By Wayne Towner
Special to the Times
The Mountaineer Spring Classic Dog Show returns to the Washington County Fairgrounds today and continues through Sunday.
Admission and parking are free. Ring times will begin about 8 a.m. each day and Best In Show will be about 2:30 p.m.
Sponsored by the Blennerhassett and Greater Clarksburg Kennel Clubs, the show will offer four separate opportunities for a Best in Show award. Dogs from all over the country will compete, said show spokeswoman Sue Christman.
The show is open to the public, but un-entered dogs are not permitted on the grounds or in the show building, said Christman. Strollers are prohibited inside the building.
If you go
What: Mountaineer Spring Classic Dog Show.
When: Starts around 8 a.m. today, Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
Where: Washington County Fairgrounds.
Cost: Admission and parking are free.
Note: The events are open to the public, but no un-entered dogs are allowed. Strollers are not allowed either, due to safety concerns.
"In the past, people have inquired as to why no strollers. It is for the safety of the children." said Christman. "Strollers are just the right height to put a child in the face of most breeds. Children love to point and to reach and to touch. Often they have a pacifier, toy, candy, cookie or other objects in their hands.
"Handlers are rushing to and from show rings, and in the flurry of it all, a dog might think the outstretched hand of a child holds something just for the dog. We don't want the dogs distracted from their quest to win, and we don't want innocent children hurt by eager dogs. We aren't 'mean clubs,' just safety-conscious ones," she said.
Those who follow the sport of dog showing on television may recognize some of the judges attending this show from past Westminister and Eukanuba shows.
"We are so fortunate to have many greatly respected judges from all over the country who are willing to fly and drive just to be part of our shows," said Blennerhassett Dog Show Chairman Joyce Fortney. "It is an honor to have highly qualified judges accept your invitation, as many clubs all over the country are also having shows at this time. For them to select your club's invitation says a great deal about the club's reputation...."
For several years, the Mountaineer show was held in March, but organizers decided to reschedule it in hopes of generating more participation, Christman said. The May schedule - and hopefully warmer weather - has attracted more vendors attending in recent years, she said.
More than 100 breeds of dogs will be represented at the Marietta show, and fans can come watch their favorites, ask questions about breeds and get to know more about the sport of dog showing from owners and professional handlers.
"We were bitten by the dog show bug about 10 years ago," said Troy Christman, owner/breeder handler of True Boxers. "Although we usually have a professional handler show our dogs, I like to get back in the ring and show off my own dogs from time to time.
"It's a lot of fun and can be nerve-wracking at times.
But nothing feels better than having the judge point to your dog and give it the nod of their approval, especially when you know that you have bred that particular dog on your own. That is true satisfaction," he said.
For more information regarding the show, contact Sue Christman at (304) 295-8769.