MITCHELL—The Scottsbluff Kennel Club is preparing for its annual dog show in Mitchell, running March 30 to April 1.
Tony VanBeek, a border collie breeder near Torrington, Wyoming, said the 2017 show brought 800-900 dogs from across the United States to Mitchell.
“Some people follow the circuits and go from state to state,” he said. “Our biggest draws are the surrounding five states, but we’ll bring them in from Michigan, New Jersey, California, Texas, pretty much anywhere they can come in from.”
The event is a sanctioned dog show through the American Kennel Club and will bring in AKC trained judges.
“They’re all officially tested and challenged by AKC,” VanBeek said. “They have the paperwork and tests they need to do to judge different breeds.”
Dogs are judged on their physical appearance and training. This year’s show will also feature a new contest: the barn hunt, where rats are put in tubes hidden in hay and dogs attempt to find them.
“There’s all kinds of titles available for dogs based on how good they search out rats,” VanBeek said. “It’s a new, upcoming sport and people love watching their dogs work through hay piles.”
The contest does require that dogs be registered with the Barn Hunt Association.
The show also offers a $500 scholarship to junior handlers, which last year brought in contestants from 17 different states. VanBeek added that the show is also a good resource for anyone interested in getting a purebred dog.
“If you’re wanting to learn about a different breed,” he said, “it’s the best place to meet people who know that breed, to talk to the breeders and people to know if that dog is right for you.”
In the lead up to the show, VanBeek said the Scottsbluff Kennel Club is hoping to increase its membership and the number of people involved in the local dog activities. In addition to the annual dog show, the Scottsbluff also participates in picnics, meet and greets, and dog walks.
“If somebody wants to participate and work with the community and wants to do some kind of showing or some kind of agility or some kind of nose work, or wants to be involved with their dogs, that’s what we try to do,” Tony said.
The group does not require members to own purebred dogs, as the AKC has programs that mutts can participate in.
“You don’t have to have all purebred dogs,” he said, “just an interest in dogs.”
Anyone interested in joining the club can attend one of the club’s regular meetings at the Historic Saddle Club in Scottsbluff on the fourth Monday of the month or by visiting the group’s website at www.scottsblufkc.org, where they can also pay dues.