The Glitz and Glamour Of Dog Shows
UKC Premier Dog Show
The United Kennel Club Premier Dog Show, four exciting days of competition, brought a record number of Total Dog Qualifiers with over 244 participants and 72 different breeds!
Sydney Suwannarat, Sr. Dir., UKC Dog Events
UKC dogs compete in Conformation, Obedience, Agility, Weight Pull, Terrier Racing, Dock Jumping, Lure Coursing, Nosework, Ultimate Disc Dog demos and training sessions.
The Premier show is held at the Kalamazoo Expo Center and Fairgrounds in Kalamazoo, MI which is also the headquarters for the United Kennel Club, founded in 1898. These do-it-all dogs and their owners are truly the heart of what UKC is all about.
Over 20 judges were needed for the 4 day event, many of whom were in-demand AKC judges. Premier hosted over 20 Breed Club National Specialties this year. UKC is so happy to see this competition grow so exponentially from just a few dogs 5 years ago, to this fantastic representation of dogs from every group!
The beginning of the week started off with one of UKC President Wayne Cavanaugh’s famous Judge’s Education Seminars. Attendance is required for all newly approved UKC conformation judges and every 5 years for other judges. UKC schedules a Judges Education Seminar in conjunction with Premier every year. It is open to the public and even if you are not a judge, we highly encourage you to attend.
Wayne covers topics such as the Future of Purebred Dogs and the price of exaggeration in our beloved breeds. The seminars are incredibly informative, engaging AND we serve a fantastic lunch!
The 2014 Premier, sponsored by Purina Pro Plan dog food and many dog-related companies, dawned bright and CHILLY! Friday morning we saw record low temperatures in the 40’s at night! It was great for dogs, but all of the people were running around in coats! Thankfully, it warmed up and everyone enjoyed a few splashes as the dogs exceeded even greater heights and longer jumps in Dock Diving.
Dock Diving is another event that the United Kennel Club has championed. Ultimate Air Dogs was founded in 2005 and in 2008 UAD partnered with the United Kennel Club (UKC) which added dock jumping as a recognized UKC sport. It is just one of many competitions dogs and owners are so enthusiastic about and for which UKC had the foresight to offer titles.
Dock Diving is one of the televised UKC events and it is a great spectator favorite but all of the UKC events that show off all the many things dog can do are always crowd pleasers. Owners work hard at these events but they love the sports as much as the dogs do!
This year we had a lot of newcomers offering their own events at Premier. The Barn Hunt Association offered trials in conjunction with Premier as well as United Nosework, which will be an official UKC event in 2015.
One of the coolest new events at Premier this year was the “Up Dog Challenge” sponsored by the disc dog group, Up Dog. It was a flying disc competition that any dog could do. Their fantastic new event called “Frisgility” was a huge hit. Dogs had to go over a small hurdle and then run through an agility tunnel to catch a flying disc. We hope to have them again next year, so come on out and give it a whirl!
Weight Pulling is another UKC event which affords owners and dogs shared excitement and a closeness achieved only by training for field and performance events. Judging breeds by their Conformation and adherence to the written breed standard is a large part of United Kennel Club competition but the spectators get into the performance events as much as the participants do!
Speaking of the heart of what UKC is all about, every year there is a huge potluck in the campground that is open to anyone who brings a dish. This year they also had people bring a $5.00 gift card. The cards were collected and after the potluck, the people who participated, all got on bicycles and distributed them in random locations around the fairgrounds for anyone to find. It was called "Random Acts of Kindness". Each gift card had a little note on it explaining that the person who found it could keep the gift card.
Over $400 was collected and about 50 people participated in this first time people activity. Everyone had a great time celebrating these Random Acts of Kindness and we anticipate even more people will be involved next year! The United Kennel Club is proud to have exhibitors like these. It truly demonstrates the UKC culture and the camaraderie our exhibitors share with one another.
All in all it was a great success. Premier continues to grow and we see new faces every year. We at the UKC can’t thank you enough for supporting our event. Premier is put on by an army of people not just UKC employees.
We send our deep appreciation and gratitude out to all of the dedicated, loyal, hardworking, and fantastic workers, helpers and volunteers. We truly could not do this without all of you. See you next year!
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