Fri. Feb. 15 and Sat. Feb. 16

10:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m., 3:30 p.m., 5 p.m.

Sun. Feb. 17

10:30 a.m. and 1 p.m.

Amateur Finals: 3:30 p.m., Semi-Pro Finals: 4 p.m., Pro Finals: 4:30 p.m.

Price included with general admission

Brittlebank Park

170 Lockwood Blvd.

Wet dogs are rarely a cause for celebration, but distance dock jumping, the newest “sports” phenomenon brought to you by ESPN, combines an instinctive canine love for water with man’s love of competition.

Following the event’s unprecedented success in a “filler” time slot during the 2000 ESPN Great Outdoor Games, DockDogs was formed in 2002 as the independent governing and sanctioning body for the infant sport. Since then, the number of annual competitions has grown by leaps and bounds, from six official events in 2002 to over 100 in 2007.

For the uninitiated, a DockDogs competition functions more or less like a long jump contest for our four-legged friends — the winner is determined by measuring the distance from the dock to the site of a dog’s splashdown point in the water.

Cash prizes — ranging from $25 to $100 — for the top four jumpers will be awarded after the finals on Sunday. And you and yours are encouraged to participate.

“We want as many local dogs and owners as possible to come out this year,” says DockDogs’ Teresa Hodgers. So, if any of those lapdogs you keep at your mom’s house can beat the current record of 28′ 10″ set in 2005, you may have a shot at DockDog-sanctioned glory.

Competitors of any age, size, sex, or breed are welcome to participate, provided they bring a dog that loves water. (See, how we just played with your mind there? Of course, you did.) And the competition is sure to be fierce. Hodges says some owners hire professional trainers or handlers to help realize their dogs’ full potential and many dog-and-handler pairs will “fly in from all over the country” just to compete. So if you want to win, you need to get yourself and your dog in shape awfully quick. (And don’t even think about placing a phone call to the folks at BALCO. Nobody likes a record with an asterisk beside it.)

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