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The Longest Human Dog Tunnel - A World Record Attempt

Bendigo Branch Hosts World Record Bash

On Saturday 18 November 2006 the Bendigo Branch of the GSDCV celebrated its 10th anniversary celebrations by hosting an attempt to set a new Guinness World Record™ for the “Longest Human Dog Tunnel”. The original record was set in the United Kingdom by 4 dogs, which successfully negotiated a tunnel consisting of 222 people. The plan was to beat this record by utilising five dogs and bitches and 230 tunnelers.

The organising started about a year ago when the original idea was put forward to the Branch Manager, Marg Phillips, that they ought to attempt the Guinness World Record™ as part of Bendigo Branch’s tenth anniversary celebrations. After hundreds of emails, phone calls, mail outs, promotional flyers and sub-committee meetings later, the show was well and truly on the road.

A number of Bendigo members began training their dogs in an anticipation of the world record attempt and try outs were also held at other GSDCV Branches to enable members from other GSDCV Branches to compete as well. A practice at the Skye/SSB Funday this year also gave the competitors some much needed practice and after the dogs demonstrated that they could run through 130 pairs of legs, there was every indication that the teams involved “where on the money” and ready.

However, a set back occurred for John Anthony and the rest of the organising sub-committee when it was confirmed that on the 31st October 2006 from the Guinness World Record™ head office that the original record was broken in August this year in the USA by a dog called Nightie who had successfully negotiated 382 pairs of Yankee doodle dandy legs!

So the bar was raised, ‘no problem’ was the attitude of 12 of the keenest GSDCV members who were rearing to give it a go. The ten GSD’s (plus two in reserve) were going well with their training, however, the logistics of having to organise just under 400 people was going to be the real test! It was going to take a real GSDCV team effort to get the dogs over the line.

Bendigo Branch subsequently stepped up their campaign – flyers were put up all over Bendigo, friends of friends were begged into participating, radio and local papers were organised to get “please help” news out and other GSDCV branches were actively recruiting tunnelers as well. Great support from both show and obedience people helped gain the extra momentum that was now required for the event.

At the start of the day things were not looking good when we had only about 190 tunnelers pre-registered from the Bendigo area, 130 more from other GSDCV branches, and about 50 extra people that were part of the day’s other events. Never the less there was no panic and the days other planned activities kicked off the entertainment.

After the official opening of the event the delightful “Fu Wa” Dancers entertained the crowd with a dance routine ably supported by backing musicians. Then came the fantastic Lion Team, which was a great crowd favourite and their energetic Chinese dragon style dance, drew huge applause. The Clan Macleod Pipe Band also entertained the crowd with some traditional highland music.

A breed display was also put on for the crowd to help explain the structure and conformation of the GSD to the spectators present. The demonstration also explained why the breed is the world’s most versatile working dog. The volunteers put on both a conformation and obedience display, and it was very well received by the crowd.

Although the Honourable Bob Cameron (Minister for Primary Industry) and Councillor Greg Williams had arrived as guests of honour (and to help verify the result) we were still quite a few persons short of the record. An executive decision to flag down a car or two and to let some of the older children participate enabled us to get to a total of 387 legs ready to go!

The date with destiny was now set as the handlers; dogs and bitches were marched onto the field by the Clan Macleod Pipe Band. The teams included;

Brett Crutchfield & Keisha Adam Coffey & Kobi
Gwen O’Kearney & Phantom Ken Smith & Kaiser
Andris Osenieks & Rex Iva Baloun & Max
Ethel Thompson & Sergeant Barbara Stewart & Thor
Sam Allen & Honey Brian Dugan & Zac
Gary King & Ussher Mary McKenna & Bella

The first dog commenced his run through the tunnel and as he magically appeared from the last pair of legs the previous record (set by Nightie) was subsequently broken and a mighty cheer went up! In all seven of the starters made it successfully through. It wasn’t easy for the dogs as most had to literally crouch to get through the children’s legs at the far end of the tunnel course.

After the success the Honourable Bob Cameron, Councillor Greg Williams and Frank Moody made a presentation to all the teams that had attempted the record. Then in the biggest shock of the day the GSDCV ‘Old Timers’ knocked off the Bendigo Braves in the tug of war. The celebrations continued with a ‘junior’ tunnelling record attempt, music, tunnelling, obstacle courses and a treasure hunt.

The day concluded with celebrations for the 10 year anniversary of the Bendigo Branch, and a yummy spit roast. I should also acknowledge all the GSDCV members from across the state that made the event the great success that it was. Whether you helped out in the planning, preparation, training, breed showcase, on the day activities and catering; or actually participated in the world record attempt on the day, a big thank you!

Thanks also need to go to Bendigo’s leading Veterinary Surgeon Sue Collins and sponsors of the event including Royal Canin, Petstock, Christians Bus Co, Toledo Trailers and Oyster Bay Winery. Also thanks to the display set up by Oscar 1 Mines Rescue and the performance by the Kennington Primary Percussion Band and the beautiful Shire Horse who travelled from Swan Hill to be with us as well as the Bendigo Bombers. Thank you all.

We are still waiting at the time of printing for official conformation of the new Guinness World Record™, but at the very least we have certainly set an Australian record.

By Peter Comatas