Phenom terrier finishes fourth

Molly Jean, an 8-year-old Jack Russell Terrier, wears one of the many medals she’s earned as a competitive hurdle racer.

Despite high hopes for a national championship win, Molly Jean, a local Jack Russell terrier from Glade Park, placed fourth last weekend in the Purina Incredible Dog Challenge.

Molly Jean is an 8-year-old Jack Russell terrier from Glade Park. She only three toes on her left foot but she’s still known as a phenom in the dog racing world.

Last weekend, Molly Jean competed in the Purina Incredible Dog Challenge for a national title in the Jack Russell Terrier Hurdle Races at Purina Farms in Gray Summit, Mo.

She had a great shot at winning, having won nearly every regional trial she’s ever competed in. The trophies and ribbons fill an entire wall in the home of her owners, Jim and Valerie Craft.

This is the second time the dog has competed and finished fourth in the national trials.

The Incredible Dog Challenge is like the Olympics of canine sports, Valerie explained. Qualifiers from all over the world gather annually for family-friendly games which includes agility, dock diving, frisbee and weave-pole competitions.

The dogs and their owners are treated like royalty with air-conditioned tents and gourmet catering.

The highlight of the day, however, is the Jack Russell Terrier Hurdles.

“Everyone comes to watch this one,” Valerie said, “It’s the most popular competition.”

People enjoy watching the races because anything can happen. The small but enthusiastic dogs are released from the pen to chase a foxtail on a lead. They jump several hurdles before running into the small hole in the holding pen which determines the winner.

The entire race lasts only four or five seconds, but dogs often trip over each other in their zeal to win, making it an entertaining race to watch.

“These dogs run a 40-yard-dash faster than any NFL player,” Jim said, “Anything can happen.”

The race was streamed live on The Purina Incredible Dog Challenge will air in mid-January on network television.



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