|2009 Junior Challenge Wrap-Up
by Florida Junior Challenge Coordinators Angela Pickett & Michael Sauve, AKC Executive Field Representative
Brooksville, Florida was the place to be for Juniors on January 10 & 11, 2009. This year’s Junior Challenge was a fresh, new and improved two-day event for Junior handlers. The Challenge was held in conjunction with the Tampa Bay Kennel Club & Inverness Florida Kennel Club dog shows during the Florida Classic Cluster. The event drew almost 100 Junior participants from around the country who came to learn and compete in Junior Showmanship. Florida all breed kennel clubs and specialty clubs sponsored the event with their generous donations.
The event began each day at 8:00 AM with the Junior Showmanship competition. Three former Junior Handlers who are now AKC judges divided the assignment each day. The judges for the classes were Cheslie Pickett, David Stout and Haley Whitcomb. Each open class winner was awarded a plane ticket to the AKC Invitational. The novice class winners and all other placement winners in the open and novice classes received gift cards for school supplies.
After the competition came to a close, the Juniors gathered to receive their complimentary barrel bags filled with lots of goodies that were donated by Pro Plan. There was an armband drawing for many donated items from vendors at the Florida Classic Cluster. Then the Juniors were off to a free lunch and a short break to get ready for the rest of the event.
The Juniors were divided by their dog’s group and were assigned to their ring for instruction. Professional handlers gave of their time to assist the Juniors each day with instruction and tips on how to present their specific breed of dog.
Next stop was a grooming seminar given by Master Groomer, Chris Palowsky of Oster. Chris gave a seminar with demonstrations on grooming different breeds of dogs in the different groups.
Each day closed with the Best Junior competition in the ring just prior to Group and Best In Show judging. The Best Junior Judging honors went to AKC Executive Field Representatives, Gina Weiser & Patty Jenner. Best Junior each day received two nights lodging and meals at the AKC Invitational.
The Juniors that participated in the event enjoyed the day spending time with their dogs while learning and competing with other Juniors from around the country. This educational event which promotes Juniors who will become the next generation of judges, professional handlers, owners and breeders was a great success.