by Shannon Michael
As the dogs trotted into the ring and strutted their stuff for the evening’s premiere event at the 138th Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show last week, it quickly became evident the Northshore area was unusually well represented.
First, it began with the co-host for the annually live televised event from Madison Square Garden in New York City for the past 24 years, David Frei, who is a former resident of Woodinville.
Frei has been the friendly voice heard as each dog is presented to the judge, often delivering additional facts about the dog, its breed, and its handler after the ring announcer finishes describing the breed to the audience in the Garden.
So, it was his commentary as the evening’s Best in Show competition was underway that suddenly provided the spotlight on our small region of the country.
Making it to the final competition were seven dogs from seven categories: Best Hound – Bloodhound; Best Toy – Miniature Pinscher; Best Non-Sporting – Standard Poodle; Best Herding – Cardigan Welsh Corgi; Best Sporting – Irish Water Spaniel; Best Working – Portuguese Water Dog; and Best Terrier – Wire Fox Terrier.
Woodinville resident Tim Brazier was handling the Standard Poodle, "GCH Brighton Lakeridge Encore," nicknamed Ally. Brazier skillfully led Ally to the 2014 Reserve Best in Show Award, just getting bested by Sky, the Wire Fox Terrier, whose official name is "GCH Afterall Painting the Sky." It was Renton-bred Ally’s final performance before going into retirement.
The other dog with a Northshore connection was the Irish Water Spaniel "GCH Whistlestop’s Riley On Fire." Known as Riley, the dog’s owners Tom & Bethany Urban and Gregory M. Siner are from Issaquah. Bothell-based Academy of Canine Behavior owners Colleen and Jack McDaniel along with their handling class instructor Stacy Duncan were the breeders for Riley.
Also of note was Bothell High School sophomore Katelynn Edgecomb, who earned a spot in the junior showmanship competition at Westminster when she won the national junior handler championship at a dog show in December in Florida.
In this competition, Edgecomb and her fellow young competitors were judged solely on their handling skills independent of the traits of the dog. The junior competition has been offered since 1934 at the annual dog show and is viewed as the future of the sport. Three winners have come from the state of Washington previously.
This year, Edgecomb was one of 92 junior handlers who competed.
While she and her pug, Lara, did not make the cut for the finalist round of competition, Edgecomb wrote by email that she was appreciative of the experience she had at her first time at Westminster.