Even that first morning, the Beltrami County fairgrounds were alive with the hustle and bustle of a competitive weekend: dog handlers were doing a last-minute blow-dry and brushing of canine coats; the dogs took intermittent naps and cuddles between shows; and outdoor workouts and potty breaks were often.
About 125 dogs took part in the event for Best in Show, Rally Obedience and Total Dog awards on Friday, organizer Kathy Lamping said.
Quinn, a blue roan colored English Cocker Spaniel, is groomed before the United Kennel Club Dog Show hosted by the Paul Bunyan Dog Training Association on Friday, September 10, 2021, at the Beltrami County Fairgrounds. (Jillian Gandsey / Bemidji Pioneer)
For some competitors like Thelma, Amanda Robinson’s Cavalier King Charles spaniel, this was their first time showing. The four-month-old pup from Pinewood, Minn., Was the only one of Robinson’s group of spaniels to attend, leaving Thelma without her mate, Louise. But the newbie was happy to receive the extra attention from the spectators.
âThelma makes her the center of attention at home,â said Robinson. “It’s a energetic little thing.”
Other competitors like Tammy Lodien’s Chinese crested Asada were seasoned champions in the ring. Lodien said that one-year-old Asada had been to AKC shows before, but the UKC event was new to them.
âI love carne asada tacos,â Lodien said of the inspiration behind the name Asada. “There is no switch on her and she certainly has a lot of mane.”
After experiencing a personal tragedy recently, Lodien, originally from Bemidji but living in Princeton, Minnesota, said the show was an opportunity to refocus his attention and reunite with his local family and friends.
“I am here trying to take the grief away and have fun,” Lodien said.
Thelma, a Cavalier King Charles spaniel, waits for her owner at the United Kennel Club Dog Show hosted by the Paul Bunyan Dog Training Association on Friday, September 10, 2021, at the Beltrami County Fairgrounds. (Jillian Gandsey / Bemidji Pioneer)
UKC’s free dog show, which runs through Sunday, September 12, gives viewers the opportunity to speak to breed-specific experts, like Show Judge Gary Richards, on a variety of topics, ranging from training, grooming and the right breed for his lifestyle. .
Richards, originally from Springfield, Ill., Has been participating in dog shows for 50 years. He started showing Great Danes and Shar-Peis and then started judging in shows about eight years ago.
âWhen 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 start judging dogs,â said Richards. “I decided it was time to start judging and using my knowledge of races.”
Jenga, a golden retriever, sits with her handler Oliver Hambley, 6, at the United Kennel Club Dog Show hosted by the Paul Bunyan Dog Training Association on Friday, September 10, 2021, at the Beltrami County Fairgrounds. (Jillian Gandsey / Bemidji Pioneer)
Richards judges about 15-20 shows per year and said proper judgment comes from years of practice as well as repeating reading and remembering breed standards. He said he was looking forward to finding the dogs that most closely match their breed standards this weekend.
âEvery breed has a standard and you judge by the standard. I look at the top lines of the dogs, the eye color, the coat color and all the different things that the standard requires, âsaid Richards. “You don’t judge against other dogs, you judge against the standard.”
The first event of the day was a junior division with kids and teens showing off their canine friends. 6-year-old Oliver Hambley was the first to take the stage that morning with his golden retriever Jenga.
Judge Gary Richards, of Springfield, Ill., Gives directions to 6-year-old Oliver Hambley and his golden retriever Jenga during the Junior Division of the United Kennel Club Dog Show hosted by the Paul Bunyan Dog Training Association on Friday September 10, 2021, at the Beltrami County Fairgrounds. (Jillian Gandsey / Bemidji Pioneer)
âThe junior division is the judges’ favorite,â said Ethan Larson, Paul Bunyan Dog Training Association member and dog show master. âThe juniors are the future of these dog shows, so the coaches are happy to advise and coach them. If a judge sees something wrong, he tells them non-critically. “
The show marks Larson’s fifth appearance as a master of his 10-year-old chihuahua, Hero. He said they were both excited to be in the ring again and interact with other passionate about the sport, especially after the dog shows were postponed last year.
âHero is the most outgoing (of my chihuahuas) and loves crowds, so he loves to show off the most,â Larson said. “His previous owners wanted to show him, so I’m sort of crossing him off their bucket list for them.”
The event continues Saturday and Sunday, with two conformation shows at 9 a.m. and an obedience rally at 10 a.m. each morning.