The 2008 Nevada State Fair is going to the dogs.
For the first time, Splash Dogs will entertain during the 5-day fair at the Reno Livestock Events Center, 1350 N. Wells Ave. in Reno, beginning Wednesday. The members of High Desert Dive Dogs, or H3D, will be a featured attraction.
The idea is to get the dog to run down a dock and leap into the air as it attempts to retrieve its favorite toy, and splash into a pool. The leap is measured for distance. The dock is typically 40 feet long into a pool measuring 720 square feet.
"We do it for fun, and because we're a little bit crazy," said JJ Bowen of Carson City.
"That's an understatement," added Jenny Haas, also of Carson City.
H3D has been around about four years, as has Splash Dogs. When Haas rescued Pilot, a 6 1/2-year-old male Nova Scotia duck tolling retriever, or "toller," he was afraid of toys.
"Look at him now. He loves doing this," Haas said, as she threw his toy into Washoe Lake and he immediately sprinted out after it.
Haas said with Pilot and Ruby Tuesday, a 7-year-old female golden retriever, each have been jumping about 3 years. Pilot is also part of the "geese police" at Empire Ranch Golf Course.
"Ruby loved it from the moment she was exposed to it and Pilot took to it like a duck to water," she said. "It's all about having fun, and we do."
Easy is a key word for Bowen, who has five dogs that compete " Emma, a 5-year-old female Jack Russell terrier; Jinx, a 5-year-old female border collie; Riot, a 3-year-old male border collie mix; Rampage, a 3 1/2-year old female Australian cattle dog; and Spud, a 13-year-old male Australian cattle dog, who was Splash Dog of the Year in 2007. Spud is also a rescue dog.
"Typically the dogs win a food basket or ribbons for each division," Bowen said. "Some competitions offer money.
"We do it for the fun."
Some H3D members travel to compete in Splash Dog events, which are primarily held in California, Utah, Idaho and Nevada. The H3D club is sponsored by Tamarack Junction, which also holds an event during summer solstice in June, and is sponsoring the event at the Nevada State Fair.
The club practices most weekends at the Sparks Marina, weather permitting, June through September. Membership is not required to practice. Owners can bring their dogs two or three weekends to get a feel for the club. Membership is $30 for one dog, $40 for multiple dogs.
There are about 40 members in the club, Bowen said.
Contact Rhonda Costa-Landers at firstname.lastname@example.org or 881-1223.