In 1997 Nestle-Purina came up with a novel idea for advertising and creating a national, televised event involving dogs and their owners. It was called Purina Dog Chow’s Incredible Dog Challenge. Jack Russell Hurdle Racing was one of the events. Jack Russells and racing have been a staple of Jack Russell trials across the United States for many years so racing was a natural fit. Not only was it entertaining, but it was fast and it created an opportunity for spectators to root for a favorite and cheer on the winner.

The first year, 1997, Missouri Earthdogs was asked to set up a race course and run some terriers as an exhibition in the event. It seemed a logical choice since we were the only Jack Russell club in the area and we had just completed our first trial at Purina Farms. After the first year Jack Russell Hurdle Racing became a staple of the event.

Our role in the IDC is to have a number of dogs ready to race at the IDC Finals, which takes place in St. Louis in the fall. Over the years the racing format has varied with MOE racing between 18 and 24 dogs each year.

After the exhibition year, it was determined that, because our trial is held over Memorial Day, it was logical to involve the dogs racing at our trial in the IDC. But the dogs qualifying at our trial needed to be offered a chance to race in the Final; we have been able to procure that for our terriers.

By using our trial as the qualifier for the IDC we have created a democratic process for choosing dogs to race. This eliminates favoritism and allows any terrier, from anywhere, a chance to race on national TV. in the IDC. Any terrier can attend our trial, become a Missouri Earthdog member, race, and if finishing well in racing, receive an invite to return for the IDC finals in St. Louis.

The IDC is set up to create a competition atmosphere in which the spectators, either at Purina or watching on TV, can cheer for a team. To achieve that competition two teams are created each year: a Western team and an Eastern team. Early each year Purina chooses a site in each part of the country and stages a mini-IDC over a weekend. The dogs qualifying at the mini-IDC or, Regional event, are invited to come to St. Louis for the Finals. Currently, this means that the top two terriers racing at the Regional event come to St. Louis.

The Final race at the IDC is composed of one terrier representing the Eastern team, one terrier representing the Western team, last year’s IDC winner, and the top three  terriers of the Missouri Earthdogs Final (the Braggin’ Rights Race) which takes place minutes before the IDC Final. The 18 terriers qualifying at the Memorial Day Bash trial (our trial) race in three heats of six during the Jack Russell Hurdle Racing event. The first and second place dogs from each heat then move on to the Missouri Earthdog Final (the Braggin’ Rights Race). The top three finishers of the Braggin’ Rights Race then move on to the IDC Final.

Is the winner of IDC the equivalent of the winner at the Nationals? One thing is sure: it’s a great weekend, a great party, and you finally get to show your relatives and friends what Jack Russell racing is all about!
 

 

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