A Fairland girl and her mixed-breed dog won two of four sections Saturday at the county fair to capture top honors in the dog show.
“She likes me and we get along really well,” said Tara Crow of 4-year-old Chloe. “She listens to me and she always does her best.”
Crow, 13, and an eighth-grade student at Fairland Junior High School, received Chloe as a gift when the dog was a puppy and the pair have been competing together for about three years. Last year, they teamed up to win the showmanship championship at the county fair.
“Showmanship is about how well the handler shows the dog,” said Judge Anne Haggard of Baxter Springs, Kan. “Its about the presentation of the dog, the general care of the dog and about how the handler and the dog work together.”
Adding the obedience award, though, moved Crow and Chloe to the top at this year's Ottawa County Fair.
“Obedience is more of a measurement,” Haggard said. “The handler and dog have an exercise to do and if they don't do it correctly they lose points.”
Two other Ottawa County girls also won grand champion honors at the fair. Chelsea Evans, 13, of Fairland, and her dog Jarhead won the top prize in agility. Shawnee Smith, 15, of Commerce, with her dog Bear, won the top prize in rally obedience, a timed obedience event performed over a small course walked by handlers and their dogs. During the event, dogs must perform obedience tasks as commanded by their handlers at various stations.
The young dog handlers begin two hour a week 4-H sponsored classes in March in preparation for the county fair and the state fair, the latter held annually in Tulsa during the month of October.
“It takes more time when you start training, but now I train Chloe about 10 or 15 minutes every day,” Crow said.
It's a point Haggard agrees with.
“Once you get your training down, you just have to fine tune it,” she said. “That takes 15 to 20 minutes a day.”
Twenty-four young people participated in Saturday's dog show and seven members of the Ottawa County 4-H Dog Club are eligible to participate in the state fair, according to Deanna Steinbeck, the dog club's leader. Among those participating will be Anthony Cooper, an 18-year-old rural Wyandotte resident, and his border collie Ty. Cooper, who now helps instruct younger handlers in the Ottawa County 4-H program, will team up with Ty in the graduate division of the state fair. The pair is also eligible to compete in the Kansas State Fair.
“My dogs enjoy it and I enjoy working with them,” Cooper said. “Ty really gets a thrill on the agility course and she really does well at obedience.”