Vinny’s Pugnacious Quest for a Guinness World Record
By Allen Kimble, Jr.
October 27th, 2004
In the summer of 2001 Vinny made an unsuccessful attempt to climb atop a large boulder in Scottsdale, Arizona. The next day he returned and triumphantly mounted that boulder, thus marking the start of his two and ½ year Quest to set a new “Guinness World Record”.
Vinny had only moved to Arizona one month earlier from his birth city of Orlando where there were no rocks like those he found in Phoenix. Within a short time after conquering his first bolder, he knew exactly what he wanted to do for the rest of his life. Vinny wanted to become the world’s greatest canine rock climber and immediately set out on a journey to claim his new title.
Very early, Vinny exhibited an amazing attraction to boulders and an eagerness to climb that is seldom seen among canine. Throughout the following weeks, he worked hard to develop safe and effective ways to approach, mount and maintain his balance when climbing. He explored different seated and standing positions for himself once he’d climbed a Rock. Early on it was clearly evident that Vinny was what you’d call a natural at climbing. Even without being directed, he’d quickly choose the best positions to support himself based on the composition of the rocks he’d climbed. One particular boulder was slanted at a funny angle near its top. To maintain his balance, Vinny leaned into the opposite direction of the curve to compensate for its shape leaving him setting perfectly straight.
In August of 2001, Vinny started a “Hundred Day, Thousand Photo” challenge. Its purpose was to see if he could record 1,000 pictures of himself atop boulders he’d conquered within a hundred days. At the end of his challenge, Vinny’s image library contained over 1,300 pictures. Inspired by the ease of surpassing his challenge, Vinny decided to convert it into a Marathon for a new “Guinness World’s Record”.
Throughout the first two years of his marathon, Vinny experienced several milestones along the way. He was featured in “Climbing” and “Sweat” magazines and even received calls from “The Jay Leno Show” and “National Public Radio”. He was also featured on the front page of “Scottsdale Views” magazine with an action photo showing him climbing a steep angled boulder with a top resembling an inverted knife-edge.
After an amazing twenty-five months of climbing, posing and being photographed atop boulders, Vinny had amassed an image library of over 5,000 pictures. He then submitted documentation to “Guinness World Records” for review. A short time later, Vinny received a form letter from a researcher stating that his world record attempt would not be reviewed nor recognized by “Guinness”.
For a week or so Vinny experienced a severe bout of depression and started to question if it was all worth it. Disappointed yet undeterred, Vinny came to realize he didn’t need “Guinness World Records” or any other governing body to validate what he had accomplished. What more, he decided to go forth with his climbing Marathon.
Vinny has evolved and moved on to an open ended climbing Quest to set an unbreakable canine climbing record. He has even launched a photo web log where pictures from his image library are posted every day.
Seeking new avenues to channel his energies into, Vinny has turned his attention to the issues of animal rescue and adoption. He with the help of his human has created “Vinny the Pug Enterprises” for the purposes of helping rescue and adoption groups raise the money they need. You can expect to hear a lot about Vinny in animal rescue circles in the near future. As for his climbing quest, Vinny’s image library continues to grow and is expected to never be duplicated.
At some unknown point Vinny earned worldwide recognition for his incredible climbing skills. Today he is known in several countries around the world as “Vinny the Pug”.