The world's premier canine aquatics competition is returning to Anderson's General Store Friday for a second year of amazing leaps. The contest is being staged again by Ohio-based DockDogs, a company that conducts these events across the country.
"Initially, this competition was used as a filler during ESPN's Great Outdoors Games'" said. Brian Sharenow, director of operations for DockDogs Inc. "Now, we conduct over 200 of these events per year, and have over 17,000 handlers in our database."
According to Sharenow, anyone can bring their dog to an event to compete, either by pre-registering through the company's website or registering onsite on a first come first serve basis. The dog must be at least 6 months old, and its handler must be at least 7 years old to compete or practice. Participants are not allowed to push, shove or throw their dog into the water.
The three-day event is being dubbed Anderson's Summer Splash with the DockDogs competition as the highlight. This competition is considered a national event whereby participants can earn points towards qualifying for one of the three regional competitions held across the country.
"We have so many customers who are dog owners, and love their dogs," he said. "This is an excellent way to have fun with your pet, to meet other dog owners, and just have a good time. Anyone can bring their dog, sign up, and participate. It is better if you go on their website and sign up ahead of time, but if there is room available, you can certainly sign up on the day of the competition. If you don't have a dog and just want to come and watch, please do so. It is just a fun, fun time."
Anderson said it was a difficult decision to extend to the contest into Sunday.
"Last year, we just did Friday and Saturday," he said. "They have talked us into expanding it to three days, because a lot of 'big name' handlers cannot get here until Saturday. So, we are going to start at noon on Sunday. We will also have different vendors here addressing canine health and nutrition, and specials in the store."
According to Anderson, community involvement was the main reason for bringing the competition back for a second year.
"It is a lot of work, but everyone seemed to have such a good time last year that we decided to do it again," he said. "We had 25 participants in 2012, and we had more than double that number signed up two weeks ago. I am not sure just how many we have signed up right now."
Dogs can participate in four different events - Big Air, Speed Retrieve, Extreme Vertical, and Iron Dog. According to the company's website, Big Air is a long jump for dogs. Extreme Vertical is a high jump for dogs. Speed Retrieve is a timed event. And Iron Dog is similar to a triathlon.
"The Statesboro event is an important event for us," Sharenow said. "We are very excited about the interest and turnout, and in fact, there is going to be a collegiate division whereby college students can compete against one another. All they have to do is show a valid school ID to compete in that class."
To learn more about DockDogs or to register for the event, visit their website at www.DockDogs.com.