your well-deserved retirement.
Pictures of the tournament can be seen here, and a video slideshow of the pictures can be seen here. Also, a video of Thunder in race 85 can be seen here.
Weston Whirlwinds Hurricanes placed 4th in Multi 1,
while Thunder placed 4th in Open 3 and Patriot Flyball's
Open team placed 3rd in Open 2 at 2 Fast Fur U's
first ever Pawsapalooza tournament, June 8-9 at the Wayne
County Fairgrounds in Palmyra, NY. After racing on Saturday
there was a hot dog social, or for the more adventuresome
there was fine dining overlooking the Erie Canal. We all had
a good time catching up with friends and enjoying the absolutely
All three teams started the tournament strong and ended strong as well. The Hurricanes (Cedar, Gehrig, Henna, and Dillon, with backup by Zak and warmups by Poison) were very steady the entire weekend, and ran several races where they posted four heats without a fault. Poison was able to get in several warmup runs and looked pretty good out there, although not quite ready to run for real.
Thunder (Gunnar, Jessie, Zak, and Addie with backup by Gehrig) for the most part decided to go with three-of-four-clean-heats throughout most of the tournament, except for one race where they ran all four heats cleanly. Gunnar, who was coming back from an injury and had appeared doubtful for the tournament, ended up running very steadily the entire time. Jessie and Zak were their usual consistent selves, and Addie continues to surprise us with her longevity.
Both teams did extremely well with a schedule that featured 4 races on Saturday and 5 on Sunday, not something we're used to, so we were very happy with their performance.
The Patriot Flyball Open team (GG, Thor, Phantom, and Torre with warmups by Wicked and backup by Cedar) also looked very good. Wicked was able to get in several warmup runs, and she also took a stab at a real heat late in the tournament on Sunday. Unfortunately she didn't earn any points but she is looking very close to getting there for real. The team also tried out the lineup of GG, Thor, Phantom, and Cedar just to see what would happen, and broke out twice as a result. That was one fast lineup - very fun to watch.
All in all, even though the teams didn't place very well, everyone had a good time and had fun.
Pictures of the tournament can be seen here, and a timelapse-ish video can be seen here.
Greenfield Derby 2019
The Bid for the Balls! Weston Whirlwinds Hurricanes
placed 2nd in Multi 1, Thunder placed 3rd in Open 3,
and the combined Weston Whirlwinds-Patriot Flyball team
Starting Lineup placed 4th at the 2019 edition of the
Greenfield Derby, May 4-5 at the Franklin County Fair in
The Hurricanes (Cedar, Gehrig, Zak and Henna with Finn and Torre as backupts) ran very well the entire tournament and posted a best time of 19.527. Cedar was very consistent in start and Gehrig appeared to be settling in to a new role running 2nd in the lineup. Zak was his usual steady self, and Henna looked to be returning to form after a couple of rough tournaments. Well done, team!
Thunder (Gunnar, Jessie, Stella, Torre, and Finn with Gehrig as backup) had problems the entire tournament and just couldn't seem to find their rhythm. Both Finn and Gunnar came up lame - Finn after Saturday and Gunnar at the end of the day on Sunday - and had to drop out of racing, forcing Gehrig into double duty for the team's last race. One bright spot was when they unexpectedly won the bucket of balls for the closest heat of the tournament - a very hard-fought contest in the first heat of their last race that went 23.446 seconds to 23.463 seconds in their favor. Well done!
Starting Lineup (GG, Thor, Phantom, and Addie with backup by Dillon and warmups by Apollo from BARK) ran fairly steadily both days with some exceptions. Dillon played a pivotal role, doing a great job when he had to come in for Phantom late in the tournament. Both Thor and Phantom earned their FDCh-S titles; congratulations to both!
The weather wasn't perfect but it wasn't awful either; Saturday afternoon and evening in particular were quite nice. The team hung out in the Dole building during the day and enjoyed playing cornhole with the Ruff Enuff crew and chatting with their Flyball friends at the Hot Dog Social.
Many thanks to Keely and Ciara for ball shagging for us!
Pictures of the tournament can be seen here and a video slideshow can be seen here (don't blink!).
Spring Fling 2019
Spring has sprung! Weston Whirlwinds Thunder placed
2nd in Open 3, the Hurricanes took 4th in Multi 1,
and the combined Weston Whirlwinds-Patriots Flyball
Starting Lineup team took 1st in Open 2 at the 2019 Spring
Fling tournament, April 6-7 at the Dover Ice Arena in Dover,
Both Thunder (Cedar, Max, Stella, Odo, and Addie, with Poison doing warmups) and the Hurricanes (Gehrig, Henna, Jessie, and Zak with backup by Dillon and Torre) had their problems, but there were some bright spots in an otherwise difficult tournament: Cedar performed very well in start, hitting a new personal best of 3.7 seconds; Dillon earned his FM; and Poison was very steady in her warmups. Well done, Cedar, Dillon, and Poison!
Starting Lineup (GG, Thor, Gunnar, Torre, and Phantom with backup by Gehrig) ran very well the entire tournament and helped Phantom earn her FDCh. Their biggest problem was avoiding breaking out, especially when Phantom was running instead of Torre. They did break out once, and were within a tenth of a second of breaking out in a couple of other heats later in the tournament when Phantom was getting better at passing. Many thanks to Lorraine and Nancy for letting Gunnar, Torre, and Phantom run with you.
Congratulations to Junior Handler Peyton for running GG and Zak, and thank you to Keely, Ciara, and Celeste for ball shagging.
Pictures of the tournament can be seen here.
2019 St. Paddy's Day Tournament
Weston Whirlwinds Thunder placed 2nd in Open 2 while
the Hurricanes placed 3rd in Multi 1
and Lightning placed 3rd in Regular 2 at our very own
St. Paddy's Day Tournament, March 16-17 at Canine New
England in Walpole, MA.
This was the very first Flyball tournament at Canine New England and everyone pitched in to make sure things ran smoothly. Setup on Friday took a little longer than anticipated as we worked out the best way to lay out the mats, plus we had to deal with half of the lights being missing somewhere in the UPS delivery system. But much to everyone's relief everything was in place and working in time for single dog racing at 6pm Friday (many thanks to Lorraine for camping out at the UPS facility until they dug up the remaining EJS case).
Because it was such a small tournament we were not able to offer all of the usual frills, but instead stocked a hospitality table both days and hosted a potluck lunch on Saturday. Both of these extras were well received and we will seriously consider doing them again at future tournaments.
The teams had a little trouble shaking off the winter blahs. Thunder (Gunnar, Jessie, Torre, and Addie) were the most consistent team, and the veteran dogs provided a solid core for Phantom's Flyball debut. Phantom did an absolutely marvelous job, racking up 125 points and earning both her FD and FDX titles. We're looking for big things from her in future tournaments.
Lightning (Gehrig, Henna, Zak, and Stella, with backup by Dillon and warmups by Poison) had more trouble finding a rhythm but ran fairly well. Dillon in particular was very impressive when he replaced Stella in the middle of the third race on Sunday and had to run without a warmup - something he doesn't usually like to do. Well done Dillon!
The Hurricanes (Cedar, Max, Finn, and Odo with warmups by Wicked) also had their problems but in the end ran OK. Cedar earned his FDCh-S, and Wicked was able to do several successful warmup runs and also ran a live heat in several of the races.
Congratulations to our Junior Handlers Ciara (ball shagging), Linnea (Finn), and Alex (Finn) and special congratulations to Peyton for running Lorraine's GG in start on Patriot Flyball's Starting Lineup team. Thanks also to Keely for running the raffle table and to Celeste for ball shagging.
Pictures of the tournament can be seen here.