TARGET 070711

Lone Star Ruffnecks

It's a dog show, but Eukanuba and Westminster, it's not. These dogs have to have a lot more training, and would probably look down on Westminster dogs as little more than "a bunch of good-looking sissies". These dogs are the amazing teams who run in "flyball" tournaments.

"Flyball" is a relay racing sport involving a team of four dogs and handlers. The dogs take turns racing over four hurdles, ten feet apart in distance from each other, to a spring-loaded box which shoots out a tennis ball when the dog triggers the box with it's feet. The dog then grabs the tennis ball (right outta the air!) and races back across all four hurdles, passing the next dog in line at full speed, to return to it's handler and receive a treat or reward for doing a good job.

Each of the four dogs has to execute their runs passing each other early before the start line, no skipping hurdles, no chasing the dog in the other lane, no dropping the ball, the box must be correctly triggered, etc. If a mistake is made during the run, the dog is made to run it all over again - which hurts timing and placement, and usually ends in a heat loss.

"Heat"? a tournament, a heat is when all four dogs on a team complete a single run. A race is a series of heats run back-to-back to determine a winner, as in best three heats out of five.

They arrive eager to compete, although they may be somewhat embarrassed by the way the humans they own bring them.

They start their leg of the race by tackling the hurdles with all the entheusiasm and power of a true athlete. (Shown here is Trigger).

And they run, like Trep, here, with a determination and concentration like you've never seen before.

Bess attacks the mechanism with will throw the ball into the air past her head.

Even before the ball has gone the length of his short body, Sparky has the ball in his mouth and is kicking off from the ball thrower to take the ball back to the finish line.....

....and shows that you don't wait for the hurdle to come to you before you start jumping.

Here, Prissy shows that what counts in life
is not the size of the dog in the fight,
but the size of the fight in the dog.

Like any other race, you can only have one winning team, and those on the losing team have time to ponder what they could have done better......

....while the tired winner relaxes in the victory pool.

But no one is a true loser here, because on the other side of the finish line, there is always someone waiting with their arms and hearts full of love.

For more information about flyball racing, tournaments, locations of flyball clubs worldwide, the owners of the dogs in the Lone Star Ruffnecks club, flyball desktop wallpapers, flyball history, and more, take a look at the following links:
The international flyball site
People and canines web site.
The North American Flyball Association

for the Lone Star Ruffnecks

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Many thanks to David Sell for suggesting this target.