PERRY -- Its difficult to imagine Warner Robins resident Terry Pendergraff getting better value for a family outing.
At the free Middle Georgia Kennel Club Dog show at the Georgia National Fairgrounds and Agricenter, Pendergraff, his wife Sue, and their 3-year-old daughter Maddy, got see more than 100 dogs compete not only in show categories, but also in various competitions as well.
We mainly wanted to let (Maddy) see all of the different kinds of dogs, Pendergraff said. We just love dogs in general. I prefer the big dogs, and they like the little ones.
Sharon Yates, the chairwoman of the Middle Georgia Kennel Club dog shows, said the events usually draw between 600 and 1,000 people from all across the country. The event, which continues Monday from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., is one of the few shows in the region that lets dogs compete in show and racing events.
The (United Kennel Club) doesnt have that many shows in the southeast, she said. I think we have one of the nicest, friendliest shows each year.
Thats one of the reasons why so many people from Missouri, Washington, North Carolina, Florida and other states are so willing to come to Perry for UKC events.
People are so friendly, said Michelle Baker of Barnesville, who brought her 1-year-old Black Russian Terrier named Moran. If you need help, you just ask. People will come up to you and say, Can you handle my dog for me?
Baker said people will often ask to borrow a leash or food or whatever else they need at the moment.
Kim Floyd of Tampa, Fla., said thats what brings her back to Perry so often.
Theres a camaraderie between the competitors, especially in the UKC, she said. Everyone is very helpful and very friendly. You see folks (in Perry) you dont see in Florida very often. Its like a family reunion. This is one of the better shows, especially with the amount of events they have.
Perhaps no one was more appreciative of the amount of events than Balynda Brown of Raleigh, N.C., whose 3-year-old rat terrier, Sailor, racked up the awards Sunday afternoon -- not too surprising because hes ranked No. 1 in the nation in his breed for confirmation and racing categories.
Hes best in show and the best race, Brown said. Hes the total dog. ... Hes won everything you could possibly win.
Brown, who owns a total of nine dogs -- all of whom sleep with her in a king-size bed, she says -- likes UKC events because they emphasize the total dog. While UKC offers confirmation events -- that is, judging a dog based upon how well it meets the standard of its breed -- it also holds various racing competitions, including racing, steeplechase and den dog events.
Races among terriers take place when the dogs are put into a 200-foot course and chase a mechanical lure. The first terrier that goes through a hole in the wall at the end of the course is the winner. Steeplechase is similar to that, except that the dogs must also clear hurdles, while a den dog event has the dogs racing through tunnels.
Its nice to see a dog do what its bred for, and not just look pretty, Brown said.
This weekends show also featured several breeds of dogs that arent very common even on the show circuit. The event included xoloitzcuinlis, berger picards, lagattos, Catahoula leopard dogs and a blue tick coonhound in addition to more traditional breeds.
Brown said since UKC events dont award prize money, competitors do it for pride and love of the competitions.
You do it because you love it, said Brown, who estimates she spends roughly $500 per weekend every time she goes to an event.
It could be, definitely, an expensive hobby. ... I love this show. This is the first time ever weve won it.
To contact writer Phillip Ramati, call 744-4334.