Ashley first gained notoriety on August 4, 1974 when Stein, then a 19-year-old college student, smuggled him into Dodger Stadium during a nationally televised baseball game between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Cincinnati Reds. Stein jumped the fence and went onto the baseball field with Ashley, where he threw discs (Frisbees) for the dog to catch. The crowd was in awe at Ashley's disc-catching ability, as he ran up to 35 miles per hour and leaped 9 feet in the air to snag the Frisbees. The stunt was so novel that the game was stopped and Joe Garagiola continued to announce the flying disc action on the field. Finally, after eight minutes, Stein was escorted off the field and arrested. The nationally televised exhibition of Ashley's skill did much to fuel interest in the disc dog sport.
Frisbee Dog World Championship
The next year, Stein helped to organize the first Frisbee Dog World Championship for flying-disc catching dogs and their handlers, which continued as an annual event. Stein and Ashley won the first three championships in 1975, 1976 and 1977. In those early years the Dog World Championship took place alongside the "human" Frisbee championships at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California. Eventually, it turned into a contest series and, in the early 1980s, was named the Ashley Whippet Invitational (AWI) in honor of Ashley.
Ashley's skills as a disc dog were featured in the 1977 documentary entitled Floating Free, which was nominated for an Academy Award in the category of Best Live Action Short Film. The eleven minute short was shot at the 1977 World Frisbee Championships and showcases the various events at the competition.
Other notable performances
Ashley's Ice Cream
Ashley's Ice Cream is a popular ice cream shop located on the Connecticut shoreline named after Ashley Whippet. It currently has 5 locations open, all of which are located in New Haven County. Their largest ice cream dish is served on a frisbee. The shop has been voted Connecticut's best ice cream 14 years in a row. Ashley Whippet's favorite ice cream flavor from Ashley's Ice Cream was sweet cream.
- "Dodger Stadium," Los Angeles Almanac. Retrieved from http://www.laalmanac.com/sports/sp09.htm on 2007-03-20.
- Coffey, Ron, "One of world's outstanding canine athletes has Greenfield connection," CoffeyWeb. Retrieved from http://www.coffeyweb.com/ashley.htm on 2007-03-20.
- "History of Ashley Whippet," Hero Disc USA. Retrieved from http://www.herodiscusa.com/store/index.php?act=viewDoc&docId=11 on 2007-03-20.
- "Our History," AshleyWhippet.com. Retrieved from http://www.ashleywhippet.com/history.htm on 2007-03-20.
- David (2005), "Canine Frisbee History," K9 Disc Thrills. Retrieved from http://k9discthrills.com/news.php on 2007-03-20.
- "Awards for Floating Free," IMDB. Retrieved from http://imdb.com/title/tt0076036/awards on 2007-03-20.
- "Plot summary for Floating Free," IMDB. Retrieved from http://imdb.com/title/tt0076036/plotsummary on 2007-03-20.
- "Super Bowl Honor Roll," Sportbet. Retrieved from http://www.sportbet.com/news/Super_Bowl_Entertainment_Honor_Roll.htm on 2007-03-20.