Updated: Sep 11, 2019
C. Florida Sighthound Holiday Classic 2018
Category: Sports Clubs
8-9 Dec. 2018 Ocala Florida
Thunder rolled, and the winds burst tents as a crowd of people and their sighthounds huddled under the shelters in the boiling Florida storm on a Sunday in C. Florida. Despite the occasional thunder and gusts, they remained upbeat and good humored of the wrath around them.
Nearby were two sand mix tracks in the large green fields. One two-hundred-yard-long straight and the other an oval like NASCAR or Greyhound Tracks. Eventually the rain dropped to showers and today was oval track day for the racing breeds. Large and small. The yelps and barks of the pups became ever more excited as they seemed to know it was time. The races were about to begin.
(ˈgeɪzˌhaʊnd ; gāzˈhoundˌ)
a dog that hunts by sight instead of scent, as a greyhound
A race of a different stripe
You may have heard of Lure Coursing and we recently reported on the AKC National Championship and the ASFA Lure Coursing event in Brooksville. There is another form you may not be aware of still. In this form, the course is not wide-open fields but familiar straight and oval tracks. Something any other race from human to car is familiar with. The governing organizations provide the standards to provide safety and fairness of the races. In the Lure Racing competitions, its all about fun though, and seeing these wonderful hounds doing what they love to do.
Rain or Shine, We Cross the Line
Those words were from Race Secretary Jules Vermeulen at the conclusion of this two-day event that braved the storms of a Florida Sunday storm to finish all heats. Jules has over ten years’ experience lure racing and been the Race Secretary the last year. She was all smiles through the stormy morning and happily attended to all the days teams as she rounded up racers for each heat and saw to the logistics.
“At the end of a race, a dog will look at you, and I swear they are smiling” Jules Vermeulen
Photo-Feature See these Bad Azz Racing Folks and Their Dogz
Club and Track
The Central Florida Sighthound Racing Club is the southern-most Lure racing club in N. America and started running their races on a Polo Field, but today has permanent “Sand-Mix” tracks for both straight and oval racing. The sand-mix sounds alarming but is in fact developed to provide the best possible grip for a dog’s feet and minimize chance for injury. It does both remarkably well as we saw.
How to get started?
Over and again when we asked this question, the answer was “Come out and watch”, and this is an exceptional spectator sport. The races are exciting, but the community is very friendly and eager to tell you about their own dogs too.
If your dog chases anything that moves
They might be a sighthound…
Unlike most canine competition, there are no Judges in Lure Racing. Breeds race against their own breeds in competition of first across the line wins. With no objective opinion, the result is a fast-moving series of races with little contested result. There even a very serious finish line capture camera. All that being said, the overwhelming interest was in the entertainment for both the dogs and humans in this very social gathering.
“It’s the most fun your dog will ever have” Jules Vermeulen
If you have a keen sighthound, bring them out. Even the slowest hound out there loves it. They usually race most of their lives.
Racing our dogs is likely the oldest game we have played with our domesticated canines and watching our sighthound racing breeds go full speed and grinning all the way is pure magic . So, it is somewhat curious that most people today seem unaware that they can do a lot more than chase a ball. The “coursing” community is relatively small. It is the living roots of a sport that we are all attached to from the first days of dogs and men. The coursing community is a hiding in plain sight for those in Florida and looking for you and your own “racing dog” to come play along.
Hopefully after reading this today, you will take the first step and look for an event or their group on Facebook to learn how your Bad Azz Dog can go Tally-Ho!
Central Florida Sight Hound Racing Club On Facebook https://www.facebook.com/groups/714718341874468/
This weekends races were governed by the standards of:
WRA, LGRA and NOTRA
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