4-H dog show held at fairgrounds



Although the Jackson County Fair doesn’t officially begin until Sunday, at least one 4-H competition already is in the books.

On Saturday, 10 4-H’ers had the privilege of being the first to compete at the fairgrounds in Brownstown since 2019 as the Waggin’ Pals 4-H Dog Club conducted the 4-H dog show.

Since April, club members have practiced once a week for the competition, which is split into three categories: Agility, showmanship and obedience.

Vivienne Siefker, 15, took home the award of top dog grand champion with her dog, Willowdean.

Willowdean and the Seymour girl also took home grand champion awards for obedience and showmanship. Lucy Mae, her other dog, helped Siefker earn the reserve grand champion award for obedience.

Josie Dotts, a sophomore at Bedford North Lawrence High School, swept the agility category by taking home the grand champion and reserve grand champion awards with her dogs, Izzy and Suki, respectively.

Reserve grand champion for showmanship went to Carly Baker, a recent graduate of Seymour High School, with her dog, Remi.

Since the dog show — and the rest of the fair — was canceled in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic, club leader Carol Newberry said they were excited to have a show this year.

“Everybody’s really, really happy to be back,” she said.

All 4-H dog club members are required to participate in obedience, she said. Members also are encouraged to compete in showmanship, and when they get enough experience, they can compete in agility.

The show always has been held a week before the fair to give time for the club to do its show and clear out. Dogs aren’t allowed on the fairgrounds during fair week.

To show off the efforts of the club members during the fair, a special demonstration was performed in 2019 to highlight the dogs’ obedience, agility and showmanship skills with routines set to music.

A similar show is for this year’s fair at 7:30 p.m. July 28 in Show Arena 1.

Saturday’s obedience and showmanship competitions were held in the industrial exhibit building on the fairgrounds, and the agility course was set up in Show Arena 2.

In the agility course, obstacles include tire jumps, bar jumps, a tunnel, a seesaw, an A-frame, a wooden dog walk, weave poles and a pause table, where dogs must sit for 5 seconds during the time on the course.

Dogs are judged by which one has the fastest time. Faults, such as dogs missing obstacles three times or not completing one at all, lead to penalties added to their times.

Candy McKing was a judge for the agility competition. She said it was her 40th year as a judge.

As for what obstacles are typically the most challenging, she said the weave poles and tunnel have a history of baffling competitors.

Dotts said agility is her favorite category because it’s more fun than the other two.

This was her fifth year competing at the dog show. She also shows goats at the fair.

For preparation, she said she simply practices the course repeatedly.

“I just do what I do at the show,” she said.

When asked if she will continue to compete at the dog show in the future, she said she does not have plans to quit any time soon.

Yretzi Ramirez-Contreras, a student at St. Ambrose Catholic School in Seymour, competed Saturday with her dog, Benji. She also said agility is her favorite category.

“It’s so much easier, and I can talk to him and guide him through it,” she said.

She said she plans on competing in the dog show for years.

Lauren Schepman, 13, also entered the dog show with her dog, Roxy.

To get ready, she said it’s important to make sure her dog is nice and calm.

Agility also is her favorite category because she said Roxy has a lot of fun and gets a lot of exercise.

“It’s just a lot of fun,” she said.

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