Somewhere in the 90's the "usual suspects" in Seattle, were flying combat and having a pretty good time of it. Jeff and I had "gone large" See article on Preston Briggs' combat web site.
Buzz was about unstoppable in 80 and trimming out Nelson equipment while buying hot F2D motors and still using the sponge 80.
I was developing giant combat wings, working with F2D stuff and flying D-bat.
In those days, Tucson used to sponsor a contest in March called Top Gun, we would sometimes attend but mostly not. When we did it was one of the more fun and intense contest any of us had attended. Flying Top Gun would get one ready for the rest of the combat season, what a workout!
Somewhere, something went wrong, not with Top Gun, but with my brain, things got criss-crossed a little.
I was working on a contest format, trying to come up with something new but the idea hadn't quite gelled, I felt it tugging on my coat reminding me that something different was needed to put some fun into things.
The idea of something unusual stayed with me for months before finally showing itself. Ideas are one thing but out-of-the-box stuff takes help. Friends are always willing to point out where you may have gone wrong. Apparently I had friends.
As always, Jeff and Buzz were at the ready with all sorts of suggestions of how to make the idea better, but we couldn't agree on what. The ideas came in a flood that we narrowed down to a trickle.
TOP DOG would be a multi discipline combat event, three different types of combat with a combined score from all three winning. Originally I intended it to be limited to just the Northwest fliers -- a backyard shootout -- once all the other contests had been flown.
I advertised it as an "invitational contest." There was some rancor over it being limited and therefore no MACA points would be awarded. (sigh) The ones doing the objecting were all from out of state, so I made it OPEN to ALL. They didn't show up.
We would use our leftovers in 1/2A, Diesel and Fast, flying 3 rounds in each. The winner who collected the most combined points would eat an expertly barbequed steak and all the rest would get hot dogs.
Scoring was all events combined, a win = 2 point. A tie = 1 point, a loss =-0 point.
We spent the day beating our brains out with Jeff besting everybody and edging me out of the steak by one doggy point!
We tried it again the following year with the exact same results! -- Jeff eating the steak and me eating a 1-point hot dog. Talk about braggin rights!!!!!
The third TOP DOG was in 2003 and we blew the lid off of this one.
I wanted something new and "funner" and the ideas were tossed around with some major changes. We would fly four events this time and make it more picnic-like.
Offer BIG MONEY, (*$10,000.00 )
*depending on entries
And most of all have fun.
The events were:
1. 80 mph combat
2. D-Bat (using duck-duck-goose rules), balloon bust while combating
3. Freestyle (most entertaining flight wins)
4. Surprise event ("Bee the Piñata"), difficult to describe.
The combat was pretty good actually, there was plenty of food and fun was the order of the day.
This link is well worth the watching to see Mel Lyne flying combat with himself and best of all, Dave Pellern ( THE TOP DOG) flying with his foot while juggling bowling pins in a lawn chair. (Yes.he did fall over backwards).
Bee the piñata may have been my all time favorite event and who knew it would be so hard to hit a stupid piñata.but it was. I don't think AMA would ever sanction this one. But it was the most fun of the day.
This year we resurrected TOP DOG due to cancellation of our beloved Bladder Grabber. There were some who really wanted to fly it so Jeff used the time slot and sanction that was to be the Grabber for this modified Top Dog.
The contest this year will be conventional in that it's a sanctioned contest and means that it has to be sanctioned events with no novelty events that add flavor to the soup as it were. Insurance underwriters and AMA have no sense of humor when it comes to what they are backing.
What the pervious Top Dog contests showed us was that when you increase the fun factor, you get one great time for everybody. While this year's TD will be a "straight up" contest, keep your eye peeled for another fun-fly that will include some of the fun you saw in the pictures of TD 2003.
This page was upated June 28, 2007