Kennel association's annual dog show draws 1,000 canine entries
Floppy-eared Monty sprawled his rich mahogany coat across a dachshund-sized crate just inches from the temporary home of an Irish setter more than twice his size.
“He's retired,” said Kim Haupt, 57, of Cleveland of Monty. “But he's like most of the dogs around here — a little spoiled.”
The Western Pennsylvania Kennel Association's annual dog show drew more than 1,000 canine entries and hundreds of spectators to the Monroeville Convention Center on Saturday for best of breed and best of show honors.
Judges awarded Champion Woodsides Megabucks, a German shepherd owned by Kiki Courtelis, Joyce Wilkinson and Jodi and Jason Duin, best in show. Chinese shar-pei GCH Shine's Deck The Halls, owned by Debra and Robert Cooper; Linda Teitelbaum, and Rebecca Pentecost DVM, won reserve best in show.
Dawn Backos, 45, of Greensburg called the event a backyard show. The Backoses plan vacations around dog shows all over the country, often pleading with school administrators for time off for their daughters.
The girls show standard schnauzers for a family friend, and they're involved with cleaning, feeding and training. Her oldest, Alexandra, 16, apprentices with Angela Lloyd, the Westminster Kennel Club's 2011 Best in Show handler.
“In most sports, kids don't get a chance to meet the best in the field. My girls are being mentored by their idols, the same people they see on television,” Backos said. “My nephew plays hockey. He doesn't get to hang out every day with Mario Lemieux.”
Bundled in her mother's arms, 6-year-old Natalia Backos failed to advance in showing standard schnauzer, Promise, and was not taking her loss well.
“I know. You're disappointed, huh?” her mother said, teasing. “Baby, there's no crying in dog shows.”
Behind Backos, tufts of fur wafted across the stone tile floor where ordered chaos ruled grooming stations cordoned off by bright yellow tape. Genteel dogs jumped at the buzz of hair dryers while younger, spunkier pups sniffed and yelped at the close-quartered action.
Tucked along a wall, Brian Kurtis photographed the winners, tossing red rubber squeak toys and tennis balls to keep the canines in place long enough to catch a pose.
“It's an old sport with a lot of rules and a lot of manners,” said Amy Coglio, chairperson for the association's Meet the Breeds event. “You need mentors — experienced handlers, amateurs and children all learning and showing together. This isn't a sport you just pick up a book and study for.”
Haupt started with Irish setters as a little girl. Now she mentors her own apprentice, who bred her first litter this year.
The sense of community among dog owners, trainers, handlers and their families is overwhelming, she said. In her 35-plus years of showing dogs, Haupt said, she has attended baby showers, weddings and near-births during dog shows.
“It's its own society,” she said. “Life happens here.”
Megan Harris is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-388-5815 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Add Megan Harris to your Google+ circles.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- $4M floor project at Pittsburgh International Airport to replace drab gray, clickety-clack tile
- Vending business in new hands after pot-growing operation found in Lawrenceville
- Tax break considered for Strip District project
- Sri Shirdi Sai Baba Temple in Monroeville plans expansion
- Barred Mt. Oliver firefighter turns up in gear at blaze, spurs investigation
- Feds dispute ex-PA Cyber chief’s claims of illegal attorney-client recordings
- Nonprofit intends to restore West End Village tavern
- Judge limits evidence in legal battle over debt-burdened August Wilson Center
- Icy water, donations to fight ALS flow with social media’s help
- Newsmaker: Joseph McCamey
- Pittsburgh teen keeps family’s military tradition going