The 2023 Flyball Dog Challenge, presented by Tractor Supply Company, took place February 25 and 26 at the World Equestrian Center in Ocala, FL. The invitational event, held in collaboration with North American Flyball Association, teams from the United States and Canada competed over two days. This year’s competition also included the over two days. This year’s competition also included the Inaugural Flyball Run-Off Races, a head-to-head competition for individual competitors.
The competition aired on ESPN2 on March 25, and champions were announced for the quarter-finals, semi-finals, finals, and the winning team.
In the final races, the Skidmarkz team from Iowa City, IA, swept 3-0, taking the first place win against Celtic Mayhem. The team, captained by Jaybe McQuillen, consisted of four dogs and two alternates:
- Pixar – Handler: Jayne McQuillen
- Fission – Handler: Luke Montgomery
- Wire – Handler: Emily Helin
- Juice (H) – Handler: Katie Weideracht
- Trix (alternate) – Handler: Gillian Cochrane
- Mission (alternate) – Handler: Nicole Ortiz
- Celtic Mayhem
- Be Crazy
- Animal Inn
- Fur Fun
- High Velocity
- Spring Loaded
- All Revd Up
This was also the first year that the competition held Inaugural Flyball Run-Off Races, a head-to-head competition for individual competitors. This year’s winner was Needle the Whippet, handled by Leerie and Julie Jenkins, members of the Fur Fun Team.
Want to Get Started in Flyball?
Whether this is the first time you’re seeing Flyball on TV or the final push that peaks your interest, you can get started with your own dog! Because Flyball is a team sport, check out Flyball clubs near you that offer classes. This can also help you find a team that’s right for you and your dog.
If you’re not ready to go to a class, many clubs host online classes and seminars, and you can try practicing jumps with at-home equipment. If you’re not familiar with the sport, you can also read the NAFA Rulebook to get acquainted with the rules and regulations.
Flyball is a great sport, but it’s not for everyone! There are plenty of dog sports that are suitable for dogs of all ages and abilities.