Local dog Nutmeg flies onto ESPN2 this weekend

| 28 Sep 2011 | 02:48

    HEWITT-When Jon Stapelton and Andrea Bacon were out looking for a pet about three years ago, they couldn't have imagined what they were getting. The couple ended up with Nutmeg, a chocolate lab, with an unusual fascination for the water. She loved the water, especially jumping in — no matter how cold it was. Nutmeg had leaps like an NBA player and her owners took her to a local Big Air competition in Hamburg. Nutmeg placed eighth that day and qualified for the world finals "She was in the water ever since the ice broke when she was five months old," said Stapleton. "There's nothing more that she loves to do than jump in the water." In Big Air Competitions, dogs run and leap into a pool. The distance is measured from the end of the dock where the dogs hind end hits the water. Nutmeg, who was purchased from the Slater family, has an average jump of 22.1 feet. The world record is 26.6 feet. Currently, she is ranked 23rd in the country. On April 9, Nutmeg participated in the Super Retriever Series Big Air, in Loundon County, VA. She placed fourth in the event and it will air on ESPN2 on May 1. The first installment will be on Sunday at 6 a.m. and an encore 7:30 a.m. So what's the payoff? The couple must have cashed in on this, right? For placing so high, they got a whopping $100, enough to cover the entry fee. Pretty tough since they travel all over the country with Nutmeg with all expenses coming right out of their wallets. They anticipate spending $4,000 this year with trips to Iowa, Virginia, and Arizona on the schedule. "She jumped with the best of the best and she was the most consistent she had ever been," said Stapleton, of the Virginia event. The ultimate goal now for the trio is to qualify for the 2005 Great Outdoor Games. To do so, Nutmeg must finish in the top two in the three aforementioned events. Stapleton expects Nutmeg to do so. "She is just like our daughter," said Stapleton. "We never expected any of this out of her."