The Utah Beehive Cluster, whose four all-breed shows with rally and obedience trials will be held Thursday, May 2, through Sunday, May 5, 2013, deserves mention for one specific act of what I think is kindness to their exhibitors. The clubs are “absorbing” the $3 per entry AKC service fee, so that their entries are just $18 for Bred-by and Puppy classes and $25 for regular entries. Junior Showmanship is just $10. With costs of everything skyrocketing these days, it’s so nice to see shows with more affordable entry fees.

The cluster, held at the Salt Lake County Equestrian Center in South Jordan, Utah, and hosted by the Intermountain and Utah Valley KCs, includes eye and heart clinics, and microchipping. Donations for the “Vest-a-Dog Fundraiser” will also be collected during the cluster to purchase bulletproof vests for local police dogs.

Utah’s Beehive Cluster will take place the first weekend in May at the Salt Lake County Equestrian Center.

I’d like to give a little credit to a club whose shows are small, but which seems to making an effort to offer exhibitors something extra. When I lived in Texas, the Caddo Kennel Club wasn’t yet approved to hold shows. Today it is, and its back-to-back all-breeds will be held in Marshall, Texas, on May 4 and 5. Entries last year were just over 500, but the club has enough going on to satisfy lots of people.

There will be obedience and rally, the AKC Owner-Handler series, 4-to-6 Months Puppy competition, a B match on Friday night and an obedience match Saturday. To top it all off, there’ll be a dog wash available on the show site, something even big clusters often don’t have. The club offers a $75 gift certificate to PetsRUs for Best in Show, $25 for Reserve BIS. This looks like an ambitious bunch to me.

Also closing next week is what many consider one of the best show weekends of the year on the East Coast, and one we’ve covered before on Best In Show Daily – the Bucks and Trenton weekend.

The Trenton Kennel Club celebrates its 84th anniversary this year with back-to-back all-breed shows Sunday and Monday in West Windsor Township, N.J. As reported last year, the club offers so much to both the dog show community and to locals. There are lots of specialty shows, with sweepstakes, luncheons, raffles and other activities that make the day special, as well as supported entries and the Owner-Handler series, not to mention big entries, lots of majors and very keen competition at the Group level. Trenton’s Sunday entry last year was 2,402, with 923 entered on Monday.

For visitors there are Meet the Breeds, rally, obedience and more than 45 vendors, in addition to the dog show, all taking place at beautiful Mercer County Park. Going to the dog show can make for a great family outing.

This is just the third year Trenton has held a show on Monday, but for many years there have also been specialties and Group shows on Thursday and Friday, also at Mercer County Park. The difficulty, again as we reported last year, is that the Bucks County show, which has been on the Saturday for decades, is 40 miles away, in Pennsylvania, about an hour drive on a good day. Still, many exhibitors know that it’s worth the drive back and forth, and they look forward to going to Bucks each year for its history, the picturesque venue at Tinicum Park, well-thought-out judging panels and the welcoming spirit of members who have maintained a gracious ambience and level of prestige that are perhaps missing at so many shows today. Last year’s entry of 2,149 proves that it’s still among the most sought-out shows in the country.

Bucks County, like Trenton, includes numerous specialty shows and supported entries. AKC Owner-Handler series competition will also be part of the day.

I should also mention that the Group clubs that hold shows on Thursday and Friday – Garden State All Terrier Club, Central New Jersey Hound Association  and the Delaware Valley Toy Dog Fanciers Association – all work hard to make their shows appealing for exhibitors too, with Puppy Groups, raffles, ringside mentoring and other little extras. Garden State has become one of the larger Terrier shows in the nation.

If you have an idea for something clubs can offer to make their shows more appealing, please share with us.