Diving dogs aim to impress at national qualifying event
COLUMBIA - The North America Diving Dogs dock diving competition was in its second of three days Saturday at the Canine Sports Center.
Dogs of all breeds and sizes took to the diving dock to show off their jumping skills. The owners brought their dogs to the dock, and they threw objects into the pool for the dogs to chase. The pool is about 45 feet long length and holds 28,000 gallons of water.
The dogs' jumping length ranges anywhere from one foot to the longest of about 31 feet. A spot to nationals in Orlando, Florida, in December is up for grabs.
Midwest Mobile Dock coordinator Jason Rigler said the event brings a lot of energy with it since it is a national qualifier.
"You feel the energy rise," Rigler said. "You feel the nerves build for teams and so there's a little more on the line at a qualifier, and you get that cool energy rise from teams that are competing."
Rigler said the popularity of dock diving is growing. The sport is easy to get started in, he said, but dock diving takes a while to master and compete at the highest level.
"I think people really enjoy that challenge," he said. "They enjoy the very first challenge of getting their dogs in the water and then learning how to increase the distance that their dogs jump. That's a really great journey to be part of with teams from around the country."
Ken Kutzli from just outside Detroit drove about 11 hours to have his dog participate in the event. He is also a friend of Rigler's and said he enjoys watching dog sports.
"I drove down to see my friend Jason run this event and to have my dog compete," Kutzli said. "I just enjoy watching sports that involve dogs. This is also my first time in Columbia, and I love it so far."
The qualifier will conclude Sunday around 4 p.m.