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Introducing ‘The Back Story’

Welcome to Best In Show Daily!   I am Billy Wheeler and I’m here to give you the Back Stories from the dog show world. Some of you may know me as the publisher of the dog show blog, Dog Show Poop.

1968 Top Hound, CH Dahnwood Gabriel, with handler Michele Leathers Billings

I attended my first dog show in 1968 here in Memphis TN. The host club was the Memphis Kennel Club. (the club which held the first dog show in the nation on October 8, 1874) That show was won by the Afghan Hound, CH Dahnwood Gabriel, the top Hound of 1968, handled by Michele Leathers Billings. The two of them were like rock stars, glamorous and larger than life. I was a short, plain looking kid with glasses from Memphis, Tennessee, and, for me, these two were celebrities. Now, I knew I was never going to be another Elvis or James Dean, but here was a world where mere dog owners were superstars.

Now 40 years later, Elvis and James Dean are dead, but I’m still going to dog shows. I never did achieve that rock star fame (Success is just as elusive in dogdom as it is in music or films), but I’ve shown at Westminster (the Garden), Philadelphia, Santa Barbara, San Francisco (the Cow Palace) and Portland (Oregon). I am one of those people that recognized all the characters from the movie Best In Show. I remember Best In Show rings at marquee shows the way some people remember big plays at Super Bowls.

It’s these moments I hope to bring to you here on Best In Show Daily. I am on my way to Orlando for the Eleventh Annual AKC/Eukanuba National Championship. This year’s show will be the largest in the series, with over 4,000 dogs entered in the four different venues, conformation, agility, obedience, & the World Challenge. There are 3775 Champions & Grand Champions in the regular conformation classes. We will be there and will give you a report on Saturday after the two day event gets rolling & on Monday morning after all the judging is completed. While the names of all the entries are a closely guarded secret, we expect most of the nation’s top dogs to be present, including most, if not all, of the Top Ten Dogs All Breeds.

So check back with us for all the Back Stories from Orlando. In addition to the promised Saturday & Monday, we will be doing one more post before the Christmas break. We will be with you daily starting New Year’s Eve giving you the details on the show scene you will get no where else. In the meantime visit Best In Show Daily for a sneak peek of a new, rich online publication for the dog show community that is fresh, lively, and full of good editorial with up-to-the minute features.

Written by

Billy Wheeler has been attending dog shows as a spectator and exhibitor for over 40 years. Billy is the man behind the popular Dog Show Poop. He is a retired management consultant who has advised multiple organizations affiliated with the AKC and the Cat Fanciers Association on business management, long range planning, customer service, and legislative matters. After 25 years of living in the big cities of New York, San Francisco, and Washington, DC, he now resides in his hometown of Memphis TN with his wife, Brenda, her Toy Poodle and his Cairn, Scottie, & IG. When he is not blogging, Billy can be found in the kitchen cooking, and listening to opera.
  • Ann December 16, 2011 at 5:51 PM

    How exciting to find Billy Wheeler associated with what looks like it is going to be the BEST dog show website ever! About time someone put this all together. Best of luck to everyone involved!

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