The annual Thanksgiving Classic Cluster, held in late November in West Springfield, Massachusetts, is hosted by the Holyoke Kennel Club, South Windsor Kennel Club, Windham County Kennel Club and Springfield Kennel Club. In addition to their impeccably run dog shows, they also offer two very special events, the Northeast Junior Handler of the Year competition and the William J. Trainor Award presentation.
The clubs shared some great shots from both events with us. The Northeast Junior Handler of the Year competition took place during the Windham County Kennel Club Show on Saturday, November 23, 2013. The Cluster takes supporting junior handlers very seriously and tries to provide them with as many resources as possible, including this special competition that awards scholarship funds.
The cluster also awarded the William J. Trainor Award for 2013. The award honors an individual that has made some “meritorious service to the dog world signifying the ideals manifested by William J. Trainor.” Trainor was a professional handler for more than 40 years who exhibited primarily in the Northeast, becoming a beloved figure to dog fanciers in the area. He was a complete professional, good sportsman and mentor to many. After Trainor passed away in 1998, the clubs created the award.
This year's recipient was Barbara Ohmann, AKC's Director of Club Education. Barb's smiling face can be found at the AKC booth, which travels the country to various dog shows and events. She answers an untold number of questions each weekend and serves as a great "face" of the AKC.