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Dogs on parade

Hundreds of dog lovers flock to Harrison County

June 03, 2009
The Harrison County Fairgrounds went to the dogs this past weekend — almost 800 of them.

The canines, along with their nearly 1,000 persons, came to Corydon from throughout the country Saturday and Sunday for the 10th annual Southern Indiana Kennel Club Dog Show.

Both days offered plenty of barks from dogs who, if they weren't being walked and fed treats by anxious owners and handlers before appearing in front of judges, were being brushed and blow-dried, to get the perfect coat.

The "awww factor" certainly was present for any dog lover, but, make no mistake, this was serious business.

The SIKC show, part of Onofrio Dog Shows, is an opportunity for man's best friend to earn points toward American Kennel Club champion status, an important distinction for breeders.

"It's an indicator of the quality of your dogs," SIKC Vice President Archie Kintner of Corydon said, adding many of those who showed dogs over the weekend were breeders.

The dogs, after being primped and fluffed, made their way to the judging area, where they were walked and inspected. Judges examined their physical structure (head, teeth, feet, bone structure and muscle tones), condition (weight, coat and animation), gait (viewed from the front, side and rear) and temperament.

Dogs who hadn't already earned champion status first competed in various classes, such as age, with a male and female winner chosen. From the class winners, two overall winners were selected and then competed in the Best of Breed category with dogs that already have champion status. First prizes kept advancing, facing off with other winners until an overall Best of Show dog was chosen.

Points are earned by the dogs for winning the various competitions. A dog needs 15 points, with at least two major (larger competition) first prizes, to achieve AKC champion status.

Champions can earn additional points for winning specials, such as Best of Breed, where they receive a point for each of the other dogs in the competition. The overall Best of Show winner's point total equals the total number of other dogs in the entire show.

This past weekend's event featured separate shows on Saturday and Sunday, as well as a couple of companion events. The obedience trial competition showcased the ability of dogs to work with their handlers with almost no direction. A rally trial, which is similar, but handlers are able to communicate more with their dogs, was also held.

Kintner said the dog show's economic impact on Harrison County each year is considerable. He estimated that at least 25 states were represented at this year's event, noting that 60-plus motor homes were parked at the fairgrounds, with many other guests staying at hotels in Corydon. In addition, many vendors were at the fairgrounds.

Champion Ripsnorter's Mt. View Lookout, from Paris, Ky., won Best of Show both days. The dog is owned by Kiki Courtelis, J. Wilkinson and James and Helen Witt. His agent (the handler who shows him) is Frank Murphy.

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