Doggy divers make a splash at Kentucky Horse Park

July 21, 2013 

As thousands of people celebrated their model plastic horses at Breyerfest this weekend, another niche entertainment event also took place at the Kentucky Horse Park: The Splash Dogs Breyerfest Ozark Championships, a canine dock-jumping competition.

Organizer Tony Reed said dock-jumping is more of a West Coast thing, but he hopes to expand the practice farther east, as more people learn about the thrill of seeing how far their dogs can jump into water. Reed started the Splash Dogs organization about 10 years ago, after he saw his first competition.

During the event, an owner throws a toy and the dog jumps after it. The jump is measured by where the base of the dog's tail crosses the water line. Reed has a high-speed camera to measure exactly where the dogs drop.

This weekend's big winner was Turbo, a Labrador retriever owned by Linda Macke of New Richmond, Ohio. Turbo jumped 23 feet, the farthest of any dog in four divisions.

Turbo won a big ribbon and maybe some treats, but there were no cash prizes. "Cash turns people into idiots," said Reed.

Go to Splashdogs.com for more information.

Linda B. Blackford, lblackford@herald-leader.com

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