BY KENDRA EVENSEN
BLACKFOOT â€” Dog handlers from around the nation are heading to East Idaho this week to participate in the Blackfoot Dog Show Cluster.
The annual event, organized by the Pocatello and Eagle Rock kennel clubs, is part of a series of dog shows taking place in Idaho and Montana. It will be held at the Eastern Idaho State Fairgrounds in Blackfoot, starting on Thursday and continuing through Sunday.
â€śItâ€™s a chance to see some really nice specimens of a particular breed,â€ť said Cathy Hjelm, show chairman for the Eagle Rock Kennel Club, adding that itâ€™s also a fun event for families to attend.
The dog show will begin at 8 a.m. each day, and will continue until about 4 p.m., Hjelm said.
There is no admission cost for spectators. Hjelm anticipates more than 1,100 professional handlers and their canine companions will participate in the daily competitions.
â€śSome of the top dogs in the country and even worldwide are going to be there,â€ť she said.
The dog show features a variety of competitions, including conformation â€” basically a beauty contest for dogs, Hjelm said.
There will also be agility competitions that require dogs to complete a timed obstacle course, and there will be obedience and rally challenges, too.
Hjelm said the event also offers families a chance to see some rare breeds up close, and to ask their handlers about pros and cons if they are thinking of adopting a particular type of dog. â€śThe people are very knowledgeable about the breeds,â€ť she said.
Fred Hughs, show chairman for the Pocatello Kennel Club, said the show offers something for everyone. Personally, he enjoys watching the associations between the dogs and their handlers as they participate in the competitions.
â€śI love to go watch the agility; itâ€™s astounding to watch what people have done with their dogs,â€ť he said. â€śAnd you would be amazed to see some of the dogs in conformation.â€ť
Hughs is looking forward to the annual event, and the chance to exhibit his Basenji â€” a barkless African breed â€” named Jimi, who will be shown by another handler. And he thinks the local community will enjoy the event, too.
â€śItâ€™s a golden opportunity to see a wonderful dog show,â€ť he said.