|Fancier Fever Spreads at AKC Educational Match
Nearly a hundred new purebred dog owners came with their AKC-registered dogs to the N.C. State Fairgrounds in Raleigh one Saturday in late February and caught AKC fever. The AKC, with the help of 13 local kennel clubs, put on a B match and educational extravaganza by treating potential fanciers to one-on-one mentoring, presentations on basic handling and grooming and Agility, Obedience and Rally demonstrations.
“The match was a success because of the enthusiasm of AKC staff who assisted with the match, particularly effective were the animated and knowledgeable presentations. These presentations showed new exhibitors the basics of dog events, handling and grooming. These presentations and the companion event demonstrations created excitement for new exhibitors,” said Robin Stansell, match chair and AKC Event Operations vice president. “AKC staff’s passion and excitement about our sport was contagious.”
“We held this match to attract new exhibitors to dog shows, events and the AKC,” Stansell explained. “Most of us who are in dogs learned how to exhibit at matches, which were commonplace when there were fewer dog shows. Now matches are usually held in the evening after a dog show. If you’re a potential newcomer to the sport and don’t know about the show, then you certainly wouldn’t know about the match.”
The AKC e-mailed invitations to this match to the owners of 2,700 newly AKC-registered dogs within a 100-mile radius of Raleigh who had not previously exhibited in any AKC event. Ninety-eight new exhibitors attended the match and subsequently accounted for an additional 149 entries in the Tarheel Cluster shows, which were held the following month.
A Sanctioned Match is an informal event at which neither Championship points nor credits toward an Agility, Rally, or Obedience Title are awarded. They are events at which dog clubs, judges, stewards, and exhibitors and their dogs gain experience needed for licensed events.
The AKC hopes the Raleigh AKC Educational Match and a second match to be held this summer in the New York area will serve as a blueprint for clubs across the country to join together to replicate in efforts to attract newcomers in their communities to the rewarding sport of purebred dogs.