Chuck Middleton and Bling Bling take World Cup Title!

The best certainly showed up in Florida! With most of the top 10 in attendance for the Finals, it was a race to the finish! As of Friday, Nov. 2nd, there were 5 teams in a dead heat at the top of the leaderboard, and several others lurking just behind who could make a play that would change it all.
When the 3 day event finally finished, multiple World Champs Chuck Middleton and Bling Bling were able to take home a win for the Finals event, and enough World Cup points to secure the overall 2012 World Cup Title in the process.
The entire competition weekend unfolded at the amazing Lake Myrtle Sports Complex in Auburndale, Florida. The Central Florida Dog and Disc Club helped to host the event, and they had hit a home run with this venue. The Grass was perfect, parking, bathrooms and concessions were all close by, and the grounds staff even painted the field for us! Talk about incredible service!
On Friday, the final UFO Major of the year, there were no teams that had taken 2 Major wins in 2012. It was a very interesting mix. Kirby McIlveen had the top spot with her amazing dog Sketch. But it was a 1 point margin over Andrew Han and his spectacular Solar. Within just a few points were the teams of Pennie Mahon and Psych and Chuck Middleton and Bling Bling.
But add in to this mix several other awesome teams-Tracy Custer was there with several canine threats: Chill, Siren, Bolt...Andrea Rigler had her little ball of fire Moxie ready to roar, Christi Campbell had her young super star Banner rocking hard, and coming all the way from Germany, Christina Weiss and her unbelievable little mix Ronja were potential spoilers.
Friday's event was held with a few breezy moments, but overall, pretty calm conditions. 23 teams contested the Open Combined, looking for that 100 point prize for first place. In what would be a sign of things to come, Andrea and Moxie rocked both freestyle rounds, and put themselves in a good position to win. With her eye on improving her first place position in the standings, Kirby and Sketch were also super solid in their freestyle, and crushed a 17 point T&C round to back it up.
At the end of the day, however, it was a 19.5 point round of T&C and 2 stellar rounds of Freestyle that secured a win for Tracy Custer and Chill. Tracy and Chill had come to Florida with the requisite 85 world cup points, and were probably an outside shot at the overall title at best. But a win on Friday, and they were in the game now too.
Also playing out Friday was the final D-Tour Qualifier. On the men's side, an unfortunate strike-out by Gary Duke and Kate in the final round left Mike Dillon with KT in the top spot. On the ladies side, the 2011 European Cup T&C Champs Tina Weiss and Banzai teamed up again to win and secure a spot in the D-Tour Championship. They narrowly beat Christi Campbell - who was also playing with Banzai - and Christi with Banner rounding out the top 3.
Saturday morning was beautiful and warm, and the dogs seemed ready. The day kicked off with the D-Tour Championship round 1. The format was 2 rounds, like a regular D-Tour qualifier, but on this day, all teams took 3 throws in each round, and all 6 throws would count towards the winning catch. The Ladies kicked it off, and we were on our way...
2 rounds of Freestyle on Saturday made for a situation where managing dog stamina was nearly as important as doing well. For teams in the All-Star T&C as well, there were potentially 4 rounds this day. Uber-dog Bling did **6** rounds, competing in the D-Tour Championship, the Overall competition, and BOTH All-Star events!! Wow!
The day finished with the finals D-Tour throws. On the men's side, Mike Dillon and Molly held off a few monster throws from Gary Duke and Bayer to win the title. Their longest catch was 69.8 meters, only half a meter further than the catch by Bayer!
On the ladies bracket, Banzai did double duty-she qualified with Tina AND Christi Campbell. At the end of the day, Banzai was in the top 2 spots, with a catch thrown by Tina beating out a catch from Christi by a mere one tenth of a meter!!! 49.1 meters was the distance, long enough to win their first long distance title!
Sunday morning a mist hung over most of the Auburndale area. The trees and structures stuck out like ghosts. Out of these mists the best frisbee-catching dogs in the known universe stepped onto the field for one more day.
By the first throw at 10 am, the sun had burned away the mist, and the dogs showed they were ready to fly. The first round was T&C. The format takes the best of 2 rounds for the overall contenders-round one from Saturday, or round 1 from Sunday. This way, a single lousy round of T&C doesn't end the weekend for a possible champion. It was in this first round that Chuck and Bling struck. A staggering 22 point round put them in control. Any team there was capable of this, but it was Bling that came up big first. Not to be outdone by his sister, Pennie Mahon's Psych also stepped up big, with a 19.5 point round. These scores would prove to be pivotal at the end of the day.
The cut came, and the top dogs prepared for one more freestyle round. This round was doubled, so it had the potential to change the game for someone. In this moment, Andrea and Moxie stepped up huge again-proving their freestyle is rock solid. Only 2 drops in their fiery final round.
One round left: The final T&C. This round was for both the top 10 of the overall AND the All-Star T&C teams. In the All-Start T&C competition, each team had suffered at least one less-than-stellar round, so the pack was closely ranked in points. The previous champs Chuck and Bam Bam hadn't qualified this year, but 2009 champs Scott Jones and Bolareo were in the hunt. Scott had the younger dog in the mix too-Rodeo. Mark Vitullo had made a last minute decision on Thursday to come out to the finals-they had qualified in Indiana. A who's who of T&C powerhouses had come to their final round of 4.
The end result was interesting to say the least! The big round from Bolareo was not enough to overcome earlier low scores. Mark and Lulu had a heart-breaker of a round with only 7 points. When the results were read, a veteran thrower had a big title on a young dog: Scott Jones and Rodeo took the win. After 4 rounds, they were only 1.5 points ahead of Tracy Custer and Courage.
The All-Star Freestyle had wrapped up on Saturday-with only those 2 rounds counting towards the title. It came as no surprise to anyone there that Moxie was the top dog. Andrea Rigler and her superlative little mix were simply unbelievable all weekend.
And finally, the event came to a close. The awards for the Finals were handed out, and the competitors waited patiently while the standings were computed.
After agonizing moments, the results were read...
3rd place: Kirby and Sketch-311 points.
2nd place: Pennie and Psych-325 points.
and the 2012 UFO World Cup Champions, with 326 points, CHUCK MIDDLETON AND BLING BLING!!!

Our hats off to all the teams, all the champs, all the amazing dogs! It was an honor to see them all together. Our gigantic thanks to Gary Duke and the Central Florida Club for putting out the welcome mat in such grand fashion.

- Chris Sexton