Jack Russell Race
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."