Anchorage may have its Fur Rondy, but Soldotna is gearing up for its own "fur fest" this weekend.
More than 600 dogs will converge on the city today, Saturday and Sunday for the Kenai Kennel Club's 70th, 71st and 72nd dog shows and obedience trials at Skyview High School. Each day is considered a separate show.
KKC received 547 entries from across the United States for the American Kennel Club conformation and obedience competitions, with competitors coming from as far away as Ohio and Texas. Judges will travel from as far as Florida, Maryland and Pennsylvania.
"The only thing that changes from year to year is there are more breeds recognized by AKC," said Leslie Batchelder, KKC president. "It's an opportunity to see some of the rarer breeds, like Chinese crested and Affenpinschers. We'll have an Ibizan hound, which is very rare.
"We put on this show for everybody's enjoyment. It's a fun family thing and a chance for serious breeders to get out and showcase their stock -- to show what their breeds are all about," she said.
The biggest change in this year's shows is the addition of the state's first AKC agility trial.
Agility is a type of obstacle course navigated by a dog via a handler's instructions. The placement and sequence of obstacles is left in the hands of the judge.
"The course is like a puzzle, and it's different every time," said trial secretary Cindy Mildbrand.
"It's a sport that's entertaining for people to watch and for the dogs and handlers."
Mildbrand received 84 entries for the three-day trial.
"I'd like to see the dogs and handlers have a good time," she said. "I'd also like to introduce agility to people in the community who haven't seen it. Perhaps others might decide to get involved with their dogs."
Batchelder said there also may be a demonstration of lure coursing by sight hounds. Lure coursing is a pulley system that runs on the ground with a white bag attached to represent a rabbit.
"It can have zigs and zags in it," she said. "It's interesting to watch the sight hounds go -- and they go."
The Skyview grounds will open at 7 a.m. each day, with conformation and obedience competitions starting at 9 a.m. The dog agility events begin at 10 a.m. All events are expected to run until about 7 p.m.
Spectators are welcome, however, seating is limited, so bring a chair and be prepared for any type of weather.
Admission is $3 per person or $5 for a carload per day.
"Come on down and watch -- and learn," said Batchelder.
Peninsula Clarion ©2013. All Rights Reserved.