First In Flight Flyball Team

 For Information on FIF's upcoming tournament, please click here! 

First in Flight's "Mission Statement:"

"We have a good time with each other, even during the trying times. That's why we are good for each other, we all know what is important. The fun, the dogs and the people. Ribbons end up in the garbage, the toys get pulled apart, but the people and their dogs stay. And all of us see it is fun for the dogs, placing in a tournament is not a concept they care about or understand. That is a human condition. If they earn a 1st or a last place, it makes no difference to the dogs. They win every time they step into the lane. You can see a challenge between start dogs on each team. They race to beat the other dog, and it continues until the last dog crosses the line. And we are there to enjoy it with them.  What is more fun than that?"

 ~Sharon Neal                                                                                                                                            

 First in Flight was formed in 1996 with just two dogs.  Ginni, an Australian Shepherd, and Ali, a Flat-Coated Retriever, ran their first tournament in June of 1996 with the Blockade Runners at a tournament in Raleigh, NC, and both earned their first points.  These two dogs joined Blockade Runners again in September 1996 to earn their first flyball titles.  Back then, tournaments were small and primitive.  There were only three teams racing!  We used a single-hole box powered by a bungee cord.   There were no lights or electronics and everything was directed by the hand of the head judge - from starts, to passes, to times. 

By January 1997, First in Flight had enough dogs ready to field their own team under their own name.  The tournament was held in conjunction with the Might Match and took a mere one hour to complete.  This time, there were four teams entered.  First in Flight placed third.  All of our dogs came home with points and titles.  We did have a  better box by then, a wedge box, but there were still no lights or electronics at this tournament. 

As time passed, tournaments continued to increase and grow.  First in Flight has traveled to tournaments in Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina,            FIF's second tournament in Churchville, MD March 23, 1997
Georgia, Alabama, Florida, and Pennsylvania.  It was difficult to accumulate points without traveling long distances from home as tournaments were few and far between.                                                                                                     

Current First In Flight Flyball Humans - Raleigh, September, 2009

Back Row:  Beverly Fisher, Dave Parker, Robin Setzer, Cam Brooks, Cathy Nunn, Donna Hunt, Doug Pugh, Nanci Slane, Mike Winstead.       Front Row:  Susan Dawson, Becky Parker, Stephanie Brooks, Lindsey Winstead, Sue Barton, Sharon Neal

Over the years, First in Flight has continued to stay together and play together, adding new members along the way.  Several of the current members have been part of First in Flight for many years!  Although there may be flyball teams closer to home, most of our members travel good distances to get to practice each week, many with drives of  an hour or more.  The dogs love it and the people enjoy each other - what more can you ask for from a team?

Today, First in Flight is a staple at almost all tournaments held in our region.  We can easily be found by our elaborate tent set up, or by simply following your nose!  We pride ourselves on being the best fed team at the tournament, often traveling with grilling equipment and lots of snacks!  The Raleigh tournament is still the favorite of our team, and now we are able to field FOUR teams by ourselves!  Because Flyball has evolved and gained so much popularity in the last 10 years, tournaments last entire weekends, and some are attended by upwards of 300 dogs!  FIF is able to participate in tournaments at least once a month without having to travel much more than 2 or 3 hours from home, mainly remaining in North and South Carolina, and Virginia.   

Most importantly, First in Flight is a flyball team that runs for points.  Wins are nice, but we would rather have the people and the dogs.  Our captain works hard to create under 24 second line-ups that allow everyone to participate who wishes to - independent of the speed of the dog.  We don't mind not being Division 1 as long as everyone gets to play - although, if we wanted to be competitive in Division 1, we could.   We don't always have the fastest team or the fastest dogs, and like every team sport, there are trying times and rough tournaments, but the good always outweighs the not-so-good, and it's something we all enjoy - human and canine alike!

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