COLUMBIA — Shih Tzus and corgis, Australian shepherds and golden retrievers, mutts and purebreds were all under one roof for the 4-H/FFA dog show on Saturday at the Columbia Canine Sports Center.
“For 365 days, these kids have been training their dogs, so it’s one of the hardest 4-H projects,” said Sarah Carlisle, project leader for dog obedience for Boone County 4-H. “This show means everything to these kids. Some only have one big show a year, and they have been working for this since the end of last fair.”
Now it was finally here. The 4-Hers got to show off their dogs and all their hard work.
This was the first Boone County Fair 4-H dog show for Baily Fox. She and her two dogs, Fuzzles and Muffin, have been training since April. Fox was nervous but looking forward to the costume class. She and Fuzzles, a golden retriever, and Alpine, a basset hound mix, were dressed up as cowboys.
The costume class was just one of many classes in the dog show.
There were four main categories: dog obedience, showmanship, rally and agility, Carlisle said.
The dog obedience class requires the dog and handler to do basic maneuvers such as sitting. In the showmanship class, the judge is watching how the dog moves and looks. Carlisle described the rally class as “fun obedience.” It’s a combination of basic obedience and agility. The agility class is an obstacle course for dogs. There are tunnels, striped jumps, hanging rings and ramps.
These classes took place in four square rings in the sports center. The commotion outside of the rings was a contrast to the determined quiet in the show rings.
The smell of rubber drifted through on a sticky breeze from the mat floor of the sports center. Applause resounded after each 4-Her worked his or her dog.
Dogs lay around panting. Cages lined the walls of the building. And parents watched from folding chairs.
Many 4-Hers practiced with their dogs before the competition. They walked a bit, stopped and looked to see their dog sitting beside them, ready for a treat.
Molly Ripperger used pieces of hot dog. She entered the agility competition with her dog, Tyke.
“I like showing what I have been working on for the past year,” Ripperger said.
She wasn’t the only one showing the judges her hard work.
“Over 40 kids will be here,” Carlisle said. “And now they get to show off.”