State Fair Performers Overcome Fire, Setbacks on Road to Dallas

A pair of dog trainers who travel the country with 15 stunt dogs were on their way to Dallas to perform at the State Fair of Texas when they lost their travel trailer in a massive fire.

The dogs, almost all rescues, are trained to perform tricks for audiences as part of the All Star Stunt Dog Challenge. They travel in a convoy that includes a travel trailer that trainers Kara Robertson and Bryan Arney live in.

“I am numb. It’s really hard to believe,” said Robertson. “It’s really hard to accept that anything you physically owned and had any importance to you, aside from my animals, is gone.”

The trailer caught fire on southbound Highway 69 in Stringtown, Oklahoma on Tuesday. The dogs were riding in a truck and van and were safe, but the trainers’ home was destroyed.

“Within moments, the entire side of the trailer was engulfed in flames,” said Robertson.

Arney who was in the pickup that was towing the trailer tried to grab a fire extinguisher, but the handle had already melted.

Arney and Robertson slept in their van with the dogs Tuesday night because they couldn’t find a hotel willing to take in 15 pets. Wednesday, the State Fair found a room on the fairgrounds where the trainers could be close to their animals.

“What we’re doing on our end is finding accommodations for them and some of the supplies that they’re missing,” said Kathy Bennett, Director of Creative Arts and Special Events. “They came with the shirts on their back.”

Chris Perondi, the owner of Stunt Dog Productions, says insurance will likely cover the cost of the trailer. In the meantime, there is a Go Fund Me page to help Arney and Roberston recover their personal belongings lost in the trailer fire.

Wednesday afternoon, the crew worked to set up their show in time for the State Fair’s opening weekend this week. The trainers say the show must go on.

“It’s something that our dogs just love, they love to go out and just essentially play their hearts out and have a great time,” said Robertson. “That’s what we’re doing here at the State Fair of Texas.”

“As long as all of our dogs are safe and we’re healthy, we can continue on from there,” said Arney. “It’s just material things that can be replaced.”

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