Specialties that are “Disneyland for dogs”!
By Foley Harper
After speaking with Sandra Bethea about upcoming specialties, I realized that many performance people may know about the invitational competitions in Orlando, but they could be quite unaware of all the activities that will be going on at the Perry Specialty in April. Sandra encouraged me to write an article, not only to inform exhibitors of the many available events, but also so that after people learn about them, they will have enough time to make plans to attend. Sandra also encourages people to begin now to brainstorm about rooming together, sharing equipment, investigating the possibilities of getting equipment for those who will be flying in. Preparation ahead of time for these shows is a key to having an enjoyable experience.
In December the BTCA will hold a regional specialty in Orlando at the AKC National Championship. This circuit offers much more than conformation competition. Performance invitational competitions, Meet the Breeds, booths galore and other activities make this circuit extremely enjoyable, entertaining and educational. Those who have never been might want to check out the AKC website for further information and pictures of last year’s events.
Following the December regional specialty, we will have another regional at the Georgia National Fairgrounds in Perry, GA, in April at the Peach Blossom Cluster (PBC). As one of our cluster members described it, this is “Disneyland for dogs.”( https://akc.tv/watch/13/1311/video/disneyland-for-dogs?ctx=/watch/13/1312/video/peach-blossom-highlights/ ) Watching AKCTV will give you a chance to get a glimpse of what goes on. You can also go online to peach-blossomcluster.org for more information. PBC offers a variety of performance competitions as well as competitions just for fun.
The Pee Wee competition is a free, pre-Junior Showmanship event for 5-9 yr. olds. A team composed of a parent/guardian, a child, and a dog of at least 4 months old compete. Dogs do not have to be AKC registered.
Canine Good Citizenship and CGCA are available. Obedience practices and competitions (5 days with 7 obedience trials) are held. Last year we offered Trick Dog. Should you be interested in this event, if your dog needs a specific prop for a trick, you need to bring it. The judges won’t be prepared for every single trick a dog might be able to do!
Four days of barn hunt take place in an air-conditioned/heated building. There are 5 days of agility trials. To cool your dogs off, you can try dock diving. Fast Cat (the 100 yd. dash) is open to AKC, PAL and ILP dogs. Lure coursing takes place in a large enclosed field. In 2019 we are adding nose work competition.
Eye and heart clinics are held on Friday and Saturday, while microchipping is available each day except Sunday by appointment. Various seminars are put on by breed clubs. The Canine Semen Bank has a booth to accommodate breeders’ questions and needs.
And if all this isn’t enough for you, the BTCA will hold our 2019 Southern National Specialty on Sunday, April 14,th in conjunction with the Combined Specialties Clubs of Atlanta. We’ll be having activities throughout the circuit as well as a dinner with a silent auction and raffle (please consider donating a basket of goodies your state is known for!), a Find the Flea competition, and anything else we can think of (if you have ideas, please contact us!) to promote fun and camaraderie. We plan to have a low country boil on Thursday evening. If you’ve never been to one, it’s a Southern experience - even though we won’t be on the coast.
Please check out the specialties and make plans to join us! Please also consider helping support the trophy fund for Perry by buying some raffle tickets for the beautiful quilt “Chaos at the Dog Shows” that Arlene Myslinski made and donated for our Perry trophy fund. Raffle tickets can soon be downloaded from the BTCA website, and Linda Freeman will include a page of raffle tickets with the calendar mail outs! We are also having a Sara England fundraiser, so think Christmas presents and check out her website! If you have any questions, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org