Even on that first morning, Beltrami County Fairgrounds were bustling with competition: handlers did last minute blow drying and brushing; dogs got some cuddles between shows; outdoor practice sessions were held and there were frequent potty breaks.
Kathy Lamping, event organizer, stated that Friday saw approximately 125 dogs compete in the Best in Show, Rally Obedience, and Total Dog Awards.
Quinn, an English cocker spaniel whose blue roan coloring is blue, is being groomed in preparation for the United Kennel Club Dog Show, hosted by the Paul Bunyan Dog Training Association at the Beltrami County Fairgrounds on Friday, September 10, 2021. (Jillian Gaandsey/Bemidji Pioneer
For some competitors like Amanda Robinson’s Cavalier King Charles spaniel, Thelma, it was their first time showing. The four-month-old pup from Pinewood, Minn., was the only one of Robinson’s spaniel bunch to attend, leaving Thelma without her companion, Louise. However, the first-timer was delighted to get the extra attention of the event-goers.
“Thelma makes herself the center of attention at home,”Robinson stated. “She’s an energetic little thing.”
Other competitors like Tammy Lodien’s Chinese crested, Asada, were seasoned champions in the ring. Lodien stated that Asada, a one-year-old Chinese crested, has previously competed in AKC shows but that the UKC event was new to them.
“I love carne asada tacos,” Lodien said of the inspiration behind Asada’s name. “There’s no off switch on her and she sure has got a lot of mane.”
Lodien, originally from Bemidji and now living in Princeton, Minn. has said that she was recently affected by a personal loss and felt the show offered a chance to refocus her focus and reunite with friends and family.
“I’m up here trying to forget about grief and have fun,” Lodien said.
Thelma, Cavalier King Charles spaniel, is waiting for her owner at United Kennel Club Dog Show at the Beltrami County Fairgrounds on Friday, September 10, 2021. (Jillian Gaandsey/Bemidji Pioneer
The free UKC dog show, which runs through Sunday, Sept. 12, gives spectators the opportunity to talk to specific breed experts, like show judge Gary Richards, about a variety of topics, ranging from training, grooming and the right breed for one’s lifestyle.
Richards, a Springfield, Ill. native, has been involved with dog shows for over 50 years. Richards started by showing Shar-Peis and Great Danes, then he began to judge in shows around eight years ago.
“When you get to a certain age, you realize that running around the ring is a little more than what you want to do, so you go into judging dogs,”Richards stated. “I decided it was time to start judging and use my knowledge of the breeds.”
Jenga is a golden retriever and sits with Oliver Hambley, her handler at the United Kennel Club Dog Show hosted at the Beltrami County Fairgrounds, Friday, Sept. 10, 2021. (Jillian Gaandsey/Bemidji Pioneer
Richards judges approximately 15 to 20 shows each year and says that proper judging is a result of years of practice and repetition through the study and memorizing breed standards. He stated that he enjoys finding the best breed standard dogs this weekend and that he’s looking forward to it.
“Every breed has a standard and you judge by the standard. I look at the dogs’ toplines, eye color, coat color, and all the different things that the standard calls for,”Richards stated. “You don’t judge against other dogs, you judge against the standard.”
The day’s first event consisted of a junior division with children and adolescents showing off their canine friends. Oliver Hambley, 6 years old, was the first person to walk on that stage with Jenga his golden retriever.
Judge Gary Richards of Springfield, Ill. gives direction to Oliver Hambley (6 years old) and Jenga (his golden retriever Jenga) during the junior division at the United Kennel Club Dog Show, hosted by the Paul Bunyan Dog Training Association, Friday, Sept. 10, 2021 at the Beltrami County Fairgrounds. (Jillian Gaandsey/Bemidji Pioneer
“The junior division is the judges’ favorite,”Ethan Larson is a member and handler of the Paul Bunyan Dog Training Association. “The juniors are the future of these dog shows, so trainers are glad to give advice and coach them. If a judge sees something wrong, they tell them in a non-critical way.”
The show marks Larson’s fifth time participating as a handler to his 10-year-old chihuahua, Hero. He shared that they were both thrilled to be back in the ring, and to interact with other passionate about the sport after last year’s postponement of dog shows.
“Hero is the most outgoing (of my chihuahuas) and likes crowds, so he enjoys showing the most,”Larson said. “His former owners wanted to show him, so I’m kind of crossing it off of their bucket list for them.”
The event will continue Saturday and Sunday with two conformation shows at 9:00 a.m., and a rally obedience contest at 10:00 a.m.
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