A staple on the dog show calendar for the intermountain region since 1985, the five day cluster of specialties and all-breed shows in mid-February at the National Western Stock Show Complex will cease to exist in 2017.
From the Colorado Kennel Club website:
“An open Letter to exhibitors:
The decision to discontinue the Rocky Mountain Cluster was not taken lightly by either of the kennel clubs. It was based principally on administrative disagreements of the rotation of show dates, which could not be resolved in a mutually satisfactory manner. Colorado Kennel Club wishes Plum Creek Kennel Club nothing but success in future endeavors.”
Professional handler Kellie Miller observed, “You cannot maintain a Cluster the size of Denver (which flip flopped positions with Louisville, KY for the second and third largest shows in the country for while), while fighting internal battles between clubs, at a venue that isn’t what most people would call “dog show friendly,” and then add the crushing blow of having Westminster fall on your date at least three times in the past six years, and expect to survive.”
“On the up side, we have two clubs that are now free to hold their shows separately and at different times of year,” Miller said. “They have the opportunity to make changes and grow their clubs the way they want without the confinement of the other club. I’m a big believer in Opportunity. I will be interested to see how the two clubs take this opportunity and make it great for all of us. Their limit is only as deep as their vision.”
Local exhibitor and judge, Sidney Marx, said, “My only comment is that it is too bad PEOPLE get in the way of what is best for our dogs, exhibitors, and shows.”
Karen Evasuik, local exhibitor and candid photographer said the Westminster Kennel Club date change was a major impact. “I have to choose Westminster or Colorado, Evasuik said. “This last year I chose to show at the first two shows and fly to Westminster on Sunday. It’s sad. CKC was the first all-breed show I ever attended, back in 1986.”
Plum Creek Kennel Club member Marlene Groves noted, “the ending of this joint venture is not completely shocking as the cluster has had both terrific success; but at times, also much anxiety and tension between the two clubs. “
Groves added, “…each club has a responsibility to take input and direction from their club members; as it is their members who put on their shows. So, it would appear, both clubs operated with the best interest of their individual clubs.”
Plans are in place, pending AKC approval, for PCKC to host specialties and two all breed shows at the Arapahoe County Fairgrounds in Aurora on its show dates. PCKC show chair Michele Sjaardema said PCKC is excited to be starting a new tradition at a wonderful new facility.
“While we will miss many things about our long-time venue,” Sjaardema said, “Arapahoe County Fairgrounds makes for a great setting, with spacious, close-in, free parking, new, modern indoor arena space, lots of outdoor space for dog walking and relief, great RV parking facilities, nearby dog-friendly hotels and closer to Denver International Airport. It is less than 15 miles from the National Western Complex. In many cases, it will not be necessary to relocate to attend both shows.”
“Colorado Kennel Club will provide its exhibitors the most positive experience possible as it has always done,” said Louise Leone, CKC president. “(We) will be hosting four days of agility, two days of Conformation, Obedience and Rally, Barn Hunt. We will be adding more exciting events this year to be announce when things are finalized,” Leone said.
Stay tuned for more information as it becomes available and the clubs are able to work out all of the details of their new arrangements.