For many years, the Kenai Kennel Club's summer dog show has been held at the Skyview High School campus. It is a venue for the 200-some canine owners who travel from all over Alaska and the lower 48 with their trailers, tents, luxury campers and kennels to compete in the popular event. Skyview is a secluded setting that doesn't border residential neighborhoods and is situated perfectly for the outdoor dog show. But this year, wild fires broke out on the Kenai Peninsula. The week of the show, Kenai Kennel Club show director, Sherrie Petty, got a call. Thursday morning just before they were going to start their set-up at Skyview for the show, informing her that they would have to relocate the show to Soldotna High School because Skyview was going to be used as a staging area for the fire fighters. "We hadn't started setting anything up yet, so we started a mass calling across the state to notify exhibitors of the location change. And then made calls to the vendors and the folks with the port-a-potties. But our club does its own set up, so it wasn't as traumatic as it could have been. We had great cooperation and help from local Soldotna businesses that put notices of location change on their reader boards and we took signs up to Skyview. So it actually went well, aided by the network of Blackberries and cell phones, no one got lost," said Petty.
The unseasonably warm, dry weather continued through the weekend which posed other challenges for show organizers. "The heat does effect the dogs, but we put up shade tents so the judges had the option of putting the exhibitors in the shade. This also made a dew-free area for the morning classes, but it was some of the most beautiful weather we've ever had," added Sherrie. The relocation did come as a surprise to the neighborhoods that surround SoHi, when suddenly a camper and tent city appeared at the High School. "A couple of people came over to find out what was going on, and of course there was no time to notify the neighborhood but no one was very upset. Some were concerned that the dogs would bark all night and keep them awake, but dogs sleep too and most folks were happy, many of which had never been to our dog show before. They brought their kids and families over, and really enjoyed watching the agility trials and conformation shows. They seemed to have a good time having the show right next to their backyards and it was fun for them," she said.
It was the 106th Dog Show presented by the Kenai Kennel Club, and taking the Best in Show this year was a Doberman Pincher named "Jayla" owned by Michelle Santana of the Foxfire Kennel in Portland, Oregon. The 107th KKC Show will be the three-day Agility Trials, to be held at the Kenai Little League field over the Labor Day weekend. "This show will also bring dogs and owners from all over the state, and has become a very popular spectator show. Agility is becoming very popular among youth. The kids absolutely love it, and locally a lot of kids are getting into agility training because it's something they do with their dog regardless of what breed it is. It's so fun for them to come to the show and see breeds that they never thought could do agility, like little Cocker Spaniels all the way up to Great Danes. It's true that all the dogs can do agility and all the owners can do agility also," says Petty. According to Sherrie, the AKC will be sanctioning agility shows for non-purebred dogs sometime in 2011 so that anyone can participate with their pet dog. To learn more about classes at the Kenai Kennel Club go to www.kenaikennelclub.com.
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