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BHS’ Edgecomb wins best junior dog handler in U.S.; Westminster next

  • Written by Shannon Michael Features Writer

Katelynn EdgecombBy school day, she’s Katelynn Edgecomb, just another sophomore walking the halls at Bothell High School and attending classes. Outside of school, she recently became the best junior dog show handler in the nation, winning the title on her first try at the 2013 American Kennel Club’s Eukanuba National Championship Dog Show held December 14-15 in Orlando, Florida.

Edgecomb, who lives in Snohomish, was one of 148 junior dog handlers between the ages of nine and 18 who competed in the national competition. She edged out Emma Echols of Watkinsville, Georgia, who was attempting a third consecutive win as national junior showmanship champion with her Yorkshire terrier. Mary Ann Alston of Maryland judged the 12 handlers who made it to the finalist round.

Before she could reach the finals, Edgecomb and her fellow junior handlers had to maintain a 3.0 grade point average in school and have at least five wins in open competitions.

Edgecomb got involved in dog showmanship when she was encouraged to join a 4-H club in Snohomish County about seven years ago even though she didn’t own a show dog. She used her 4-H leader’s bullmastiff to learn how to handle a dog in the showmanship ring, and she quickly started winning first place in junior novice competitions. She eventually transitioned to a show quality Australian shepherd in order to become more competitive in open class competitions.

And then three years ago a short, stout pug full of personality named Lara entered her life. Lara, whose full name is CH Luna’s Timeliss Lara Croft Of Cantu, and Edgecomb became a team.

"Our first time out we got best junior, and I knew it was a match made in heaven. She loves to show and we have fun together; she is a character!" Edgecomb wrote in an online interview she posted on a website set up to receive donations toward her travel expenses to show at the Crufts Dog Show.

Billed as the largest dog show in the world, the Crufts competition will be held in Birmingham, England March 6-9. Edgecomb’s victory in Orlando qualified her to show at Crufts.

Between now and the Crufts show, though, is America’s favorite and most famous dog show, the Westminster Kennel Club’s 138th annual Westminster Dog Show February 10-11 in New York City. Edgecomb and Lara’s victory at the Eukanuba National Championships also qualified them to participate at this prestigious dog show.

The Westminster show’s evening competition will be televised live on CNBC from 8-11 p.m. on Monday, and on USA from 8-11 p.m. on Tuesday. Should Edgecomb qualify for the junior showmanship finals, she would compete Tuesday evening.

Besides winning the title at the Eukanuba show and qualifying to compete at Westminster and Crufts, Edgecomb also was awarded a $2,000 college scholarship.

While practicing and participating in dog shows takes up most of her spare time, Edgecomb still makes time for two other activities in her life. She is very active as a 4-H member not only in Snohomish County, but also has taken on mentorship and leadership roles by becoming a teen leader and State 4-H Ambassador. At school she’s participated in choir for almost eight years because she loves to sing.

Edgecomb gives a lot of credit for her success to her mom, Dena Edgecomb, a single mother who has supported her daughter’s efforts every step of the way. Edgecomb’s mom has worked hard to save enough money for her daughter to travel to various dog shows around the country, but after winning the Eukanuba competition and suddenly being qualified to travel to New York City and England to compete makes covering the costs of travel a bit harder for her mom.

Thankfully, Edgecomb has friends and family who are helping to support her dream, and it was one of her friends who set up the website www.katelynntocrufts.com so fans and supporters could have an easy way to make a donation to cover travel expenses. Visitors to the website will also find a link to the video of the junior showmanship finals at the Eukanuba National Championship.

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Photo by Robert Young © AKC

Katelynn Edgecomb, a Bothell High School sophomore, recently won the best junior handler showmanship championship at the AKC Eukanuba National Championship held in Orlando, Florida in December. She is shown here with her pug, Lara. Next up for the pair is the Westminster Kennel Club show in New York City.

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