Amateur Dog Racing
Every July until 2010, Collaton St Mary Parish Church held its annual Amateur Dog Racing and Fete. Sadly the Dog Racing ceased to be held after this date.
The Collaton Dog Racing was always popular with dog owners, locals and visitors to the area and was sure to guarantee a fun evening 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.
The accompanying fete provided stalls and refreshments. Entertainments included a Bouncy Castle and traditional country games such as a coconut shy and throwing the wellie.
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, was intended for family pets and for this reason whippets, greyhounds and lurchers were not allowed to compete. The course was about 50 yards long, separated by wire netting and the dogs were handicapped according to size and breed. We were lucky to have a local vet as race compere to keep control of the proceedings.
All dogs were 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 was 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 was operated to add to the interest.
Races were 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.