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Frequently Asked Questions

Got a question for the Great Outdoor Games crew? Fill out a question submission form and send it off. We'll answer your questions directly, or post the answers on this page.

Attending the Games

How much will it cost to attend the Games in Madison?

Nothing! The ESPN Great Outdoor Games are, and always have been, free to attend.

Sporting dog events

How are the Retrievers seeded for competition?

Since the Retriever competition at the Great Outdoor Games is a hybrid competition taking features of traditional Hunt Tests as well as elements of Field Trials, there is no existing criteria to establish levels of performance. Seeding the Retrievers is at the discretion of the judges. The judges have seen each dog/handler team compete and base the seeding on the team's strengths and weaknesses, experience, titles, training, and other factors. There are three rounds of tests in the competition, so the best team has the opportunity to rise to the top.

How can I get started training my Retriever for competition?

If you have a retriever puppy and haven't begun training yet, there are several good books that are widely used by retriever handlers. Retriever sport organizer, Justin Tackett, recommends the following:

  • Water Dog by Richard Wolters
  • Retriever Training for the Duck Hunter by Robert Milner
  • Finished Dog by Charles Jurney

    The best way to get started in retriever competitions is to join your local retriever organization. These groups offer dog owner's competitions that start with puppies and advance through seasoned dogs. They also provide communities of dog owners and handlers the opportunity to share resources, training techniques and camaraderie. There are three major organizations in the U.S.:

  • North American Hunting Retriever Association (NAHRA) that holds Hunt Tests. www.nahra.org

  • The American Kennel Club which holds Field Trials. www.akc.org.

  • Hunting Retriever Club, affiliated with the United Kennel Club. www.hrc-ukc.com.

    How do you get started Agility competitions?

    The best way to get involved and begin training your dog for agility is to find a club in your area that offers classes and hosts trials. To find a club in your area, visit the websites of the two organizations that primarily govern the sport of dog agility, the American Kennel Club (www.akc.org) or the United States Dog Agility Association (www.usdaa.com).

    What is the size of the Big Air dock?

    The size of the Big Air dock is 40 to 48 feet long, by 8 feet wide. The dock also sits 20 to 24 inches off the surface of the water.

    How do I qualify my dog for the Big Air Competition?

    Twelve teams be invited based on the following criteria:

    The top three finalists from the 2002 Great Outdoor Games will receive an automatic invitation to compete again in 2003.

    The overall Big Air winner of the ESPN2 Super Retriever Series (SRS) will be invited to compete in the GOG, provided that dog consistently jumps at least 22 feet.

  • Should the SRS winner be one of the 2002 Great Outdoor Games medalists, the next highest placing SRS finisher will earn the invitation.

    DockDogs will maintain a database of all official competition jumps of all entered dog/handler teams from all DockDogs events taking place between August 1st, 2002 and June 15th, 2003. The top ranking dog handler teams will then receive invitations to compete in the Great Outdoor Games. Consult www.dockdogs.com for more information and a listing of events.

    Target events

    I really enjoy the Archery, Rifle and Shotgun competitions in the Great Outdoor Games. How do I get started in the Shooting Sports?

    Getting started in the Shooting Sports is as easy as double-clicking your mouse on the Where To Shoot Website, www.wheretoshoot.org. This Website provides quick and easy access to target shooting and hunting facilities. Simply specify a state to view all ranges within that state, or narrow the search by area code, zip code. In addition you'll find a description of some of the many diverse activities and competitions available within the shooting sports.

    Are there any equipment rules or regulations in the Target sports competitions?

    Yes, both the ESPN Great Outdoor Games rifle and shotgun competitions have specific rules and regulations.

    The competition is limited to rifles in .22 Long Rifle caliber. All shooting must be done from the standing position without aid of any artificial support. An unlimited amount of .22 LR ammunition may be loaded in any number of clips, with no more than 10 rounds per clip. Any type of optics may be used without restrictions. A competitor will be disqualified for placing their hands on their rifle prior to the "GO" signal. See the complete event description.

    In this head to head competition, each shooter may have no more that two shells loaded, but may have as much ammo as they feel necessary to complete the course of fire placed either on their person or on a provided stand. Competitors have the option of shouldering their shotgun prior to calling for a target series or using a low gun position. Shotguns of 12 gauge or smaller may be used. Ammunition cannot exceed 3 dram equivalent and no shot size larger than #7 . Factory ammunition only, no reloaded ammunition will be permitted. Coaches will not be allowed to assist competitors during the shooting portion of the event. See the complete event description.

    What kind of rifles do the Rifle competitors use?

    To vie for Gold in the Great Outdoor Games Rifle Competition requires both speed and accuracy. The competitors use customized, highly accurate .22 long rifle auto-loading rifles, which have detachable 10 round magazines for quick reloading.

    How can I compete in the Target sports?

    The Target Events are open to any person that qualifies. If you have what it takes to go head-to-head with the best, then all you need to do is head over to the qualifying events and give it a shot. In 2003 there are three qualifying events for both rifle and shotgun. For 2003 up to eight competitors for each discipline will be chosen from these qualifying events. See the complete qualifying schedule.

    Timber events

    How are the Timber athletes selected?

    Athletes are selected by elected selectors that make up the Lumberjack sports Ranking committee. The selectors rank and re-rank athletes based on results from the past season. The athletes can protest their ranking before final rankings are posted for the season. The athletes can also file a Rankings Update Posting, or RUP, to have their position improved with new results.

    Where do you get the wood that the lumberjacks use in the Great Outdoor Games?

    The wood is specially selected from over 100,000 acres of land in Northern Wisconsin. The trees are selected from a "patch" that is scheduled to be logged and meets all requirements for premium competition wood. The logs are mapped into a spread sheet marking location within the patch and the number tree they were part of. The log is also coded as to its location within the tree, as in bottom, middle or top. The logs are then matched and lathe-turned for final analysis before being shrink-wrapped and shipped. Each log can be worth up to $50.