Undeterred by 93-degree temperatures, a dozen area residents and their dogs came out to the North Jefferson City recreation fields Sunday afternoon for a friendly but competitive Toss and Fetch League.
The five-week season, hosted locally by Smokin' Guns Working Dog Club, challenges dogs to make as many catches as they can in one minute, with more points awarded for longer catches on the 50-yard field. Clubs upload their members' scores, allowing them to compete globally.
"We all cheer each other on. We're all teammates here. We're all just here to have fun with our animals," President Jason Howe said.
Smokin' Guns Vice President Patty Ypya said the club's activities have built-in social distancing. Because she's in the health-care industry, it's the only activity she's participated in during the pandemic.
This is the second Toss and Fetch League held by Smokin' Guns this year. The group also has various other dog-related events including dock diving, disc dog and protection sports.
One dog in their club already has qualified for the world competition in dock diving and one has qualified for a national competition.
The club recently gave a disc dog demonstration at a recent outdoor movie sponsored by the Jefferson City Parks, Recreation and Forestry Department. The club hopes to partner more with the department in the future, President Jason Howe said.
The club meets at 3 p.m. Sundays on the parks' soccer field near U.S. 63 in North Jefferson City.
"Everybody's welcome," Ypya said. "Your skill level doesn't matter."
She said all ages and dog types are welcome, adding the youngest member is 3.
"If your dog likes to play and you can bring them out in public, they can do this," she said.
"If you're a member, when we do Toss and Fetch, this is a worldwide event, we're competing against people from Spain, Israel, Germany, all over the world," she said.
About 15 people in the club participate in the Toss and Fetch competitions and another 10 participate in other events. The club's protection sports meets at 7 p.m. Fridays at Got Your Six Dog Training, 1005 Big Horn Drive.
Jacob Robinett and Jamison, his Australian shepherd, competed Sunday. He said they're improving each week.
"It kind of gives him and me a challenge of getting out and staying active. Just getting out and having fun and meeting new people as they bring their dogs. He (Jamison) is full of energy, and by the time we leave he's ready to go hop in the car and lay down and sleep for the next two days."