It seems that many dog clubs today, just like many citizens, businesses and local, state and federal governments, face financial concerns. Everyone is trying to economize and cut operations down to the bare essentials to compensate for budget shortfalls. Looking at a couple of premium lists for shows that close on October 31, I realized anew that one of the best ways to help alleviate financial concerns is for clubs to work together.

Of course, all-breed clubs saw the light many years ago and began forming clusters to share facilities and other expenses. Now smart show committees have seen that forming alliances with single breed clubs, as well as obedience and agility clubs, can help everyone put on events more economically.

The Speedway Classic Rocks

I’m not just bragging on shows in my neck of the woods when I tell you that the Speedway Classic of the Carolinas, Thursday, November 15, through Sunday, November 18, has a lot to offer. The four all-breed clubs involved in the cluster – Salisbury North Carolina KC, Moore County KC of NC, Greater Monroe KC and Fayetteville KC – along with several specialty clubs, have four days chock-full of extras for exhibitors. The show committees for these clubs have worked particularly hard to bring more breed clubs on board for the weekend, and they’re offering other exciting extras as well.

The Cabarrus Arena is the site for the 2012 fall Speedway Classic of the Carolinas cluster.

Starting on Wednesday, the cluster will make bathing facilities available. Thursday will see back-to-back specialties for Chihuahuas, as well as specialties for Pugs, Pembroke Welsh Corgis and Dobes. The Carolina Terrier Association also holds its Group show on Thursday, Moore County hosts an agility trial, and the Doberman Pinscher Club of Charlotte hosts an all-breed obedience and rally trial.

On Friday, along with the Salisbury all-breed show where they’ll have Best Bred-by-Exhibitor competition, Moore County holds obedience and rally trials. The Bedlington Terrier Club of America holds its Roving National that day and the Lowchen Club of America, its regional, in anticipation of its National Specialty the following day. An echocardiography clinic starts on Friday as well.

The best part of the day, in my eyes, is what happens that evening, at least for Terrier folks. A hands-on grooming seminar will take place a half-hour after Best in Show, where professional handlers Roxanne Sutton, Tracy Szaras and Klayton Harris, along with breeder-exhibitors Lori Watson, Jo Miller-Nourse and Sandy Miles, will give participants instruction in the fine art of trimming Terriers. The cost is just $30 per person, and all proceeds will go to Take the Lead.

Things get even busier on Saturday. Along with the Greater Monroe all-breed show and the Lowchen National, there will be a designated specialty for Cresteds and a concurrent Dobe specialty. The Saturday show also includes competition for the AKC Owner-Handler Series. Health clinics for eyes, heart, patellas and BAER testing will go on all day, along with a microchip clinic.

Following the show, a B match will be held, with all proceeds going to the North Carolina Federation of Dog Clubs’ legislation fund. For everyone who is ready to relax and let their hair down, there will be a barbeque dinner and three hours of live entertainment by the Part Time Blues Band, sponsored by Bob Busby’s Di Dió. The premium list reminds everyone to “bring your chairs and your dancing shoes!”

Hopefully there won’t be too many sore feet and headaches Sunday morning because along with the Fayetteville KC show, which includes Best Puppy competition, there will be an American Rottweiler Club Region IV specialty. All of this and more will be held at the spacious Cabarrus Arena and Event Center in Concord, N.C. That’s enough to keep any exhibitor busy for four days!

The Wild Rivers Cluster Gives Back

Another set of clubs that’s going the extra mile in support of both their dog community and their local communities are the Umpqua and Rogue Valley Kennel Clubs, holding their Wild Rivers Cluster November 15 through 18 at the Douglas County Fairgrounds in Roseburg, Ore., 178 miles south of Portland. These clubs are offering many of the extras that add so much – including obedience and rally trails every day, Best Veteran and Best Puppy competitions, health clinics and a B match – but they have several more special offerings on the agenda.

The kennel clubs will accept donations of non-perishable human food as well as dog food, in support of their local United Community Action Network food drive to benefit needy families and their pets.

The Umpqua Kennel Club offers a $250 scholarship on both Thursday and Friday for the Best Junior Handler. This is a great way to show support for the young people who are the future of the sport. On Saturday, the Rogue Valley KC offers a $500 cash prize for the Best Bred-by-Exhibitor in show. Again, this is a lovely way to recognize breeders, one of the most significant groups in the sport.

Rogue Valley also supports its local community by purchasing its trophies from local resident artisans at the Glass Forge Gallery and Studio and Pig Pen Pots, which creates handmade functional pottery.

In celebration of its 60th anniversary, the Rogue Valley KC will have hors d’oeuvres and cake on Saturday afternoon. The Henry Estate Vineyard will also offer tastings of wine from the local Umpqua Valley, where the Henry family has farmed for five generations.

An Alliance as Strong as Lewis and Clark’s

Another group of clubs that has worked to beef up their event are those belonging to the Lewis and Clark Cluster. Four days of conformation shows and obedience and rally trials, along with concurrent specialties hosted by the Cocker, Afghan, Borzoi and German Wirehaired Pointer clubs, will take place in the spacious Century Link Center in Omaha, Neb., November 15 through 18.

Are our readers familiar with the “concurrent specialty” concept which is fairly new to AKC? When a specialty club holds a show concurrently with an all-breed club, as soon as judging of the all-breed show ends for the day, the specialty show can begin, which allows exhibitors with that breed to show twice in one day. It also allows clubs to share expenses.

This show site is near the local historic Old Market district, which I’ve read includes lots of great shopping, dining and entertainment. With a wide variety of vendors on the show grounds, there will also be great shopping opportunities on site.

Another club marks its anniversary this weekend. On Saturday the Council Bluffs KC celebrates its 50th anniversary and invites everyone to dress in ‘50s-style clothes for the day, and to share a celebratory cake before Best in Show judging. A junior handling seminar will be held on Saturday after BIS for a small $5 entry fee, and every attendee will receive a gift.

This cluster also offers bathing facilities for exhibitors, and a BIG perk is that they’ll have volunteers assisting in the loading and unloading area. This cluster includes judges’ education seminars for Australian Shepherds, Bearded Collies, Collies, German Shepherds, Cockers, Doberman Pinschers, Mastiffs and Spinoni Italiani. Health clinics and microchipping will also be available. On Thursday, Friday and Saturday, there will be obedience and rally training C matches.

So many clubs and individuals are working together with the Nebraska KC and Council Bluffs KC to make this a weekend that has something for everyone.

Of course, many other shows close on October 31, including the National Dog Show, as the KC of Philadelphia show has become known, which will be televised on Thanksgiving Day. Lots of specialty clubs join KC of Philadelphia for their shows, which are among the last benched shows held in the U.S.

We’d be happy to report on what your club is planning for its upcoming show. If you’d like to tell me about it, please email me at, or write and tell me what you’ve enjoyed most about recent shows you’ve attended.