Jack Rus­sell Race

Central Otago Mirror - - FRONT PAGE -

For at least ten years, the Jack Rus­sell race has been a very ’fun part’ of the Wanaka A and P show.

It’s an event which orig­i­nal or­gan­iser Peter Davis said started off as a bit of fun with 20 dogs rac­ing and it was such a hit that it has been held ev­ery year since its in­cep­tion.

"The first race was such a laugh, with all these lit­tle dogs run­ning around ev­ery­where and mak­ing a great deal of noise," Mr Davis said. "Now we have up to 40 to 50 dogs en­ter­ing the race ev­ery year."

"It cer­tainly has a huge fol­low­ing with peo­ple com­ing from far afield to en­ter this great race."

Cur­rent or­gan­iser Richard Bur­don says that mov­ing the time of the race to just be­fore the Grand Pa­rade has worked well for them and for those watch­ing, there are many funny mo­ments which helps to keep the event very pop­u­lar.

Mr Bur­don said that it’s a norules fun event with lots of lit­tle dogs run­ning around but even try­ing to get the start un­der­way can be a bit of a chal­lenge, with dogs es­cap­ing and then half of them run­ning off in the wrong di­rec­tion.

Adding to the hi­lar­ity can also in­clude catch­ing out the odd per­son who is try­ing to add an­other type of dog to the race, and also when the Jack Rus­sells think that the hare is not much game and de­cide that chas­ing the hunts­man’s horse is more fun.

"We had the pho­tog­ra­pher one year tan­gled in the hare along with sev­eral Jack Rus­sells which was a lit­tle messy," Mr Bur­don said.

"Catch­ing the win­ners at the end of the race can also be full on with nor­mally ev­ery­one try­ing to tell you they just had a win­ner! I am nor­mally com­ing up from the start so it a lit­tle graz­ing with 50 odd Jack Rus­sells on the loose and their own­ers all run­ning around. So far we have never lost one for too long!"

Mr Davis said the phi­los­o­phy be­hind the race is very sim­ple.

"The dogs chase a rab­bit which is tied to string and pulled along be­hind a horse which has al­ways been rid­den by Glyn Smith."

"The first year we ran the race, the win­ning dog jumped up in the air - about 5 feet which was as high as the horse - to get this rab­bit, he was so keen."

"He then went on to win the race for the next two to three years be­fore the owner de­cided it was time to let some­one else have a chance."

Mr Davis said in some ways the race could be de­scribed as ’dis­or­gan­ised chaos’ but in re­al­ity it is a great deal of fun and un­doubt­edly one of the high­lights of the show.

"It’s quite dif­fi­cult to pick just who the win­ner might be," he said, the race in the past, tra­di­tion­ally judged by the Wives of the Pres­i­dent, Vice Pres­i­dent and Ju­nior Vice Pres­i­dent.

"Even this is quite funny as they all get mixed up with the dogs and out of the ap­prox­i­mately 50 dogs that now en­ter the race, there are only about 10 at the most who fin­ish up at the line," Mr Davis said. "Most of the oth­ers run in all other di­rec­tions."

En­tries are taken on the day and there is free en­try for those keen to take out the ti­tle.

"It re­ally is just a fun event with lots of peo­ple run­ning around and chas­ing their dogs," Mr Davis said, "but it has been one of the events which has be­come as­so­ci­ated with the Wanaka A and P Show and which those at­tend­ing re­ally look for­ward to."

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