Fairs & Festivals

Showmanship, obedience, agility required at dog show at the Manatee County Fair

PALMETT0 -- Nothing -- not even a sick dog -- could stand in the way of 7-year-old Josie Stoddard participating in Monday's Dog Show at the 2015 Manatee County Fair.

While Josie was not able to show her bulldog mix Gauge, she borrowed Bella, the show's co-organization leader's dog.

Josie, who participated in the show for the first time last year, said her favorite part is "the agility and being with my friends when I do it."

Bella was one of nine dogs shown in Monday's Dog Show, which has been organized by the K-9 Kids 4-H Club of Manatee County for at least 15 years, according to Patty Martin, the show's co-organization leader. This is the first year the show was held on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day. It is usually held on the first Sunday of the fair but was moved to Monday to keep the Medallion Home Main Stage, Martin said.

The show is divided into three categories -- showmanship, obedience and agility -- and the participants are awarded in several categories including Best of Show.

Monday was 12-year-old Ava Small's sixth dog show with her 3-year-old shetland sheep dog Carmine. Ava, which has been participating in dog shows for three years, won first place in the intermediate division for showmanship and second place in Best in Show at last year's state fair.

"I like spending time with my dog and meeting new people," Ava said.

On Monday, Carmine beat out Melissa Katzenberger's dog Bullet for Advanced Showmanship in the intermediate age group. "It's really good," Ava said after winning first place in the showmanship category. "I like it. Carmine did most of the work."

Bradenton resident Judrun Bennett was at the Manatee County Fair for the first time and came to watch the dog show with her husband.

"The dogs when they go through their paces are really impressive if they do them well," said Bennett, whose daughter participates in agility trails. "It is nice to see (the kids) learn how to do this."

Claire Aronson, University Parkway/Sarasota reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7024 or at caronson@bradenton.com. Follow her on Twitter @Claire_Aronson.