Dog show brings 4-H glory Moffat County Fairgrounds
August 4, 2015
The Moffat County Fair dog show kicked off Tuesday morning and half of the building was filled with excitement and pre-performance jitters as groomed dogs and their young owners busied themselves in preparation for their upcoming events.
Jenna Timmer, 13, and her border collie, Skeeter, stood outside the ring waiting to perform. She's been a member of 4-H for five years, but this the first year she's competed in the dog show.
"I'm excited for the obedience event," she said.
The show was divided into three events: showmanship, obedience and rally. Owners receive awards in each event based on varying criteria. Any breed and age of dog can compete, and the roster of canines reflected the diversity the rules allow.
Brianna Burkett, 14, had to shout her dog's name, Jake, multiple times in the ring before he finally responded to her commands. She said that Jake is going deaf due to his age, which Brianna guesses is between 11 and 13. She's not sure, because she rescued him when Jake was young. At the time, he showed obvious signs of abuse, both physical and mental.
She enrolled in the dog program three years ago in order to help rehabilitate him. Training and competing, she said, has helped him immensely.
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"He's a different dog," she said. "Our relationship is a lot better."
It was Jake's third and final year in the dog show, but Brianna said she will continue to compete using her younger dog. She loves 4-H, and encourages anyone interested to get involved.
"It doesn't matter what activities you're in; anyone can do it," she said.
Diane Calin, a 4-H leader, echoed the same message. She's led 4-H groups for 15 years, and is now the leader of the K-9ers, 11 of whom competed Monday. She pointed out the hard work and dedication the competition requires.
"These kids have been practicing for nine months," Calin said.
In this time, dogs and their owners grow very close to one another.
"Their dogs become their brothers and sisters," Calin explained.
Mitchell Davidson, 17, was one of the greatest examples of a dedicated competitor. He's competed in the dog show for nine years. He showed two dogs in this year's competition and said he enjoys the challenge of training for shows.
"It's been really fun," he said.
The dog show wrapped up with the rally event which most of the competitors seemed the most excited about. It was the only event without a judge. Instead, dogs and their owners maneuver a pre-determined course, completing tasks at various points along the way.
"You don't feel as tense," competitor Bryson Davis, 14, said of the rally. "I'm psyched."