In 1997 Nestle-Purina came up with a
novel idea for advertising and creating a national,
televised event involving dogs and their owners. It
was called Purina Dog Chow’s Incredible Dog Challenge.
Jack Russell Hurdle Racing was one of the events. Jack
Russells and racing have been a staple of Jack Russell
trials across the United States for many years so
racing was a natural fit. Not only was it
entertaining, but it was fast and it created an
opportunity for spectators to root for a favorite and
cheer on the winner.
The first year, 1997, Missouri Earthdogs was asked to
set up a race course and run some terriers as an
exhibition in the event. It seemed a logical choice
since we were the only Jack Russell club in the area
and we had just completed our first trial at Purina
Farms. After the first year Jack Russell Hurdle Racing
became a staple of the event.
Our role in the IDC is to have a number of dogs ready
to race at the IDC Finals, which takes place in St.
Louis in the fall. Over the years the racing format
has varied with MOE racing between 18 and 24 dogs each
After the exhibition year, it was determined that,
because our trial is held over Memorial Day, it was
logical to involve the dogs racing at our trial in the
IDC. But the dogs qualifying at our trial needed to be
offered a chance to race in the Final; we have been
able to procure that for our terriers.
By using our trial as the qualifier for the IDC we
have created a democratic process for choosing dogs to
race. This eliminates favoritism and allows any
terrier, from anywhere, a chance to race on national
TV. in the IDC. Any terrier can attend our trial,
become a Missouri Earthdog member, race, and if
finishing well in racing, receive an invite to return
for the IDC finals in St. Louis.
The IDC is set up to create a competition atmosphere
in which the spectators, either at Purina or watching
on TV, can cheer for a team. To achieve that
competition two teams are created each year: a Western
team and an Eastern team. Early each year Purina
chooses a site in each part of the country and stages
a mini-IDC over a weekend. The dogs qualifying at the
mini-IDC or, Regional event, are invited to come to
St. Louis for the Finals. Currently, this means that
the top two terriers racing at the Regional event come
to St. Louis.
The Final race at the IDC is composed of one terrier representing the Eastern team,
terrier representing the Western team, last year’s
IDC winner, and the top three terriers of the Missouri Earthdogs
Final (the Braggin’ Rights Race) which takes place
minutes before the IDC Final. The 18 terriers
qualifying at the Memorial Day Bash trial (our trial)
race in three heats of six during the Jack Russell
Hurdle Racing event. The first and second place dogs
from each heat then move on to the Missouri Earthdog
Final (the Braggin’ Rights Race). The top three
finishers of the Braggin’ Rights Race then move on to the IDC Final.
Is the winner of IDC the equivalent of the winner at
the Nationals? One thing is sure: it’s a great
weekend, a great party, and you finally get to show
your relatives and friends what Jack Russell racing is