Junior Showmanship SCOA National Specialty 2023
Junior Handling, Junior Showmanship, just like any sport, activity, or hobby that kids are interested in exploring, takes a village, and in this case, a Dog Club. Luckily, it’s time and money well spent, as the benefits far outweigh the costs (but don’t actually do the math, you’ll immediately go into shock). The Juniors that do the work to get to the show ring are developing priceless skills that carry over into every aspect of their lives. These young apprentices actively use patience, kindness, sportsmanship, time management, social skills, and cues, to navigate a high-pressure sport run by adults. They win and lose with grace and restraint. They are leading by example.
In Weirton, WV at the 2023 SCOA National Specialty, we had two Junior Handler entries: Ms. Kylie West (Master Junior) and Mr. Bryson Dodge (Novice Junior). Both Juniors were actively involved with many aspects of the show week, handling their dogs in hunt tests, the obedience and rally ring, and the show ring. Juniors handled dogs in the Best of Breed ring alongside their adult competitors. They could both be seen helping wherever they were needed: grooming and showing other exhibitors’ dogs, helping the ring stewards, and assisting at the health tent, all with a friendly smile. Both seemed happy to be amongst fellow Spinoni enthusiasts and enjoyed the week of activities.
Kylie West won Best Junior Handler at the National Specialty under Judge Mrs. Erica Cross and at the Parent Club Specialty under Judge Mr. John Brading. Bryson Dodge was Reserve Best Junior Handler both days. Kylie was the epitome of what a junior handler should be, exhibiting her dog flawlessly and exuding sportsmanship. Bryson showed his young dog well and gained ring experience and valuable advice from both judges. He worked hard all week long, putting together each name badge holder, filling welcome bags, and helping at the Veteran’s Parade, and the live auction. Both Juniors were right in the thick of things all week, and their help was sincerely appreciated.
The ribbons and ring prizes for the Juniors were lovely and greatly appreciated. Thanks so much to Maddie Cobban for making the Juniors feel so loved.
The investment of time, education, and mentoring we as SCOA members put into these Junior Handlers specifically interested in our beloved Spinoni must be pushed to the active forefront of our Club’s efforts. Their presence and their hands-on education at our National Specialty are so very important to the preservation of our breed.