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Junior Handler Edition

Best In Show Daily is pleased to publish the next installment of Junior Handlers’ Edition, our newest publication dedicated exclusively to Juniors. JHE will publish weekly and highlight different Juniors from around the Country and the World. Each week, we’ll select accomplished Juniors, letting them tell in their own words & own formats what makes them “tick”. Our next group of Juniors is another great group working hard to master their craft and making positive contributions to the Sport & their communities. We think you’ll enjoy their insights & perspectives. JHE is very special to us and we hope to you as well. Join us as we salute the future of our sport, the Juniors.

Evelyn Rodriguez

My name is Evelyn Rodriguez. I live in Eagle River, Alaska. I am 13 years old, and show as an intermediate junior handler. I currently show Staffordshire Bull Terriers and Whippets.

I attended my first show with my grandma Lisande Donohoe at age 7. Soon after, I started handling classes. My first show was with an experienced whippet named GCH Arwen Glitter Fantasy JC (Erin). After showing Whippets for a while, I started showing Staffordshire Bull Terriers too.

This year I traveled to Nationals with My Stafford Aran Isle Little Bit O’Irish (Chloe). We attended the SBTCA Nationals in Sacramento, California. The first day Chloe went Best of Winners, and earned enough points for her Championship. Day two and three she went select against a very large group of wonderful Staffords and handlers. I was really excited to meet all of the juniors from California and all around the country.

I have had many influences and mentors. My grandma first, for introducing me to the sport, and putting in lots of hard work to train and guide me. I want to thank Phil and Patricia Briasco for my beautiful Staffordshire Bull Terrier. I love that I can call them at any time and they are so eager to encourage and help me. Last, but not least Colleen McDowell and Stevie Collins for training me. I have learned so much from so many people it is hard to mention them all.

When I am not at a show or practicing for a show, I enjoy reading, long boarding, and downhill skiing. I also enjoy listening to music and I like spending time with my friends, and family. I would one day like to own a whippet and maybe a German Shepard. I also aspire to be a professional handler.


Miranda Nevarez

Hello, my name is Miranda Nevarez and I am 14 years old. I live in Stillwater, Minnesota and I go to school at Stillwater Junior High school going into ninth grade.I compete is the Open Intermediate class with my 2 year old french bulldog bitch. My first show dog and first pet was a very incorrect French Bulldog name Pig. He got me many wins, and very far with my handling. I fell in love with this breed the minute I saw them. I am very familiar with Frenchies and I can even recite some of the breed standard. My mentor is BethAnn Hanson. She has been breeding and handling for over 25 years. She has always believed in me and my handling. If it weren’t for her I wouldn’t be where I am today. I will always remember the moment I took my first win at Rochester. That was the year it was at the College. I was so happy and I couldn’t believe I won. I felt so much relief, all that hard work had finally paid off. My biggest challenge was once I hit that first win, I thought I knew everything. I thought I was better then everyone else. Then I got a rude reality check when I started losing again. I remember hearing “Inhale the confidants, exhale the doubt.”

My favorite movie, well I don’t have a favorite movie but I love the t.v. series Grey’s Anatomy. I like it because one day I would like the be a surgeon myself. Dog shows are basically my life so that’s what I do in my past-times. I love the book ‘Girl, Interrupted’ because I like to see the way mentally sick people think. I also listen to a lot of country and sometimes pop. A recent highlight was the Cambridge show. It was a good weekend, my step-mother took a BISS with a Doberman we handle. I practically live in my brother’ Nate’s shadow though. He has the cute factor– a 4’11 child with a pom., that doesn’t get any cuter. He wins, a lot. And everyone gives him all the glory. It’s would be annoying if he wasn’t such a good handler.

I go to a place called the Animal Inn, it’s where a bunch of juniors and I all practice together. WE give each other tips on what to wear, how to do your hair, and how we can make our handling a lot better. My problem for a long time was I was getting over looked or I was losing to my brother. But I don’t mind losing to someone who deserves the win. I have written many reports on my life at the dog shows. Report on descriptive writing .I am going to breed my bitch once she gets her championship., this will be my first liter. Overall I’d like to thank the AKC for changing my life in not a bad way, but a good way. It has helped me get away from the people at school. I don’t let the people at school get to me when I’m at the shows. It’s my escape from reality. Here, at the shows, that’s where I am the most powerful– No one can bring me down. Dog showing, that is my Cloud 9. Dog showing is my life, and that’s all I have to say about it. All the politics, drama, and the competitive people, it’s all worth it. At the end of the day, I couldn’t be happier with the way I do things at the show.

Thank you, and have a great day.
Yours truly, Miranda Nevarez

Courtney Ellis

Hi there! My name is Courtney Ellis and I am from Kingston Massachusetts. I started in dogs when I was about 10 years old, first in 4-H where I trained my Labrador Retriever Lucy, and that’s when I wanted to get a flashy show dog and try out AKC! I did a lot of research and came across Helyne Medieros and the famed Seasyde Pointers. That is when I acquired my first show dog, Whydah! She is the daughter of the very famous Pointer named Holly. Whydah is co-owned with both Helyne and myself. I have recently started in Juniors and Conformation! I have won three Novice Senior classes and even got Best Junior at a match last year. I am very excited to see what the future holds for Whydah and I! I have the best mentor in the world, Jessica Kozel from Lemko Boxers, who is my teacher and my friend. I hope I continue to improve and maybe I will make it to Westminster or Eukanuba someday! Never give up, and don’t let people get you down, because if you put your mind to something, nothing can stop you!

Future goals:
My future goals are to work alongside a professional handler and gain more experience handling! I also would love to become a Vet. It’s been my dream since I was young! I go to Norfolk County Agricultural High school where I am a vet major, but I take canine handling classes, grooming, and even behavior and health!

Biggest Accomplishment: My biggest accomplishment would have to be getting into Norfolk Aggie. Through an extensive interviewing process and long hours studying, I did it! This school is perfect for me and I couldn’t imagine going anywhere else!

Biggest Challenge: Currently my biggest challenge is finishing my Pointer actually! I have had some discouraging words thrown at me from people I don’t even know, saying she won’t finish and it’s because she’s owner handled and not flashy enough, etc. I think through hard work and perserverence, she will be able to finish. She is completely trained by me, and I think that says a lot for a Junior and even just in AKC. It wasn’t, and still isn’t easy. But I’m not going to give up!

Favorite books, movies, music:
I love anything written by John Green, I love the Hunger Games Series as well. I love a good comedy, but one of my most favorite movies is Saving Private Ryan. For music I love The Red Hot Chilli Peppers.

Why I chose Pointers:
Well, I had always grown up with Labs, and although they are very intelligent and great family dogs, I wanted something a little more different! I had always seen German Shorthaired Pointers, but I had never met an English Pointer, AKC dropped the “English” many years ago. I had always thought they were stunningly beautiful, chiseled, and flashy. They have the sweetest temperaments ever, and they are great! I had not seen many in the Juniors ring, and I wanted to stand out. My girl Whydah (Seasyde Cadberry) is the best fit for me! She is flashy, calm when you want her to be and energetic when you want her to be, and she loves kids and she loves dog shows. It sounds funny, but she definitely knows that she is pretty!

I have been in 4-H since I was 8 years old. I started in a horse club, and then I joined Cave Canem Dog Club in 2010. The people I met through 4-H are all such great people. I was a little nervous at first but I was instantly greeted with people who wanted nothing but to help me. I started with my Labrador Retriever, Lucy. (Brookstone’s Lucy in the Sky) Our club is all about obedience and showmanship, and most of all, friendship. I learned the ropes of showmanship through 4-H, and although it is a little different from AKC, it was a great way to get me started. I recommend any young, or even older kids who want to get involved in AKC, to get involved in 4-H also! It has formed many friendships with people that have the same interests as you, and it has given me a lot more confidence. I am also very active in FFA. (Future Farmers of America) I serve as apart of my school’s FFA Officer Team, being part of the executive committee. I love FFA because it has gained me a lot of leadership skills, public speaking, and agriculture knowledge! I presented a Team Demonstation this past year on How to groom a dog at the Massachusetts FFA State Convention, and I will be attending the FFA National Convention this fall in Louisville Kentucky!

Thank you so much!

Marina Nagatani

Hello! I’m Marina Nagatani, I’m 15 years old, and I’m from Visalia, CA. I’m currently enrolled in a private online school, Laurel Springs, to accommodate my dog show schedule. I started showing when I was 9 with my Maltese Lucy. She was my primary juniors dog for 5 ½ years and showed at Westminster 4 times, Eukanuba 5. She even helped me make the junior showmanship finals at Eukanuba this past year, which was definitely the highlight of my juniors career thus far. I shaved her down inmMarch, which was a bittersweet moment.

My first dog was my first show dog, Lucy. She was bred by Sheri Alquist. We originally bought her as a pet, but we realized how awesome she (and the breed!) is and wanted to do more. So we bought another show dog and 6 years later I’m completely obsessed with dog shows! Well my mom wanted a Malt years ago because of how “cute and fluffy” they are. We went into the breed not knowing much. But now I love the breed. They have just the right amount of spunk and sass you could ask for and are very sweet dogs. Definitely little lap dogs. I originally didn’t want a TFT, but a friend of mine had one he wanted to give to a junior. So I met him and fell in love instantly. He is the right amount of terrier without being “too much” if you will. They’re little spit-fires with rock star show personalities!

I currently breed/show Maltese, but I also have a Toy Fox Terrier as well. I am in love with coated breeds. Maltese, Shih Tzu’s, Yorkies, Silky Terriers, Lhasa’s…you name it. I’m fortunate enough to have a breed expert as my mentor, Pat Keen. Being an accomplished handler, breeder, and groomer, she has taught me so much about these coated dogs over the past few years. And for that I am eternally grateful. But showing a coated toy breed in Juniors does have it’s disadvantages. The daily grooming alone is hard enough with the brushing, wrapping, bathing etc. Getting a Maltese ready for a show day is definitely harder than getting my Toy Fox ready, that’s for sure! But the future of coated breeds needs more handlers, and I definitely want to be one!

When I’m not showing dogs, I’m heavily involved with my music. I play the cello in an advanced orchestra, but also play violin on the side. I also enjoy reading, writing, and just messing around on the computer. My favorite book is Luna by Julie Anne Peters. My favorite movies would have to be The Breakfast Club, Best In Show, and Boys Don’t Cry. And I’m currently playing a game called Catherine as well as The Walking Dead game season 2.

Hunter Tank

Hello BIS Daily,
I am submitting a bio for our son, Hunter Tank.
I think it is amazing and wonderful that you are doing this!

Hunter Tank is a 12 year old California Jr Handler. He has multiple Best Junior Awards, esp with his girl Nixie, who is an ILP/PAL dog, that we rescued from Serbia. Remarkably , “Nixie” is almost blind, they are an amazing team.

Hunter Has been involved in dogs since well birth! The Tank family has over 120 years of experience (combined) in the breed. Hunter started showing in Jrs. at 10 years and two weeks old. He was awarded Best Jr at German Shepherd Dog Club of Los Angeles’ Specialty. Competes in both German Shepherd Specialty shows and All Breed venues. At ten was winner of 5 Pt Major GSD Specialty in Tucson Az, with his bottle fed puppy “Clooney” With his best friend and canine mentor Ch. Victory’s Leviathan, he competed to 1st Novice Jr at the GSDCA National Specialty. Later the pair went on to win a specialty Major Best Opposite Sex.

He and his girl “Tarragon” garnered a Reserve Best in Futurity at one of the biggest GSD Futurities in the country , the Mid Pacific . He has just finished her Championship (RBIF CH. Monarch’s Tarragon of Kaleef), his first Champion at the “ripe old age ” of 12.

Hunter enjoys computers, and all things tech. If you have a computer related question, he can answer it, for both PC and Mac, LOL. He will be taking Bio Med Engineering classes this year, where he will start learning the ins and outs of designing prosthetic devices, as well as the use of 3-D printing and its applications. Hunter looks forward to expanding his handling into other breeds. He truly adores dogs, and dog showing.

Yes Hunter loves video games, he is a virtual Ninja of video, Minecraft, yes it is all about Minecraft. He enjoys making videos and compilations for school and for the family. He is a big Spongebob fan, esp the the movie.

Favorite TV shows: Spongebob Squarepants, Big Bang Theory, Modern Family.
Hunter absolutely obliterates the competition at the Big Bang Theory trivia game. Amazing. lol
He loves swimming, especially the beach, and also really enjoys going to the gym .

Favorite food...All , hahahah.. Growing boy.
Music: Variety : Alternative, rock both new and some classics, some of the techno type music as well.
Loves to travel.

Hunter would love to have some chickens to raise and for fresh eggs. This is something he looks forward to,
once show season slows and the weather cools a bit.

Hunter also loves interacting with our Paint colt, “Dakota” and our ex racing mare, “Wheels”.

His father Ken, was a pro handler in GSDs for 45 years, now and AKC judge for the German Shepherd Dog.

His Uncle Bill , is still a pro handler in GSDs , very successfully, and also shows Am Staffs. His Grandfather Bob Tank was a WW11 war dog trainer! As for myself (Mom) I have been involved in the breed since 1976 all aspects of training, conditioning etc. German Shepherd Dogs are a passion for the Tank family, and Hunter is carrying on with the tradition. Hunter was born into the greater dog show family. He has had so many dog show “aunties and uncles” that have encouraged and helped him, and supported him , his whole life.

Hunter has learned a high degree of politeness, maturity and sportsmanship , due in large part to his
involvement with Jr. Handling and the sport of dog showing. This carries over in his daily interactions in many situations. He looks forward to breeding his very first litter, in a few months, with the Champion he recently finished.
Very exciting !

All Juniors are welcome to contribute to JHE. We will select the Juniors for publication on a first-come, first-served basis. The Junior Of The Week will be the first Junior submitted that sends a short article on themselves and photos. The clock for submission starts each Monday at 8:00A PDT.

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  • Patricia Briasco July 12, 2014 at 2:50 PM

    Congratulations Evelyn on your article in Best In Show Daily. We are so proud of you and Ch Aran Isle Little bit O’ Irish….”Chloe”! The two of you make a great team and we look forward to your continued success. Patricia & Phil

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