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We’re K9 Gladiators Now

Wiley and I had quite a sporty adventure in March, and I thought we’d share it with Bay Woof readers this month in our canine sports issue.

On a very rainy Saturday, we headed to Ione as volunteers to assist with the setup of a K9 Gladiator Mud & Obstacle Course Racing event at Gold Country Pet Resort & Training Center on the next day, Sunday, March 3. Event organizer Cathy Leavitt of K9 Sports Dynamics (and K9 Ratpack!) invited us, assuring me that a can-do attitude was all that was necessary to take up this new sport that makes a team of a runner and a dog and sends the pair on a crazy-fun obstacle course.

On that Saturday, Wiley was in her element, flying her tail high over her back while she watched a few new doggy friends dig, run, and play in the rain and bound across the open fields. She got in lots of zoomies, zig-zagged across a creek, and scrambled up a steep embankment. She also saw an A-frame, plank, tunnel contraptions, and jumps for the first time. As a volunteer, I spent a full day pulling Zip ties to secure netting to PVC, wrapping bungees around cinder blocks and planks for stability, and hauling filled water buckets, empty poop buckets, and buckets of bottled water to strategic spots on the course. I also helped flag and groom the course.

Wiley was an awesome partner, following me with little coaxing through the tunnels and climbing over the A-frames happily and skipping the offered rewards after. She walked the plank like a pro, carried soggy tennis balls to and fro, sailed over a series of jumps, and let me carry her at the dog-or-log event. She wasn’t much help at the tire pull, and fording the rushing creek took her aback at first, but she raced ahead on the tractor pull, rock scramble, and meadow straightaways.

You can read more about K9 Gladiators on in Cecilia Sternzon’s article, “KG Gladiators Offers Fun for Runners and Their Dogs.” She was in Ione, but a sprained ankle — later determined to be a break — kept her sidelined. Try this sport for yourself this summer in Pescadero on July 14. Learn more at

A final note: Beast of the Bay 2019 voting starts this month. Remember to nominate all your dog-centric favorites in phase one of our online contest.