Dogs compete in speed event

October 30, 2018

HUNTINGTON — While some were faster than the speed of light and others decided to lay low, by the end of the weekend all the canine participants of an American Kennel Club speed event in Barboursville were very good dogs.

The AKC FAST CAT, or Coursing Ability Test, held by the Kanawha Obedience Training Club this past weekend at Barboursville Park, is a timed 100-yard dash where dogs run one at a time, chasing a lure, with some dogs reaching speeds of 35 to 45 mph.

Participants traveled from as far away as Indiana and North Carolina.

Cindy McKee, secretary of KOTC, said the group vetted several parks from Kanawha and Cabell counties, but

picked Barboursville based on the beauty and size, which she said was perfect for the event. It was the first of its kind in the area and, according to McKee, it will be back next year.

“It’s the perfect for dogs. There’s no training involved, which is a plus for the handler, and they just have a blast. It’s a fun thing,” she said. “A lot of us do obedience and other types of agility and so forth. That requires a lot of training, but if your dog will chase the lure you can just walk up and do this without any expensive or time-consuming training.”

McKee said more than 150 dogs raced this weekend in three groups — small, midsized and large dogs. The small and mid-sized groups receive a handicap multiplier to their score, and then run times are converted to miles per hour to determine the amount of points given.

By the end of the weekend, one dog stood out from the pack. Wee Willow, a Boston Terrier owned by Chris and Laurie Frodsham of Waynesville North Carolina, became the first dog ever to reach the title of F-CAT 13, which is achieved by accumulating 7,000 speed points from races.

The Frodshams and their three dogs, which also include two boxers named Jag and Jewel, try to participate in a FAST CAT or agility event each weekend. While there isn’t a lot of training that goes into FAST CAT, Chris Frodsham said Wee Willow gets all her practice in at home.

“She conditions, but she’s always had the drive to chase from the very first one, which was in Manchester, Tennessee, in 2016. We were at the very first one, and we have been doing it ever since,” he said. “They love it so much. It’s a love of theirs, so it’s a love of ours.”

Although the event was the first of its kind in our region, Frodsham praised the KOTC for the smooth-running event and hopes to return to West Virginia for next year’s running.

Follow reporter Courtney Hessler at Facebook.com/CHesslerHD and via Twitter @HesslerHD.