Among the shows that close on October 24, I found so many clubs offering really wonderful things that will make exhibitors feel appreciated, and those that allow the clubs to give back to their communities. From honoring America’s service men and women, to a $500 scholarship for a junior handler, to wine tasting in the Napa Valley, club members are very thoughtful about adding those extras that make their shows memorable.

Sunday, November 11, is Veterans Day, and the Southern Colorado Kennel Club will honor veterans, both human and canine, at its two shows on the Colorado State Fairgrounds in Pueblo on that weekend. Rally and obedience trials will be held both days as well, with All-American dogs welcomed to enter.

To honor our canine oldies, on Sunday the club offers Best of Breed Veteran and Best Veteran in Show competition. Each veteran breed winner will be selected after the regular judging for that breed, and just prior to Best in Show, Best Veteran in Show will be selected. Spayed and neutered dogs are, of course, allowed. I hope they get a nice turnout.

Although it’s a secret exactly what it will be, the club also notes in its premium list that there will be a “special recognition ceremony” held to honor America’s military veterans during the lunch break on Sunday.

On Friday the club holds an obedience C match beginning at 4 p.m., with a conformation B match later that evening. Southern Colorado also offers an eye clinic on Saturday with Dr. Matthew Chavkin.

Another club that will honor veterans of the human variety is the Tampa Bay Terrier Club. It will hold back-to-back shows on Thursday and Friday, November 8 and 9, in conjunction with the Florida Combined Specialties, at Florida Classic Park in Brooksville. For a Group club this one has quite a few extras on the agenda.

To honor America’s service men and women, all money that was donated by club members for breed trophies will go to the Southeastern Guide Dogs Paws for Patriots program, which provides trained guide dogs to visually impaired veterans, and companion dog services to vets who have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Several kennel clubs will honor America’s vets in honor of Veterans Day on Sunday, November 11, 2012. Photo ©

On Thursday Tampa Bay Terrier offers a Best Puppy in Group competition, with Best Bred-by-Exhibitor on Friday. The club is also holding a 50/50 cash raffle, with the drawing to be held on Friday before Group judging. The Scottish Terrier Club of Tampa Bay holds its specialty show on Friday, with a dinner at a local restaurant after the show, and the Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier Club of Greater Tampa Bay will have a B match on Friday evening as well.

Hernando County KC hosts the two all-breed shows with obedience and rally trials on the weekend after the specialty events on Thursday and Friday. No mixed breed dogs are allowed at the trials. The American Manchester Terrier Club holds a specialty show in conjunction with HCKC on Sunday.

Best in Cluster Competitions

Four all-breed shows will be held Thursday through Sunday, November 8 through 11, in Fitchburg, Mass., hosted by the Cheshire, Souhegan and Framingham District Kennel Clubs. These clubs call their cluster the Breeders’ Circuit for a good reason.

First, the clubs offer a reduced fee to enter in Bred-by. A Best Bred-by-Exhibitor will be selected in each breedwith BBE entries each day, and Bred-by Groups will take place each afternoon. Group winners will receive $100 worth of dog-related gifts and toys from the cluster’s sponsor, In The Company of Dogs– one of the best catalogs in existence for beautiful dog items!

Then, on Sunday, the Best Bred-by-Exhibitor in Show winners from all four days will compete in the Grand Bred-by-Exhibitor in Circuit competition, with a $1,000 cash grand prize. This is really terrific recognition for the breeder/exhibitor. Judges’ assignments for the BBE competition are available in the premium list.

Framingham District hosts a B match on Wednesday evening. The International Canine Semen Bank will have a booth, as well as its mobile lab, on site during the weekend as well. Our own Dr. Bill Truesdale, of Hi-Tech Boxer fame, is the contact for appointments for ICSB.

Another group of clubs offering a final grand prize for two eventual cluster winners are those of the West Michigan Harvest Cluster, made up of the Pontiac, Greater Muskeon, Kalamazoo and Grand Rapids Kennel Clubs. Their four shows will be held Thursday through Sunday in Kalamazoo, at the County Expo Center.

Competition for the AKC Owner-Handler Series will take place each day, and on Sunday a Best Owner-Handler in Cluster will be selected. Likewise, each of the Best Junior Handler winners from the four days will compete on Sunday for Best Junior Handler in Cluster. A panel of three judges, including Houston Clark, Kassandra Hamaker and Denise Simenauer, will select the winner, who will receive a $500 scholarship.

These clubs’ obedience and rally trials welcome mixed-breed dogs. A presentation sponsored by the AKC Registered Handlers Program, entitled “Rules, Regulations and Policies of the AKC and How They Relate to You,” will take place on Saturday after Best in Show. There is no charge for the meeting.

Part of the proceeds from this cluster will go to work on canine legislation issues in Michigan.

A Glamorous Weekend Out West

The Wine Country Kennel Club bills itself as an “exhibitor-friendly show,” and it seems more than warranted. The best part of the weekend may simply be that the shows will be held in Northern California’s Napa Valley, because in November I’m betting the weather will be spectacular. The club starts out showing its appreciation for attendees by offering free day of show parking and free admission, with appetizers for exhibitors and spectators during Group judging both days. Both Evanger’s Dog Food and Number 1 All Systems are sponsors for the shows, and each offers great prizes.

If you attend these shows, you’ll be right in the heart of wine country, as the club’s name lets you know, and on both days a wine tasting will take place from noon to 5 p.m., the proceeds of which will benefit Napa Humane and Take the Lead. An artists’ exhibition and sale will also take place during the shows.

The club is also hosting what it calls its “Puppy Pageant” on Saturday, and “Breeders Best” on Sunday, very fancy names for Best Puppy and Best Bred-by-Exhibitor in Show competitions, which themselves include an amazing $1,000 prize for each Best in Show. Judges are printed in the premium list, and BIS each day will be selected by a panel of three judges: Dr. Don Sturz, Wendy Paquette and Eva Berg for Best Puppy, and Beth Sweigart, Keke Kahn and Joan Zielinski for Best Bred-by in Show. Now that’s a terrific way to draw an entry to your shows!

Both mornings, the Mothers Group of the German International School of Silicon Valley Grades K-3 will hold a pancake breakfast as a fundraiser for its group, and a scrumptious start to the day is promised.

But the appreciation for exhibitors doesn’t stop there. Saturday evening after Best in Show, the club invites everyone to attend their “After the Crush – An Autumn Feast” Wine Country dinner dance. The menu is printed in the club’s beautiful premium list, and after reading it you won’t believe that dinner is only $15 per person. What promises to be a special evening will take place on the show grounds at the Cabernet Building.

The Nor-Cal Keeshond Club and Wine Country KC also offer an All-Breed Indoor Handling Workshop on Saturday evening. On Friday there will be specialties for St. Bernards and Japanese Chins on the same grounds, and Sunday evening the California Central Valley Maltese Club holds a show. The International Canine Semen Bank – Grass Valley will have its mobile unit on site as well.

This is obviously a club of very hard-working members who have put a lot of thought and time into creating a memorable show. It sounds like it will be quite a lovely weekend.

There is so much more going on this weekend, that we just can’t mention it all. There are clusters in Alabama, Arizona, Maryland, North Carolina, Nebraska and Texas, many of which offer extra perks for their exhibitors. If you’d like for me to report on what your club has going on at its upcoming shows, please email me at or write and tell me what you’ve enjoyed most about recent shows you’ve attended. I’d love to hear from you!