Amateur Dog Racing
With a short break from 2011 to 2016, Collaton St Mary Parish Church holds its annual Amateur Dog Racing event. From 2018 this formed part of the Spring Festival over the late May Bank Holiday weekend. In 2019 it takes place on Saturday 25 May.
For details and entry form, telephone 01803 665836 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Collaton Dog Racing is always popular with dog owners, locals and visitors to the area and is sure to guarantee a fun afternoon for all the family. Originally held in the school playing field, the event moved to the adjacent field following completion of the new school building in 2001. From 2018 it takes place in the field behind the Parish Rooms.
The accompanying Spring Festival includes stalls and refreshments, a floral display in the Church and Classic Car Show on Bank Holiday Monday.
The Spring Festival in 2019 is open from Saturday 25 May to Monday 27 May.
After being postponed for two weeks due to bad weather, the 2009 Dog Racing event went ahead on a sunny afternoon on July 25th. With a full compliment of dogs and a large crowd of supporters the afternoon was a great success.
A Staffordshire Bull Terrier named Lucy was the clear winner of the final with a close finish for second and third.
The racing, although competitive, is intended for family pets and for this reason whippets, greyhounds and lurchers are not allowed to compete. The course is about 50 yards long, separated by wire netting and the dogs were handicapped according to size and breed.
All dogs must be accompanied by two handlers, with one to hold the dog at the start and the other to beckon enthusiastically (often a source of entertainment in itself) at the other end of the course. It is not uncommon for a racing dog to reach half-way and have a change of heart and return to the start - or simply refuse to move another inch. A small tote is operated to add to the interest.
Races are run as heats, leading to semi-finals and finals, with a perpetual trophy awarded to the overall winner, and prizes for second and third places.