TALLMADGE — They say every dog has his day. This weekend, they get three.
Through Sunday, the Rubber City Kennel Club and Columbiana County Kennel Club are hosting their Northern Ohio Winter Classic at the Summit County Fairgrounds. Each day — Friday, Saturday and Sunday — is an all-breed show.
In other words, a dog that doesn’t win Best of Show on Friday has two more chances to compete, according to the Rubber City club’s show chairman, Martha Brown of Kent.
“There is breed judging, then group judging,” Brown said, “and then seven dogs will go for Best in Show. It whittles down from hundreds of dogs to 30-some in a group down to seven. That takes pretty much all day.”
Brown said more than 700 dogs were registered for the Friday show. She said that number is down from past years, possibly due to the weather and changes in judging assignments after a judge called in sick. She said sometimes an owner or handler will not show their dog if there is a change in judges.
“They come from all over,” Brown said of the dog owners and handlers, adding not all of the dogs are from Ohio. They come from Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Michigan, Florida and Canada, she said, and other states.
Brown, a member of the Rubber City KC since 1998, likes dalmatians. She’s always had dalmatians, she said, and for a period of time she also had English setters. On Friday afternoon, she said the dog show was running smoothly with no problems except for the judge who was ill.
On Friday, she and her husband, Greg, who is club president, were among a handful of Rubber City KC members assisting the Columbiana County KC which hosted the show that day. On Saturday and Sunday, CCKC members would help Rubber City host the other two shows.
Rubber City Kennel Club Inc. is a member of the American Kennel Club.
Columbiana County KC President Emma Jean Stephenson said the frigid weather caused her some concern. She knew it had an impact on handlers traveling here and protecting their dogs from the cold. “It is quite cold,” she said, “but there is a lot of warm feelings inside this building. Things are working out.”
“Dog people are crazy, but here we are,” Stephenson added with a laugh.
Louise Ritter, Columbiana County Kennel Club’s show chairperson, said hers and the Browns’ club have been working together on the winter show “for many years.” Ritter said the Columbiana County club is more than 50 years old. Columbiana County Kennel Club Inc. is AKC-licensed.
Also on hand Friday was Paul Morehouse of Akron who has been a member of the RCKC since 1976. He said the club was founded in Akron in 1940. Morehouse said he has a couple of cardigan Welsh corgis at home. A number of years ago, he had more than a couple dogs.
“At one point, I had 37 dogs,” said Morehouse. “They weren’t all the same breed.”
One judge who has been a mainstay at the Northern Ohio show is Jon Cole of Nashville, Tenn., who has been a judge here more often than not since 1975 when he was recruited by a club member, the late Mary Vargo, with whom he was acquainted through their shared interest in the same breed: Bull terriers.
“I’ve been at it a long time,” Cole said. “It’s always great to come back and do the shows.”
Dog handler Christina Roberts of Florida was on the road for three days to get to show a French breed newly recognized by the American Kennel Club called the Grand Basset Griffon Vendéen. Roberts said their breeders, Brent Humphrey and Corey Benedict of Howey-in-the-Hills, Fla., worked hard to get them recognized by the AKC.
“We are here … on the very first day they are a recognized breed and will walk in the Hound Group,” Roberts said on Friday. “We are representing all the sidekick dogs and their years of hard work. It’s finally paying off.”
Grand basset griffon Vendéens (GBGV) are a medium-sized, rough-coated French hound with a rich history of more than 400 years in Europe, according to www.sidekickdogs.com. They are good hunting dogs as well as wonderful companions, it says.
Roberts said one of her “sidekicks” could potentially be the first grand basset to be an American Grand Champion by the end of the weekend. She said while Humphrey was going to be present for the Ohio show, Benedict is at a show in Maryland showing a French-imported grand basset.
The dog show starts each day at 8 a.m. and ends around 5 p.m. Parking is $5 at the fairgrounds, which is on state Route 91 in Tallmadge. Admission into the arena to see the show is free.