By Maria Barnum
On October 7- 8, 2023, GFKC held its first ever FastCAT trial at High Goal Farm in Greenwich, NY. We had over 100 dogs run two turns each day, many for the first time, and even with some rain the event went beautifully. Prior to this, if you wanted to try FastCAT, you had to drive over two hours to reach an event.
Chris Argento was the Trial Secretary with Maria Barnum as Secretary. Club members and other volunteers did a wonderful job - learning as we went - running the check-in gates, acting as releasers when needed, setting up and tearing down. We had a professional lure coursing service from Hudson Valley Coursing set up the track and run the lure, and a photographer there to capture all the action shots. We rented a golf cart to facilitate movement of equipment and competitors around the extensive site.
What is FastCAT? It stands for Coursing Ability Test and is a 100-yard dash where dogs run one at a time chasing a lure. It's over before you know it and it's nothing short of awe-inspiring to watch your dog run at top speed, ears back, eyes focused, legs strong. And if your dog is really fast you might earn bragging rights if their name makes it onto the list of top 20 fastest dogs by breed! If you are in the top 5 for the year, you are invited to the FastCAT Invitational event held in conjunction with the annual AKC National Championship Dog Show in Orlando. All dogs can participate whether purebred or mixed breed.
Coursing Ability events tap into one of the dog's strongest instincts. Most instinctively chase the lure once it starts moving. The course is straight and most often fenced for safety and easy collection of dogs. They offer a fun and friendly environment where people can share their love of dogs. While relatively new, FastCAT is spreading like wildfire and becoming one of AKC's most popular events.
Can your dog outrun Usain Bolt, who had been called the fastest runner in the world? Usain's fastest time has been clocked at almost 28 MPH - yet dogs have been known to reach speeds of 35-45 MPH! Maria Barnum's Pumi Frankie ran 28 MPH, Rosemary Curley's Boxer Frazier ran 29 MPH (his first time) and Chris Argento's Shellie Rosalie ran 18 MPH.