This past Sunday, my mom and I set out for Tautphaus Park in Idaho Falls, Idaho, to attend an AKC B match, held by the Eagle Rock Kennel Club. I’d been asked to judge puppy and adult conformation, as well as Junior Showmanship and Adult Handling for exhibitors 18 and older. It was to be a day of celebrating dogs and welcoming the public to the world of purebred dogs, full of events and activities for everyone.

On arrival at the park, I was overwhelmed by this outstanding event. Not only was everyone more than organized, they were inviting and kind. Exhibitors were eager to get their dogs into the rings and excited about the day in general. I had a total entry of about 40 dogs to judge, most of them puppies. My eventual Best in Match from the Open Dog class was handler Taryn Sessions and her Pug, ‘Gus.’ See a shot of Gus and Taryn with her mother here.

I had the chance to pose with my Best in Match winners, Taryn Sessions and Gus, at the Eagle Rock Kennel Club fun match in Idaho Falls, Idaho.

Along with conformation, I had a handful of juniors to judge. My favorite class had a total of six adult handlers. Thank goodness I only had one placement to make, so I didn’t have to leave two adults out of the ribbons!

Throughout the day, it was apparent that this club’s 30 or so members were all there for the love of dogs. It showed in their interactions with their dogs and their positive attitudes toward showing.

My initial quest for a match to attend was to gather another of the three required judging assignments to apply for my Junior Showmanship license. I’m proud to say that this particular match was my third and final one! As a previous junior handler, I am now able to apply. I got a bonus requirement last weekend in Waukesha, Wis., by attending a juniors’ seminar. I’ll tell you all about it in an upcoming blog, so be sure to watch for it.

It was definitely a highlight to my day to hear that my Best Junior, Alexis Shomaker, has only been showing for five months. She’s worked very hard with fellow junior handlers to reach her goal of moving up to the Open Intermediate class, and only needs one more win. In a recent Facebook post, her cousin wrote, “This win has boosted her confidence and encouraged her to further pursue dog showing!” I was so pleased to hear that. I even had to fight back tears because she really deserved to win. I couldn’t have asked for a better outcome!

Conformation was only a small part of this day.

The Upper Snake River Valley Dog Training Club hosted obedience and rally C matches, plus its fourth annual “Bark In The Park!” The event is all about a fun day of activities for AKC’s September Responsible Dog Ownership Days, as well as a “fun-raiser” for the Snake River Animal Shelter. A costume contest and face-painting booth added to the festivities. After my judging assignments were completed, I got a Beagle painted on my arm. Donations for the face painting and an enormous raffle contributed to the cause. They even had Meet the Breed booths set up by local breeders who were eager to introduce visitors to their dogs.

All in all, this was the most fun fun match I have ever been to! The Eagle Rock Kennel Club really knows how to engage the public by holding its match in a very public place and including a magnitude of events and learning tools for both current and future fanciers. You never know who is going to drop by and fall in love with their favorite dog! This is how all fun matches should be! Just that, FUN!

Fun, emphasis on the “fun,” and Dogs Freakin’ Rule!