The Belton Journal


Belton is one of the newest locations for American Kennel Club (AKC) Fast Coursing Ability Test (CAT) Trials.

The Bearded Collie Club of America along with the Bearded Collie Club of Texas will be holding the family-friendly event April 26-28, at Harris Community Center, 401 N. Alexander in Belton.

Gretchen S. Blackburn, President of, the Bearded Collie Club of Texas said, “We’re excited to bring this dog sport to Belton and hope to create a fun-filled environment for residents to meet many different dog breeds and watch or participate in our races. Belton has been home to AKC-sponsored dog shows at the Bell County Expo Center for many years.”

Despite having the word “CAT” in the name, dogs are NOT chasing cats.

Fast CAT is one of the fastest-growing sports where dogs of all sizes compete to see who can run the fastest in a 100-yard dash.

During Fast CAT, the dogs run to their owner at the end of the course. They will be chasing a white plastic bag that has been attached to a mechanical lure. The lure has a movable line above the ground that makes the bag move quickly down the field. This inspires their prey drive, which encourages them to run faster.

“It’s a “rain or shine” event, so we run our dogs in the rain unless there’s a downpour and lightning. Otherwise, we wait it out and start back when the rain lightens up,” Blackburn said. “Our event will give people a chance to see what this sport is all about and find out how to get their dog registered with AKC for future events.”

Mixed-breed, unregistered, or dogs whose breed has not yet been recognized by the AKC can participate. They will need to be registered with AKC. The process can take up to three to four weeks to get the dog’s approved AKC number from the American Kennel Club. For moreinformation about registering your dog visit

Blackburn said, “There are four categories in which to register: 1) Register as Purebred Dog (Dog was purchased from a breeder/another party) 2) Enroll a dog in AKC Canine Partners (For mixed breeds and non-AKC registrable purebreds) 3) Enroll a Purebred Alternative Listing (PAL) (For purebred dogs of AKC-registrable breeds not eligible for full registration. i.e. rescued purebred dogs) A PAL is not the equivalent of AKC registration but makes it possible for eligible breeds to compete in events such as Obedience, Agility, Rally and more. 4) Foundation Stock Service (FSS)(select breeds that are in the process of AKC recognition. Among the more well-known breeds in FSS are the Catahoula Leopard Dog, the American Bulldog, and the Jindo.”

If you do not receive your dog’s number in time for April’s event, they plan to host another competition in September.

The competition will include a variety of dogs. Attendees are welcome to visit with the exhibitors.

“Our hope is to make this a family-fun event for spectators to bring their lawn chairs and cheer on their favorite dog. Watching the variety of dog breeds that are having a blast chasing a white plastic bag is exciting and sometimes humorous,” Blackburn said.

She continued, “We’re featuring our beloved breed the Bearded Collie in our “MEET THE BREED” tent at this event. We’ll have informational handouts and plenty of Beardies of all ages to pet and visit with.”

A good number of exhibitors are expected at the competition, coming from the Dallas, Austin, San Antonio, and Houston areas.

The Bearded Collie Club of Texas likes to give back to the communities where they host FastCAT events, and will be collecting donations for the Bell County Animal Shelter and present the shelter with these needed items from their “wishlist” after the event closes.

If Belton residents would like to contribute an item or more to the shelter, their Amazon wishlist link is:

To learn more about the upcoming event, contact Gretchen Blackburn at 512-914-4990 or email