Next week marks the closing date for entries for the events that have grown over the past few years into quite an extravaganza in Santa Barbara, Calif., in August.

In addition to the 104th and 105th Santa Barbara Kennel Club shows, the fifth annual SBKC and Purina ProPlan Breeders’ Showcase will take place at the Earl Warren Showgrounds in Santa Barbara. Simi Valley Kennel Club’s all-breed show kicks off the weekend on Friday, August 23, followed by Santa Barbara KC’s first show, which includes the Breeders’ Showcase, as well as the Sighthound Spectacular and the “Bullyganza,” a competition for Bullmastiffs, Am Staffs, Mini Bull Terriers, Bostons, Bull Terriers, Staffordshire Bull Terriers, Bulldogs and Frenchies. Sunday’s SBKC show will feature the Foreign-Bred Showcase, and Monday the Conejo KC will hold its all-breed show.

Yellow and white tenting and table arrangements, along with floral arrangements and Santa Barbara KC’s beautiful array of challenge and memorial trophies, make for a resplendent dinner at ringside during evening judging. Photo by Ethan Wheeler © 2009.

The breeders’ competition starts at the Group level, with each entry consisting of two dogs that share at least one breeder in common. Anyone may show the dogs. Cash prizes are offered for first through fourth in each Group plus four Awards of Merit per Group, with $500 for Group First, plus $1000 for Reserve BIS and $1,500 for Best in Show. This year the Group judges include Lynda Gall, Susan Hamil, Sylvia Hammarstrom, Connie Clark, David Fitzpatrick, Jean Hetherington and Guy Jeavons, with Geir Flykt-Pedersen and Augusto Benedicto Santos, from the Philippines, judging Best in Show.

Along with the Breeders’ Showcase the club hosts a buffet dinner for exhibitors, served at ringside during the evening judging. Of course, Santa Barbara itself is beautiful and the grounds are picturesque, and Santa Barbara KC’s yellow and white striped tenting, tables and table linens, as well as beautiful trophies and gorgeous flower arrangements dress the site for the evening judging and dinner.

Entries at the Breeders’ Showcase at Santa Barbara consist of two dogs with at least one breeder in common, and competition begins at the Group level. Photo by Ethan Wheeler © 2009.

Each year in conjunction with the Breeders’ Showcase the club also honors fanciers from each of the seven variety Groups for their contributions to the sport of dogs. This year the honorees are Connie Gerstner Miller of Malagold Golden Retrievers; Jay Hafford and James Blanchard of Thaon Afghan Hounds; Sylvia Hammarstrom of Skansen Giant Schnauzers; Dan Kiedrowski, founder of Terrier Type magazine and an icon in the Terrier world; Blanche Roberts of Blaque Pugs; Connie Wagner of Spotlight Dalmatians; and Mary Anne Brocious of Qubic Old English Sheepdogs.

Cash prizes are also offered for the bull breeds, sighthound and foreign-bred competitions. Both Saturday and Sunday there will be a ladies and gentleman’s hat judging contest, with the show committee as arbiters. SBKC also offers a “Judging Junior Showmanship” program on Saturday. Fanciers have traveled from all over the U.S. to attend the Santa Barbara weekend the past several years.

Exhibitors who prefer to stay in Northern California for the weekend may attend three all-breed shows hosted by the Mensona KC,  at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds in Santa Rosa Friday through Sunday, August 23 to 25. In addition to Best Bred-by and Best Puppy, 4-to-6 Puppy, several specialties and nine supported entries during the weekend, Mensona KC will thank exhibitors for coming with a complimentary pasta dinner on Friday evening. The weekend also includes Meet the Breeds, agility and rally, CGC testing and an eye clinic.

Of course, there is a lot going on at other shows around the country. The four clubs that make up the Cherokee Rose Cluster, Thursday through Sunday at the Expo Center South in Atlanta, make a special point of showing their appreciation to exhibitors.

The Griffin Georgia KC starts things off with “free lunch” on Thursday, a “taste of the South” that includes pulled pork, chicken, baked beans and other southern fare. On Friday Sawnee Mountain KC will hand out coupons for a $5 discount at participating vendors to the first 200 people who purchase show catalogs, and during Group judging the club will celebrate its 25th anniversary with refreshments for all. On Saturday morning the Lawrenceville KC and Purina will serve complimentary breakfast, and on Sunday Purina will join the Conyers KC at Group time in serving ice cream for everyone.

An all-breed weight pull will take place on Friday and Saturday after Best in Show, and the North Georgia Hound Association will have a match on Saturday. The cluster also includes an eye clinic, the AKC Owner-Handler series and 4-to-6 Puppy competition.

All-breed shows to be held in Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Washington and West Virginia also close next week.

If your club has something special happening at its upcoming show, or if you went to a show that had an extra activity that you especially enjoyed, please leave a comment below, or contact me at and give me the details and I’d be happy to report on it.