Canine athletes from as far south as Florida and north as Michigan are coming to town with their owners this weekend for the Chattanooga Chomp Flyball Club tournament.
The relay race for dogs will take place at Play Dog Excellent, 4113 Dayton Blvd., from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday-Sunday, March 16-17. Admission is free to this tournament sanctioned by United Flyball League International.
Nicknamed "The Rock 'n Roll of Dog Sports," flyball is a relay race with four dogs to a team. The course consists of a starting line, four hurdles spaced 10 feet apart and a spring-loaded box.
To start a heat, entry to the course is made at a full run timed to a sequence of lights, similar to a drag race. Dogs leap the hurdles and perform a turn on the box, releasing a tennis ball. After catching the ball, each dog must return over the hurdles and exit the course with the ball as the next dog crosses the start line.
Races are run in pairs of teams and are laser-timed to 1/1,000th of a second. Some of the swiftest competitors complete the 102-foot round trip in 3.5 seconds.
It's fast, it's competitive and it's fun. For more information: www.u-fli.com/.