Thrill of competition, beauty of dogs transform fairgrounds
By ELISE McKEOWN SKOLNICK
The grassy areas of the fairgrounds were covered with motor homes of various sizes and shapes, just as they are at fair time.
The difference this time? Every one of them sported a dog enclosure.
People come from as far away as Puerto Rico and Mexico to enter the annual Steel Valley Cluster Dog Show, said Gael Damron, coordinator of the event.
More than 400 of the exhibitors chose to camp on the grounds for the four-day event, she added.
“We have a lot of people that make it an event,” she said.
Dorene White of Columbiana has participated in the Steel Valley show for several years. She camps on the grounds for the entire event.
“It’s like having your own compound here. Everybody’s friends, and we all have a good time,” she said. “We all get together and have dinner together at night, all the pointer people, and sit around and chat. Nice evenings.”
The show itself is a lot of work but fun, she said. This year, she brought her 14-month-old pointer, London.
Between 2,200 and 3,200 dogs are entered in various events each day. There are 162 breeds of dogs represented.
Mary Beidelschies of Canfield and Tiffany Leonard of North Jackson brought their children to see the many varieties of dogs.
“We both have lots of dogs and animals. [The show’s] great. We come every year,” Beidelschies said.
Beidelschies said she and her 6-year-old son, Landon, are partial to the German shorthaired pointers because that’s the type of dogs they own.
“But we like to watch all of them, all the different breeds,” she said.
Leonard said she attends the show each year because she likes dogs.
“I just like the dogs. I’ve always had dogs, my whole life,” she said. “When I was little my parents showed dogs, but I show horses and that takes up all my time.”
Showing dogs is just one option offered to exhibitors. They can attend seminars, have their dogs microchipped or take the animals to a heart or eye clinic. Dogs can be certified as therapy dogs.
Vendors offer a variety of items, including food, treats, crates, toys, T-shirts, jewelry and more to spectators and exhibitors.
Other activities included a scavenger hunt.
“This is wonderful,” said Karen Groth of Cleveland. “We’ve had a great time. The scavenger hunt was a blast last night. We had a really good time with that.”
This was the first time she and her husband, Dan Groth, participated as exhibitors in the Steel Valley event.
They brought their shiba inu dogs, Yuengling and Sheena.
While at the event, Sheena earned the canine-good-citizen certification, qualifying her to be a therapy dog.
The dog show concludes today. It begins at 8 a.m.