A Central Coast athlete will be taking the national stage on Saturday as he faces some of the best competitors in the country.
Bandit is considered one of the finest local athletes. He’s a 15-month-old Jack Russell Terrier standing 14.75 inches tall, 18.5 pounds, and a top speed clocked at 23.7 mph.
Bandit will be competing in his biggest event yet, the 2018 Purina Pro Plan Incredible Dog Challenge National Championship.
"He loves to do anything that terriers were bred to do which is simulated hunting events, hunting foxes, badgers, and raccoons," said Michael Parolini, Bandit’s owner." The competition that these dogs are set up for that people travel the United States to do, are set up for that. They are simulated for their hunting ability and what they were originally bred to for."
Bandit represents one of 18 competing in the Jack Russell hurdle race that requires a little strategy.
"For the Jack Russell’s, they can tire themselves out really easily," said Jami Hahn, Bandit’s handler. "When he’s around the races, he knows what’s going on and gets excited throughout the day. So, just try to keep them away from it until it’s his time for race and start to get him psyched then so he’s not too tired by the time the race comes. The rest is up to him."
Bandit is quite familiar with races and other events, including obedience and hunting competitions. But at the end of the day, like the old sports saying goes, ‘it’s about having fun.’
"It’s about him having fun and not about winning so much," Parolini said. "He wins a lot of competitions and he wins a lot of races and events but he doesn’t care about winning, the people care about winning. Dogs don’t care if they get ribbons or trophies, they just care about having a good time."
The Parina Pro Plan Incredible Dog Challenge airs Saturday on KSBY at 11 a.m.