Heart of Iowa Kennel Club Welcomes Canine Competitors to Fairgrounds | News, Sports, Jobs
Excitement was in the air Saturday morning as exhibitors, animals and judges descended on the Central Iowa Fairgrounds in Marshalltown for the annual All Breed and Obedience Dog Show of the Heart of Iowa Kennel Club (HOIKC), a two-day event.
The dogs themselves and the people showing them spanned the spectrum in age and experience, with some coming from relatively close quarters and others traveling across the country to attend. Shelley Barron, show chair for HOIKC, estimated that there were about 400 dogs registered. A show superintendent for the American Kennel Club from Oklahoma City was also present throughout the day.
“We usually get about 15 states, so that’s pretty good. We’ve even had dogs from out of the country,” Barron said. “It’s mostly planning, but it’s fun.”
With a barn set up for grooming and two more for shows, there was something to see wherever you walked on a Saturday or Sunday. Barron noted the teamwork required to show them, as children and even grandchildren often get involved in carrying on the tradition.
It’s also an opportunity to promote HOIKC and hopefully grow its membership over the long term, Barron said. They try to organize programs whenever they meet and participate in events like parades, but, as Barron noted, the members are getting older and she thinks it’s time to get younger.
Webster City’s Pete Wilcox was dressed to nine on Saturday to show off Sakari, his Samoyed. He’s only been showing for about three years, but said he’s been in “the dog world” for much longer than that. He performed his first shows before the pandemic hit, but was excited to get back on the road with the easing of COVID restrictions.
When asked why he liked showing dogs, Wilcox gave a double answer.
“I think (it’s) just the teamwork of everyone working together. Also, just working with your dog. It shows you have a passion for your dog,” he said. said, “Getting titles isn’t just about going out and working hard. It’s about creating that bond between you and the dog and taking that dog to another level as well.
Right now, Wilcox is doing his best to just enjoy the race, but of course, as a competitor, he dreams of one day winning nationals.
“If I will ever get to this point, I don’t know,” he said.
Bob Vandiver, from South Carolina, served as a judge on Saturday and has been involved in dog shows for more than half a century after buying his first Doberman – 10 subsequent generations of his offspring have won prizes thereafter. He explained that there is a uniform standard for the “ideal” dog of each breed, and that the judges look at each show for those who are most like him.
Vandiver judges about 50 shows a year across the country, and he said some of the other judges there do even more. Most of them don’t see it as a job, but getting some money to cover their travel expenses certainly helps.
Even after decades of judging and seeing thousands of different dogs, Vandiver has a simple explanation for what keeps him coming back.
“It’s finding that great next dog,” he said. “You go into the ring and you find average dogs, some that aren’t very good at all, and then one comes along and it’s just beautiful. That dog is going to go everywhere. Sometimes you find one, and they get move. And it’s so rewarding.
Contact Robert Maharry at 641-753-6611 ext. 255 or [email protected]