Tampa Juniors Clinic Ignites Interest in Junior Showmanship
Top-notch judges, professional handlers, experienced groomers, dog fanciers, accomplished junior handlers, American Kennel Club® staff and other dog-world experts joined forces in Tampa, Fla., to ignite and fuel a passion for AKC Junior Showmanship during a day-long clinic July 29.
The clinic, organized by Tampa Bay Kennel Club Board Member Sally Alford Manning, attracted 120 participants who were grouped according to experience levels. Presentations and classes were tailored to kids with no show ring experience as well as experienced junior handlers. Participants spent the day learning about everything from nail clipping basics to how to dress for success in the show ring.
“This clinic was awesome,” said Susan Owen, whose children participated in the clinic. “My daughter has been doing 4-H for one year, and she did not enjoy showmanship at all until she came to this clinic. “The judges were so gracious and helpful.”
AKC® Assistant Vice President of Special Services Mari-Beth O’Neill and AKC Conformation Field Representative Michael Sauve welcomed the juniors, which included many kids who are active 4-H participants. And AKC Canine Good Citizen® (CGC) Director Dr. Mary Burch made a presentation about the CGC program.
“The clinic was a way our AKC all-breed clubs help support 4-H in our communities,” said O’Neill. “It’s also a great vehicle for helping juniors who already participate in AKC conformation to learn from seasoned dog professionals, sharpen their showmanship skills and keep building upon their dog knowledge.”
Juniors participated in show classes, and judges named winners from each group. Molly Miller from Venice Fla., was named Best Junior Handler of the Clinic.
“My granddaughter was absolutely thrilled with her day with her Whippet. She e-mailed me Saturday night after she arrived home and thanked me for going with her and to tell me she bathed her dog with the shampoo (she received in her goody bag from the clinic) that night,” said Karla Brewer. “She is so enthused about dog showing now and met some very nice young people there as well.”
Clinic sponsors included the Tampa Bay Kennel Club, Warlick/Hall Engineering, Clearwater Kennel Club, Inverness Florida Kennel Club, Nancy Mulligan, and the South Florida Basset Hound Club.