MARINE CORPS AIR STATION BEAUFORT, SC -- If you drove past the driving range last weekend, you would not have seen any Devil Dogs practicing their long game. Instead, dogs of the four-legged variety were strutting their stuff for the Beaufort Kennel Club Dog Show held Saturday and Sunday.
The dog show, which has not been held aboard the Air Station since Sept. 11, 2001 was dedicated to freedom and to those who once served or are currently serving in the military, according to Nancy Pickering, the president of the Beaufort Kennel Club.
The dog show was considered a conformation show, where the dogs are judged according to standards set for each breed by the American Kennel Club, according to Melissa Poage, the show chairman.
“In theory, they are competing against the breed standard, not each other,” Poage said.
A total of 625 dogs competed Saturday, and 590 dogs competed Sunday, according to Sandra Lidster, the assistant show chairman.
Dogs who take first in a category earn points that go towards the title of champion from the AKC. To become a champion, a dog needs to earn 15 points, and the number of points a dog can receive is determined by the number of dogs it competed against, according to Lidster.
The BKC dog show was set up so that it was technically a different dog show on each day, allowing dogs to effectively double the amount of points they could receive.
“You could show the same dog to two different judges on two different days in the hopes that your dog is the best on that day,” said Pickering.
“The more wins an already championship dog has, the more prestige for the owner,” Pickering said. “You are out to be the best and closest to each breed’s standard.”
First, the dogs were judged in the best-in-class round. If the dogs won there, they advanced to the breed, group and finally the best-in-show round, according to Poage.
The winner in each category was given a colored ribbon. A blue ribbon is given to any dog who places first in any regular breed or class. A red, yellow or white ribbon is given for second, third and fourth place respectively. The most coveted ribbon is the red, white and blue ribbon given to the dog considered to be the best in show.
Deco’s Look No More, a Japanese chin, won best of show on Saturday, and Jadee Poetry for a Lady, a wire-haired fox terrier, won on Sunday.
The dog show provided a chance for the community to learn about raising dogs. An educational booth was set up so spectators could learn about taking care of pets and deciding what kind of dog might suit them.
The dog show required months of planning and coordination with the Air Station.
“They were compliant with all the requests that we had,” said Gunnery Sgt. Randy Walz, an accident investigator at the Provost Marshal’s office and one of the Marines responsible for coordinating with the BKC. “They were actually very good, and we didn’t have any problems at all.”
For their part, the BKC appreciated the accommodations that the Air Station made.
“The Marines and MP’s have helped tremendously,” said Pickering.
“It was a mutually beneficial situation for which we are very appreciative,” said Pickering with a smile, “even if the Marines like bulldogs more than any other dogs.”