If you think your four-legged friend has the makings of a champion, check out Rally Obedience, a canine competition that's quickly gaining in popularity. "It's a new sport that is a cross between standard obedience and agility," says Chrissy Linzy, owner of Educanines, which offers Rally Obedience classes in the metro area. "Some dog-training classes can be pretty uptight, but this is much more relaxed and fun for both the owners and the dogs."
There are several major differences between Rally Obedience, which will become an American Kennel Club event next year, and classic dog competitions. In Rally Obedience, handlers are encouraged to interact with their hounds and no running is involved, which makes it easier for seniors and people with disabilities to participate.
"Most dog people want to do stuff with their dogs," says Linzy, a certified trainer with ten years of experience. "This is a chance to improve their obedience training while also bonding with them. The dogs think that you're playing a game instead of working.
"I think that standard obedience competitions are too strict," she adds. "I like that in Rally Obedience you can encourage your dog and be a little silly."
Educanines' first eight-week Rally Obedience class will begin tonight at 6:30 p.m. at Rocwind Canine Center, 876 Ventura Street in Aurora. A second session will take place in Englewood, beginning early in June. The cost is $150 per eight-week class, with a 10 percent discount for advance registration.
For more information, call 303-284-0490 or log on to www.educanines.com. -- Julie Dunn
Winter Park bids the ski season farewell
Give a wet wave goodbye to the 2003-2004 ski season at today's 36th annual zany Spring Splash race at the base of Winter Park Resort. The competition is open to both skiers and snowboarders. Participants must blast out of the starting gate going backward and work their way down an obstacle course before gliding across a 35-foot-long pool of waist-deep water to reach the finish line.
"The water is ice-cold," says Winter Park spokeswoman DB Daugherty. "People who don't make it all the way across come out of the water with a look of utter shock on their faces."
Spring Splash kicks off at noon. The race is limited to 100 contestants on a first-come, first-served basis, and costumes are encouraged. Registration is $39 if you want a lift ticket, $20 otherwise.
"It's a big ol' spring party and a great way to celebrate the end of the season," says Daugherty.
In honor of closing day, the resort will also feature a barbecue and live music on the deck of the Derailer Bar, starting at 2:30 p.m. For more details, visit www.skiwinterpark.com or call 1-970-726-1564. -- Julie Dunn