Farmcliff Jack Russell Terriers




Reg #:
BAER: Normal
CERF: 3/21/2004
Blue Barns Willie Blue Boy
Farmcliff Liz

The Unthinkable Happened!

My Favorite JRT, Farmcliff Joe, had just run one of the best races of his life beating his competition in a hurdles semi-final by a good 10 yards in his first trial racing as a Senior. I proudly hurried down the track to retrieve him so we could get back for the hurdles final. The young catcher was holding Joe quietly in his arms and immediately I had a horrible premonition as this was not my Joe who usually was still struggling to get at the lure. The catcher handed me a limp dog and mumbled, “I think he knocked himself out”. I instantly knew differently! Joe had broken his neck in a full speed collision with the hay bales at the end of the catch area. The Unthinkable had indeed happened !! Farmcliff Joe was dead !!

How could this have happened? For the past 10 years, improvements in JRT racing safety have been huge – so much so that there have been almost no racing injuries at all. Development of foam rubber jumps, foam finishes and foam backings for catch areas have almost eliminated any injury problems related to racing. So, what happened here?

As we pieced together the reasons, we learned that a few days before the trial, the host club’s equipment trailer had been stolen along with all of the club’s racing equipment. On short notice, they had no choice but to revert back to the old days of using hay bales to make the finish barrier and catch area including the back boundary of the catch area to shield the lure-pulling machine. However, several major mistakes were subsequently made in setting up this hay bale catch area. If the host club had not lost their stolen foam racing equipment, this unfortunate accident most likely would never have happened.

As many people in the Jack Russell world know, I have been a strong advocate of safe racing and those who know me well will attest to my efforts. I how urge the JRTCA BOD to re-activate the JRTCA Racing Sub-Committee and made certain trial organizers are aware by listing the members of this Racing Sub-Committee in “True Grit”. If proper equipment is needed, the members of this committee would have listings of clubs and/or individuals who could step in to help set up safe race tracks for new fun days and trials or in emergencies.

Also, the BOD should instruct this Racing Sub-Committee to prepare a racing booklet complete with racing rules including detailed descriptions and suggestions for constructing a safe JRT race-track. I would be happy to help develop this booklet and would welcome being contacted by others also willing to help. Perhaps members of this Racing Sub-Committee or local JRTCA State Reps. could be on call to inspect JRT race-tracks on fun days and trials to keep racing safety high and prevent any accidents, such as the one that killed Joe, from ever happening again. We have available the technology and have designed equipment that have kept racing safe for over 10 years until this incident.

Tragic as Joe’s death was for Genie and me and even for the entire JRTCA community, let us not blame that local trial or even JRT racing, but instead, make it a learning experience so it never happens again.




Breeder: Bob & Genie Franklin, Glastonbury, CT


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