by Sue Goldberg
Saturday, September 5th marked the 80th show of the Somerset Hills
Kennel Club. Our theme was, “Remembering our Past; Preparing for
our Future”. In keeping with that theme, we held the first ever PeeWee
Class east of the Mississippi. It was a glorious day, sunny and warm
with cloudless blue skies. When I commented on the great weather to
our very capable Show Chair, Lisa Warren, she informed me it was
because this time, she “changed weather vendors!”
Our goal was to introduce youngsters ages 5 through 9 years old,
especially those new to AKC, to Junior Showmanship, giving them a
safe, positive experience that would hopefully entice them to continue
to participate and become more involved our sport. The PeeWee class
is neither a competition nor a handling class. I played the “Judge”, for
want of a better term, but there was no actual judging. With safety a
primary focus, only one PeeWee unit was in the ring at a time. Each
PeeWee unit consisted of the child, his or her parent or guardian, and
their dog. We welcomed purebreds, AKC registered or not, as well as
mixed breeds. The class was pre-entered and a nominal entry fee was
charged, merely as some assurance that the PeeWee would actually
show up! Lisa, a huge supporter of this endeavor, received the preentries.
The more experienced Juniors who were entered in the Master Class
were asked to volunteer to act as a “buddy” to each PeeWee, both
before and after the class. Dawn Clerico, 4-H leader and AKC
exhibitor, Tina Pirro, another 4-H leader, as well as club member Lee
Matyola were outside the ring assisting the Peewees. Marjorie Tuff, a
longtime Juniors advocate, did a great job as the in-ring steward.
“Buddies” Rebecca Flood; Salena McCloud; Renee McGlone; Wendy
Perry, a former Junior and now Juniors judge; Faith, Emma and
Sophia Rogers were a big help encouraging and assisting their


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With thanks to Director Rob Brigham, Somerset Hills Kennel Club is getting very good press!  Follow the link to view the article that Rob wrote that appears in  “AKCommunicates Weekly”.