And it also helps to have a partner who brings serious skills to the table. Gracie has been a quick study over the years, and her athletic ability is unsurpassed.
“She's extremely focused and very athletic,” he said. “She's like a mini Michael Jordan.”
Competitions usually consist of two rounds of freestyle where Gracie and Fairchild perform a series of tricks, but all tricks have to begin and end with a disc in flight. There is also one minute of toss and catch. In that event Fairchild throws the disc in an area about half the size of a football field. If Gracie and Fairchild don't connect, points are deducted.
“There's a lot of precision to it,” he said. “You can't be off by much. If you are, things just sort of fall apart.”
While Fairchild was a quick study to the sport, achieving what some take decades to do, he still finds value in the simplest things about it.
“I've always been a pretty competitive person but the real reason I do it is to have fun with my dogs and meet people and establish friendships,” he said. “I didn't get good at it until 2005, but I had a whole lot of fun before then.”