Dog shows and bad weather are just not a good mix! Bad weather is an obvious reminder that we are not in control of Mother Nature and her plans!

To me, it’s unrealistic to pay entry fees and expect that a show will run smoothly and the weather will cooperate. Sometimes it just doesn’t work out that way.

When it comes to the weather, it’s a good idea to expect the unexpected. For instance, a snowstorm on the first day of spring or pouring down rain right in the middle of group judging can happen. Looking back at shows I’ve attended over the past few years, a few stand out as, well, honestly, miserable, as far as the weather goes.

Let’s take a closer look at some of these bad weather dog shows.

On our way to the all-breed shows in Billings, Mt., in June of 2010, everything seemed perfectly fine. Come to find out, just the day before, a massive tornado completely destroyed the arena where the show was to be held. Most people – including me – were in utter shock and considered themselves lucky to have barely missed something like this! Can you imagine if that had happened in the middle of the show weekend? Here’s a newspaper photo of the damage…

Billings, Montana, newspaper headline, June 20, 2010.

Another show weekend that had people in shock was Harrisburg, Pa., in 2011. On April 16, the Susquehanna River flooded much of the town, including the Farm Show complex where the shows are held. Things got so bad that the Mason Dixon Kennel Club shows scheduled for Sunday and Monday were canceled. For those of you who were there, these pictures should bring back memories of just what it was like at the time of this unexpected event…

Harrisburg, Pa., flood of 2011. Photo courtesy Jeffrey Hanlin.

According to some of the DFR and Best In Show Daily fans I heard from, following are a few more shows at the top of your “worst weather I’ve ever shown in” list:

Chelsea Wambagh said: “Costa Mesa shows about two years ago that preceded Long Beach and Eukanuba. I remember the downpour was so bad that we had to build bridges to cross the stream that developed over the road to get to the show building, using outdoor sitting benches. We would walk the dogs over or carry them across. All our ex-pens were under water as well… I do have to admit that even though it was miserable, our use of tools to manage the weekend was pretty creative!”

Kaitlyn Anderrson said: “Newfie National 2007 in Boulder it poured, flooded, tornadoes, wind, snow, hail and no water pressure to bathe dogs. Nothing was dry after everything.”

Kellie Miller said: “Two years ago in Scottsdale!!! The first day was beautiful, the second started to get icky, and the third day was downpour. My Schipperke GCH. Bonchien Mr. Monopoly won the Non-Sporting Group and by BIS he was standing in 3 inches of water. People and dogs fell all through the Groups, and the fourth day was canceled. Groups on the third day had to be moved to another set of rings as well. It was just awful!”

Keith Paladino said: “The Harrisburg shows, the river was flooded up to the back loading dock, cars and RV’ were stranded. The building began to flood, and they canceled the show! Then on 9/8-9/11/11, Hurricane Irene came through and flooded the entire show site in New Jersey at North Branch Park the day before the shows started.”

More recently, the shows at Del Sur just the other weekend should be added to the list. The show was cold and rainy. There were even multiple hailstorms on Sunday – but the show did go on! Check out this picture of what the grounds looked like half way through the weekend…

Del Sur show grounds in March 2012.

Shows like these remind us to expect the unexpected – and to always be properly prepared – because let’s face it, anything can happen! Even if it means keeping your rain boots and umbrellas in your show vehicle at all times. You never know when you might need them!

We all come across those not-so-fun shows every so often. When we do, we’re frequently put in a position to consider two things: First, do I stay and make my entry – along with everyone else’s – worthwhile? Or do I pack up and go? I’m not going to lie; it’s kind of a sticky situation! If one person leaves, it could easily break a major and disappoint many people. In the end, the choice to stay or leave is ultimately based on safety and everyone’s well-being.

Now I know there are a lot more stories out there about bad weather dog events, so if you have one, please share! I can’t wait to hear what you have to say!!!

In bad weather and in good… our Dogs (still) Freakin’ Rule!!!!!