Big Dog Ride benefits search and rescue teams

Friday, August 14, 2009
Search and rescue teams come from Ohio, Kentucky, Evansville and Ft. Wayne to train at The American Mantrailing Academy in Greencastle.

GREENCASTLE -- When a child goes missing or an elderly person disappears search and rescue teams spread out looking for them. Often search and rescue dogs are used but first humans and canines have to be trained.

In Greencastle there is an organization called The American Mantrailing Academy providing free training to all search and rescue teams or individuals willing to volunteer their time and services to assist local authorities, Homeland Security, or emergency management agencies, and others when searching for lost or missing persons.

Founded by K-9 Master Trainer Tony Keith last March, the organization has a host of trainers and master trainers who meet twice a month to provide no cost training to teams who come from as far away as Ohio, Kentucky, Evansville and Fort Wayne.

On Aug. 15, the AMA will host the 2nd Annual Big Dog Benefit Ride to support the education and training of volunteer search and rescue teams across the Midwest.

Registration begins at 10 a.m. at the Speedway gas station in Greencastle. First bike out will be at 11 a.m. The ride will cover over 100 miles of roadways in southern Indiana.

Cost is $20 per rider and $25 with a passenger. This price includes meal and entertainment. All bikes are welcome.

A cookout with hamburgers, hot dogs and all the fixings will follow the ride. Music will be provided by SlyOne Entertainment. Prizes will be given for the best poker hand, worst poker hand and longest ride in. Big Dog Ride shirts will be available for $15.

A drawing for a Kenmore Gas Grill will also be held that day. You do not have to be present to win. Tickets for the grill are $1 or 6 tickets for $5, 13 tickets for $10 and 30 tickets for $20.

Registration can be done online at

The AMA puts on two academies each year in the spring and fall. During the spring academy in June 2009, the academy was able to sponsor three search and rescue teams by covering the cost of their lodging, food, and training.

"This was possible through AMA members doing other fundraisers such as washing cars, block parties and raffles," said Keith.

This free K-9 training is available to the public and to any person who wants to attend even if they do not own a canine.

"This training is very beneficial for Indian scouting, land navigation, perimeter establishment, crime scene prevention, obedience, protection, trailing and human remains detection," said Keith.

A schedule of training dates is available on the AMA website, and there are still slots open for the Fall Academy for anyone who wants to be a part of a week of fun and training at Camp Na Wa Kwa in Poland. More information can be found at or call Tony Keith at 720-8940.

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