WIUM Tristates Public Radio

Dog Show in Macomb a Howling Success

Jul 26, 2016

The Burlington Kennel Club held its AKC Conformation Show in Macomb for the first time. And it might not be the last.

“It’s been a beautiful venue. They’ve just been so overwhelmingly helpful and cooperative,” said Christine O’Brien, Vice President of the Burlington Kennel Club and chair of the show.

“We’ve had so many compliments from the exhibitors saying, ‘This is a great show site, it’s beautiful, we’re planning on coming back next year.’”

She also said she was glad to see so many people from the community come out to watch the show.

The two day event was held in the Donald S. Spencer Student Recreation Center at Western Illinois University. O’Brien said in the past the show was held at the Des Moines County Fairgrounds and Southeastern Community College. But scheduling conflicts forced the club to look for a new location.

O’Brien said it’s important to provide a consistent site for a show because that allows exhibitors get accustomed to it. So she hopes wants to keep the show in Macomb as long as possible.

The student recreation center at WIU was converted into a show hall for dogs for the weekend.
Credit Rich Egger

She said 405 dogs were entered in this year’s show.  Some owners showed more than one pet. Several show arenas were set up in the building and there were also booths from which vendors sold dog-related products such as show dog supplies, jewelry, and treats. And this was just one of many shows held around the nation throughout the year.

Credit Rich Egger

“You can go to a show every single weekend if you want to, and some of the professional handlers are going to shows every single weekend. They’re traveling all across this country going to shows,” O’Brien said.

She said anyone who wants to get involved with exhibiting dogs should contact their local kennel club, which can help with tasks such as finding a reputable breeder. 

“You really want to start with a good mentor. You need somebody who’s going to run you through the ropes and say, ‘This is what you need to do. This is what you look for.’ You want a good show puppy versus a pet puppy,” O’Brien said.

Lynn Kullman of Cortland, IL, said she’s been showing dogs for around 20 years.  She does about two shows per month from March through September.

“Then my budget runs out after that,” she said with a laugh.

Lynn Kullman with Gatlin, a nine-year old Gordon Setter. “He’s like my four-legged child since my two boys are all grown up," Kullman said.
Credit Rich Egger

Kullman was showing a Gordon Setter named Gatlin.

“I take better care of his hair than I do my own. Instead of going to the beauty shop for me, I take him to the hair dresser, so to speak, and have him beautified,” she said.

Kullman said the sacrifices have paid off.  She said they made it to the nationals two years ago and Gatlin has shown twice at Westminster.

She said she enjoyed the weekend in Macomb and will be back if the show returns to WIU next year.