Excellent care is essential for any athletes at the Great Outdoor Games presented by Dodge, but a special team has chipped in for those of the canine variety this weekend. A local animal hospital, A Breed Apart, is providing the care for the elite athletes participating in the Big Air, Agility, and Disc Drive competitions. The hospital, run by Dr. Claudia Meyers and Dr. Kate Peterson, was selected by Director of Sports Medicine Susan McGowen after McGowen did a full local search of the top veterinarians in the area. Dr. Meyers volunteered her services to be on site throughout the competitions.

FREE SHUTTLE Great Outdoor Games fans who park at the Alliant Energy Center can take advantage of a free shuttle to Art Fair on the Square on Saturday, July 10 from 9 a.m.-10:30 p.m. and Sunday, July 11 from 9 a.m.-5:30 p.m.

The shuttles will run every 10 minutes except for Saturday evening after 6 p.m., when they will run every 15 minutes. They will pick up at the Alliant Energy Center stop on Fairgrounds Drive next to Ag. Building 4 and at Capitol Square on the southeast corner of Doty and Pinckney streets.

A RECORD FOR MICULEK Jerry Miculek of Princeton, La., showed why he's called the "fastest trigger finger" in the world by breaking a record in the qualifying round of Saturday's Great Outdoor Games rifle shooting competition. Miculek used only 15.69 seconds to hit all 14 targets, smashing the old record of 22 seconds (which he also held). Targets range from 4-inch circles down to 1 ¾-inch circles, positioned 50 and 60 yards downrange. While all the other competitors use custom rifles with special parts, Miculek shoots a stock rifle that fans can buy at any sporting goods store. He needed fewer than 20 bullets to hit all the targets.

"I play clean and make sure that I am throwing as much lead down the bank as possible until the target is hit," said Miculek.

FREE ACTIVITIES Fans attending the final day of the Great Outdoor Games can try any of several hands-on activities at the Alliant Energy Center, including free fly casting lessons; free, hands-on kids' fishing activity organized by BASS, the worldwide authority on bass fishing; a log-rolling lesson, and the chance to try to climb a 45-foot-tall spar pole while belayed by timber sports professionals.

Admission to the Games and participation in these activities and many other is free. Venue hours are from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Sunday.

RIFLE SHOOTING'S FOUR-MAN DYNASTY Of the 15 medals awarded over five years of Great Outdoor Games rifle-shooting competition, 13 have been shared among just four competitors reigning as the sport's elite. Doug Koenig of Albertis, Pa., leads this fearsome foursome with four total medals, although he didn't get one this year. Tied at three apiece are Mike Cumming (who won gold on Saturday) of Altoona, Pa., Jerry Miculek (who won this year's silver) of Princeton, La., and Carl Bernosky (who beat Koenig for the 2004 bronze) of Ashland, Pa. Just how dominant is this quartet of shooters? Together, they have ousted a cumulative 74 other competitors who've tried but failed to upset the dynasty.