There are four dog shows in mid-March that make up the Kentuckiana Cluster. It is one of those weekends to look forward to all year. There is just so much going on. The Expo Center in Louisville is filled with big rings and plenty of vendors. There are specialties and supported entries so you get to see many great examples of many breeds.
Total entries were over 3500 this year, down from the all-time high but not bad considering the economy sucks and there are too many dog shows to choose from.
You need a motorized cart or luggage on wheels to tote the catalog. It’s the size and weight of the Manhattan white pages. As a Whippet breeder, I was pleased to watch the entry of 50 from all over the country. My breed is in good shape. The winning Whippet, Ch. Bo-Bett’s Speed Demon, won the Hound Group on two of the four days.
Brussels Griffons have their National Specialty in Louisville every year. There is always a huge crowd around the Griff ring as people from all over the world want a look at over 100 of America’s best Brussels Griffons.
This year, it was our turn to triumph. My dog, Vanyatta, won Winners Dog on two days in a row! This finished his championship, beating the best competition in the country. He was shown by professional handler Paul Catterson, an expert with Brussels Griffons, best known for handling the magnificent smooth Griff, Lincoln, to win the Toy Group at Westminster. The team also won the Toy Group here in Louisville three years ago.
The Kentucky Expo Center is large — the airport could land 20 Boeing 747s and park them head-to-tail. It’s so large that my feet felt like they’d been pounded with mallets.
So, I lined up with other people at the “Big Shoes” booth. The motto plastered on their sign read, “The most comfortable shoes in the world!” They forgot to add, “The ugliest shoes in the world!” Those brown clogs with the thick soles felt like heaven. My gorgeous boots went in the car and the rest of the weekend I clunked around in the ugly ones.
At Kentuckiana, there is only one thing you should eat, the pork barbecue sandwiches from the stand behind the back door. This is the only place in the dog show world where it is truly worthwhile to wait in a line 30 people long. It’s that good.
Don’t worry about calories; you burn them off walking to the other end of the building where you get fabulous ice cream cones.
At my hotel, the morning coffee was free but undrinkable, so I had the privilege of paying $2 for a cup of coffee at the food stand. When I asked for a large cappuccino, the guy at the food stand gave me a steely smile. “We don’t drink cappuccino in Kentucky,” he said firmly.
All but a few exhibitors had started home by the time Best in Show came around on Sunday. Many had come from far away, from both coasts and Florida and Texas, to be here.