Dog Show Deja Vu
By Jess Pearson
Eight months ago, our sport suddenly came to screeching a halt. With the cancellation of shows everywhere, including the Louisville Cluster mid weekend, exhibitors wondered what would happen next. Handlers, breeders, exhibitors, and vendors tore down set ups to begin the journey home as many were suddenly not only without shows, but without jobs.
Handlers made the most of their livelihood including providing educational videos, obtaining new jobs such as Amazon and even companies like Color Street. Vendors began selling their products online and participating in video promotions. Whatever they had to do, they made it work.
In June, everyone celebrated with the resume of dog shows, beginning with the Learning Cluster. Since then, shows had resumed almost every weekend, with some weekends having multiple shows. All was well with the safe execution and exhibition of shows.
All was well, until October. With the rise in cases across the country, clubs had to follow new local and state guidelines, with many cancellations across the country. It was déjà vu, as many were in disbelief that this was happening for a second time in an already difficult year, and showing that 2021 was going to follow suit.
All eyes are on Perry and Orlando, as exhibitors begin their journey to the southeastern part of the country. Regardless of lesser restrictions by those states, AKC and local clubs are doing their best to implement safety guidelines.
The AKC Royal Canin National Championship will be different this year and will not allow spectators into the show. In addition, they have implemented other safety measures such as mandatory mask wearing, daily temperature checks, and no seating. More information can be found here: 2020 AKC National Championship presented by Royal Canin | Facebook
Brooksville, FL in January 2021 is still on at the moment, but anything can happen at any given time. This cluster has been a favorite of many. While there is no entry limit, the club is doing their best to ensure health and safety of all exhibitors.
Whether deciding to stay home or venturing out to shows, we have seen both sides to this sport. As we approach the end of the year, remember to be kind and supportive of all exhibitors’ decisions and never lose sight of what this is all about: the dogs.