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|Mann's best friend: Dog wins world championship|
Chuck Mann's 4-year-old black Labrador retriever, Rebel, is a world champion following his performance last weekend at the World Championship Iron Dog competition in Stillwater, Minn.
The trip to Minnesota was Mann's and Rebel's first trip to the world championship competition, which Rebel won by one point.
Participants in the worldwide competition must be invited after qualifying at various dog competitions around the country.
Previously, Mann and Rebel participated in events at Gonzales; Fort Worth, Texas; Houston; and in Missouri.
Mann began training Rebel about two years ago after seeing the championship competition on ESPN.
"I just thought my dog could do that," Mann said.
He began running his dog for several miles and having him jump off the dock at their home in Chatham.
"We trained pretty hard for the past six weeks, running, jumping and doing a lot of swimming to build up his stamina," Mann said.
Rebel took to the training with enthusiasm, believing it was just more play time with his master.
"I don't use whistles or anything, and it's just fun for him," Mann said.
The iron dog competition is similar to a triathlon, Mann said. The dogs are judged on three events, which are used to determine the overall score of the participants.
Rebel took first place in the long jump where he jumped 22 feet. Rebel also took fourth in the vertical jump competition. The other event is called a speed race, where dogs are timed on retrieving a duck. Rebel took eighth in that event.
The competitions will be aired sometime in December on the Outdoors channel.
Mann and Rebel took home a new Polaris 4-wheeler, Stihl chainsaw and $750. They also won a large trophy, which must be defended by the champion every year.
Because Rebel is this year's champion, he is automatically entered in next year's championship competition and will not need to qualify at any other events.
However, Mann thinks he'll go to at least two more events before the year is over.
"We've got the nationals in Milwaukee coming up, and I am still debating on whether I'm going to that," Mann said.
Another event is coming up in several months in Katy, Texas. Mann might go to that one, too.
"If I go to those two, that will probably be it for the year," he said.