NEAR PONCA, Nebraska (KTIV) – There were plenty of activities, and events, at the Missouri River Outdoor Expo at Ponca State Park, Saturday and Sunday.
Even four-legged friends got into the action.
“Our competition within the last three to four years has really just gone like through the roof,” said Stephen Sanchez, event manager.
“The DockDogs Big Air competition has been going on for 20 years. Now, with the championship just 30 days away in Dubuque, Iowa, dogs, and trainers are here at the 15th annual Missouri River Outdoor Expo to train for that championship,” said reporter Emily Schrad.
Sunday was the Big Air section of the competition, where dogs jump off a 40-foot dock into a 40-foot pool to try and get the longest distance jump.
“If you’re maybe on the verge of qualifying for the world championships, this is definitely an event you could come out to. And possibly if you do well enough get your invite to world championships,” said Sanchez.
Dogs of all ages and experience came out to participate in the event.
Annie Strobel and her dog Zoe have been in the dock jumping competition since Zoe was a puppy.
“Zoe and I started about 10 years ago dock jumping. We went to our first competition, we spent our entire first year, she wouldn’t even go off a dock. Now she’s a national champion, she’s a regional champion and a world invitee,” said Strobel.
Although she has been doing it most of her life, Sunday’s competition was special for Zoe.
“Today is her 11th birthday, she’s the oldest dog competing,” said Strobel.
While Zoe has been around the block a time or two, newcomers to the sport are encouraged as well.
For 10-year-old Kaela Sizer and her dog Daisy, this was their first dock jumping competition.
“I don’t know if she’s gonna jump into the water because she doesn’t really like the water very much,” said Kaela.
Although some new-comers don’t take well to the water, officials say it’s good to just get exposure for the dog.
For more information about the Dock Dogs National Championship Competition click here.