The Double Dog Dare Flyball Racing Club is hosting its 10th annual Summer Camp Flyball Tournament this weekend.
The free-to-all event kicks off 8 a.m. Saturday in Grand Hall 8 at The Classic Center in downtown Athens.
More than 40 teams from across the Southeast will meet in Athens to participate in the tournament that features relay-style races between teams of four dogs.
Each dog races down a 51-foot lane over jumps. At the end, the dogs trigger a spring-loaded box to catch a tennis ball and races back to their handler as the next dog is released.
“We’ll have some very fast teams here this year,” Double Dog Dare Club Captain Dana Hanson said about the North American Flyball Association sanctioned event. “The fastest teams will finish four dogs down the 102-foot course in 15 seconds. ”
At that rate, the dogs move as fast as 30 feet per second, something Hanson said only adds to the excitement.
“There’s nothing quite like watching your dog speed down the course like that,” she said.
In addition to the thrill of watching the dogs race, flyball offers numerous benefits for dogs and owners alike.
For the four-legged competitors, flyball provides healthy mental and physical exercise.
For the handlers, flyball helps create a rewarding partnership between human and canine, while also providing an opportunity for a family-friendly, all-inclusive team sport experience.
“Unlike agility or most other dog sports, flyball is a team sport, so clubs enjoy the camaraderie of practicing, traveling and competing together,” Hanson said. “Even the other competitors within the sport are extremely supportive.”
As for Double Dog Dare’s chances of taking home the first place ribbon this weekend, Hanson is thinking realistically, she said.
“We’re not quite there yet; we won’t be competing for first place,” she said. “But we’ve got some of the fastest dogs we’ve ever had in our club. We’re not going to be a 15-second team tomorrow, but we’re going to get there.”
IF YOU GO
What: Summer Camp Flyball Tournament
When: 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday; 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday
Where: Grand Hall 8 at The Classic Center, 300 N. Thomas St., Athens