COLUMBIA — On a warm afternoon, it’s not uncommon to see a dog riding in a car, windows down, tongue lolling out the side of its grinning mouth. But that's not the kind of ride about 900 dogs will get on their way to Columbia this weekend.
They have a big show to attend — an event that's occurred for more than 50 years.
What: Columbia Kennel Club Dog Shows
Where: Boone County Fairgrounds, 5212 N. Oakland Gravel Road
When: 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday
Admission: $2; ages 12 and under free
The Columbia Kennel Club Dog Shows on Saturday and Sunday will draw participants, handlers and vendors from at least 35 of the 50 states.
Although the same dogs will participate both days of the event, the slate is wiped clean after Saturday, so there is the potential for a different dog to win Sunday, Susan Sczepanski, dog show chairperson, said.
There are two main types of events: obedience and conformation. Obedience, Sczepanski said, is how well-trained the canine is to follow minimum commands while conformation is how close the dog is to the description of perfection for each breed.
“It’s the 'beauty pageant' of the show,” she said.
A big attraction at the show is junior showmanship, where handlers from ages 8 to 18 are judged on how they present their dogs, rather than how the dogs behave. But professionals and those who enjoy dog handling and exhibiting as a hobby will also be present.
“The show has everything from professionals doing this for a living, to people’s first dog show in their life,” Sczepanski said.
About this year’s show:
- The first show of the day will begin around 8 a.m. Best in Show judging will start around 4 p.m.
- Group judging will start at 1:30 p.m. Dogs who win Best of Breed proceed to group judging. The first-place winners in each of the seven groups of dogs — sporting, hound, working, terrier, toy, non-sporting and herding — go on to compete for Best in Show.
- Vendors will be selling crates, brushes, shampoos, food, dog toys and apparel for dogs. Representatives of the Girl Scouts will be selling cookies.
- Strollers are not allowed into the fairgrounds.
- Dogs who are not part of the show are prohibited.
- Dog-related raffle prizes will be up for bidding throughout both days of the show. Money earned will be donated to the Barkley House, which is the MU College of Veterinary Medicine's guest house for pets with long-term medical treatments, along with their owners.
This year, the dog show is dedicated to Mary Lyddon, who was an honorary lifetime Kennel Club member and spent many years teaching 4-H in the community. She died in January.