Another top 'banana' in the fluffy family: Affenpinscher follow father's footsteps, wins dog show
When your name is “Ben There, Done That,” people expect a lot of you.
Ben started living up to those expectations as well as his famous father, “Banana Joe,” on Sunday, when the 3-year-old Affenpinscher won “Best In Show” on Sunday at the Western Pennsylvania Kennel Association's dog show at the Monroeville Convention Center.
“This is his first (Best in Show). It means a lot,” said Ernesto Lara, 50, handler and caretaker for the tiny, terrier-like dog with fluffy black fur. Lara had been the handler for Ben's father, who won Best in Show at the prestigious Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in New York in February 2013.
Though Ben — whose full name is Yarrow's Hi-Tech Ben There Done That — lives with Lara in Bowmansville in Lancaster County, and travels with him to dog shows all over the East Coast, he is owned by Dr. and Mrs. William Truesdale and Letisha Wubbell of Massachusetts, Lara said.
The affable Affenpinscher took Best in Show on the second day of the dog show, which basically squeezes two separate dog shows, with the same judges and mostly the same 1,000 competitors, into a single weekend at the convention center, said Amy Coglio, chairperson for the association's Meet the Breeds event. Judges get assigned to different breeds and groups for the second day to give the categories a fresh pair of eyes. There were 948 dogs entered in the show, according to a program guide.
The reserve best in show, a runner-up, was McVan's To Russia With Love, a Scottish Terrier owned by Marina Khenkina.
The event brings about $250,000 to $300,000 in business to area hotels, vendors and restaurants, said Western Pennsylvania Kennel Association President Thomas Oelschlager. Other vendors at the convention center traveled to shows throughout the region, including Donna Giles of Cobalt Design Jewelry, who makes and sells jewelry for pets and people.
“I've been doing this show a couple of years... It's a nice location, a nice show, and a lot of people getting out on a nice, warm day,” said Giles, 41, of Shelby, Mich., outside of Detroit. “This all stemmed from a gentleman who saw a bracelet he liked and wanted it made a little longer to fit his Chihuahua.”
Frank Bratt, 72, of La Grange, Ill., was less optimistic, saying sales at his booth of T-shirts, decorative plates and stickers weren't strong because people weren't spending as much in the current economy.
Joe Vasalani, 52, brought his Labrador retriever, Mardi Gras, from a group of 11 Labradors he owns in Robinson. The dog won best in breed Sunday to advance to the “Sporting Group” category. But she was too energetic during the judging and was too plain compared to the others in the group to advance, he said.
“Labradors don't win a lot; Labradors aren't that flashy,” Vasalani said. “Just winning the breed is a good day for a Labrador. She's learning, and I'm learning.”
Matthew Santoni is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-380-5625 or email@example.com.
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