J.D. Platt is best known as the man with the high-flying dogs and the only human performer in K9 Kings Flying Dog Show, but his experience in the entertainment industry started long before his canine companions came along.
As a former professional snowboarder, Platt spent his younger years shredding the slopes at Mt. Bachelor, entertaining sports enthusiasts, and learning the ins and outs of show business. One afternoon just as his career was winding down, a man stopped to pick up Platt as he hitchhiked his way home from the mountain. That man was Perry Lenhart, a halftime National Football League entertainer who worked with Frisbee dogs, and the conversations they had that day changed Platt's life.
"I had been wanting to do something different," he says, "That was my defining moment. I was in the right place at the right time. It was 100 percent destiny."
Lenhart went on to mentor Platt for about a year. He hired him to assist at events and took him to some Frisbee dog competitions where Platt decided to get a true Frisbee dog.
Platt says, "The day I decided to get my first Frisbee dog was another defining moment in my life." He had been scanning the paper when he saw an ad for three English Pointer/Border Collie mix puppies. He immediately jumped in his car, drove to Tumalo, and had the pick of the litter. He chose Galaxy, the dog that would launch his career and be by his side as they earned national and world championship titles, appeared in the media, and starred on Animal Planet.
Platt attributes most of his success to Galaxy and his canine companions, but admits that what he learned during his professional snowboarding years made a difference. "I took a lot of my background from snowboarding, especially the sponsorship experience...and brought it into the dog world."
With a show like K9 Kings, finding sponsorship was necessary and inevitable. "My show incorporates a lot of different things including the tricks I do with my dogs, to the entertainment value, music, and enthusiasm," says Platt. "I love what I do and more importantly, my dogs love what they do."
Platt's enthusiasm and love for what he does draws the masses, earning his show an impressive list of sponsors including Keen Footwear, Petcurean, Les Schwab Tire Centers, and Komfy K9. The magnitude of the support he has earned is unique in the world of canine entertainment and allows Platt to continue the work that he loves.
Over the years, Platt has adopted several dogs including purebreds, mixes, and rescues. He recently lost Galaxy, and his canine family consists of 11 dogs: 10 females and one male.
Platt and his dog family travel about 120 days a year, participating in 25 events, and putting on hundreds of shows.
Dog lovers can cheer on Platt and his K9 Kings at the Deschutes County Fair. His shows will run from Aug. 3 through Aug. 7.