BELTON — Around 200 American Kennel Club recognized canines will compete in an admission-free Agility Tournament at the Bell County Expo Center this weekend.
Starting at 8 a.m. today, Saturday and Sunday, and running until about mid-afternoon, different courses of varying difficulties will be set up for dogs and trainers from across the state to test their abilities.
“Over the course of the weekend, we’ll probably have over 1,600 runs,” said Mark Slevin, event coordinator with the Austin Golden Retriever Club, which is hosting the contest. “There will be multiple courses set up throughout the day for dogs to compete on. They’ll be at various levels of difficulty.”
A “run” is one dog completing an obstacle course, which is often done in less than one minute, Slevin said.
The difficulty level of a course depends on how many obstacles are assembled and in what order.
“An excellent course will have 20 obstacles,” Slevin said. “A novice course will only be 14 obstacles and much easier to go around.”
Obstacles may include jumps, weave poles, a teeter-totter and A-frames for the dog to climb over.
“Texas is a highly competitive area in the country for dog agility,” Slevin said. “There will be plenty of dogs there capable of beating national champion level dogs, and dogs that have been national champions before.”
Members of Central Texas area clubs, such as Bell County Kennel Club and the Waco Agility Group are scheduled to compete, along with dog-trainer teams from Houston, San Antonio, Austin, Oklahoma and Louisiana.
“Anyone who likes dogs will enjoy it,” Slevin said. “Anybody who’s never been to an event like this, I think they’ll be impressed with what you can teach your dog to do.”
Competitions will take place in the Equestrian Arena, not the main dome, according to the Bell County Expo Center’s website.