Like water Olympics for dogs, the Canine Cannonball is a Dock Dogs-sponsored, dock-jumping competition that has been a fun annual summertime event at the Lake of the Ozarks. The Cannonball brings out thousands of spectators to
Dog Days Bar & Grill
, located at 1232 Jeffries Road on land or at the 19-mile marker on the water, which has been the lakeside host of the Cannonball since its inception in 2007.
Rebecca Rupard, public relations manager for Lake of the Ozarks Tri-County Lodging Association, has attended a handful of Cannonballs with Ruger, her yellow Labrador. Rupard's lab was a participant for six Cannonballs before recently retiring from competition.
"The Cannonball is so much fun," Rupard says. "It's really a neat event and there's nothing else like it at the Lake. It's fun and family-friendly and everyone enjoys it, especially the dogs. It's so cool to watch all the spectators cheer on the different dogs and enjoying the fun atmosphere."
In addition to watching the lovable athletes jump and splash around in the water, spectators will be able to enjoy the laid-back vibe of Dog Days Bar and Grill. Dog Days, which has been named on multiple occasions one of the best lakeside restaurants by national publications, features a diverse menu of tasty eats and delicious frozen cocktails, two stages for live entertainment (one outdoors and one indoors), swimming pools, a swim-up bar and boat slips for those arriving by watercraft.
The Cannonball consists of three events testing each furry participant's athletic prowess.
The Big Air Wave, the canine equivalent to the long jump, consists of the dog running down the 40 x 8-foot competition dock and jumping off into the water for distance. The Extreme Vertical is a dock dog's version of the high jump. In this leap-for-height event, a canine leaps high into the air off the "dock" to retrieve a toy suspended above the water. The third event, the Speed Retrieve, is a timed event that has the dog jump into the water and swim to fetch a toy that was thrown into the water.
Cannonball activities get underway on Friday, June 8 with registration and practice rounds taking place at 1p.m. The first official events begin with three heats of the Big Air Wave at 2 p.m., 4 p.m. and 6 p.m.
On Saturday, registration and practice rounds begin at 10 a.m. with three more heats of the Big Air Wave taking place at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. The Extreme Vertical event rounds out the day's competition at 5:30 p.m.
The events conclude on Sunday with registration and practice rounds beginning at 10 a.m. followed by the final two heats of the Big Air Wave at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. The Speed Retrieve takes place at 3 p.m. with the Big Air Wave finals beginning at 5 p.m.
All Canine Cannonball events are free and open to the public. All donations collected throughout the weekend go to benefit the Dogwood Animal Shelter, a no-kill shelter in Osage Beach. Staff members from Dogwood Animal Shelter also will have adoptable pets on-site for the duration of the three-day Canine Cannonball. All adoptable animals are up-to-date on their vaccines and have been spayed or neutered. For more information on the Dogwood Animal Shelter, or to view their adoptable pets, visit www.DASLakeOfTheOzarks.com.