More than 40 four-dog teams from seven states met at The Classic Center in Athens this weekend for the 10th annual Summer Camp Flyball Tournament.
The relay-style dog racing event was co-hosted by the Athens-based Double Dog Dare Flyball Club and the Atlanta-based Lunatic Fringe Flyball Club.
“Summer Camp is always a favorite for people in our region,” said Dana Hanson, Double Dog Dare club captain. “We do this event so we can play at home and also take our turn hosting.”
Events hosted by local clubs, such as Summer Camp, are the backbone of the flyball community, said Dirk Elber, a member of the North American Flyball Association Board of Directors and the Virginia-based New River Rapids Flyball Club.
“The clubs on the local level do all of the leg-work,” he said. “Double Dog Dare does a great job. This is one of the tournaments you look forward to.”
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Formula Fun, a team of dogs from Greensboro, N.C., were the fastest this weekend.
The dogs and their handlers are members of the Fur Fun Flyball Club and took home a first-place ribbon after completing the 102-foot flyball course in just over 15 seconds.
“It feels great to win. We’re thrilled,” said Leerie Jenkins, Fur Fun club member and 10-year Summer Camp veteran. “We were very pleased with our dogs.”
While most of the racers were awarded for their speed, others were recognized for their longevity.
Sharon Harrell and her dog Isaac were the recipients of the Hobbes Award, which recognizes dogs that have earned more than 100,000 flyball competition points.
“Not very many dogs get there. It’s never promised,” Harrell said about the feat, which took 11 years of competition to accomplish.
“It’s exciting to be honored in that way and have Isaac still running very well. He’s not ready to quit.”
Athens’ own Double Dog Dare may not have taken home first prize, but Hanson said a ribbon is not always the goal.
“It’s a lot of work hosting, but when everybody is happy at the end of the day, it’s worth it,” he said.