By Jeff Edelstein
Before we get to all the woof and bark details of the 82nd annual Trenton Kennel Club All Breed Dog Show at Mercer County Park this Sunday, we should take a moment to look back at last year’s event, won by a bearded collie.
And here’s that look back: Whoosh! Crash! Holy crap!
“Every tent blew down last year,” said Donna Lonabaugh, the chairwoman of the event for the 22nd straight year. “It was like … you have no idea. Awful.”
The tents blew down on Saturday, the day before the event, and the decision was made to re-tent for the show.
“Big mistake,” Lonabaugh admitted. “There were tent poles flying all over the place, and several people were hurt with tent poles hitting them in various parts of their bodies.”
And while this may sound like something out of “Best in Show,” that movie that lampooned the dog show world, it wasn’t. It was very real, and serious, and … well gosh, it is kind of funny. Dog show people being attacked by flying tent poles. (Note to Christopher Guest: Feel free to swipe this scene if there’s ever a sequel. And for the love of all things holy, bring back Parker Posey. She’s still my ultimate nerd crush. Anyway …)
Anyway, this year’s show has a new wrinkle, wind permitting: A second show. That’s right, in addition to the main event Sunday, where 2,833 dogs will compete, there will be a second all breed show on Monday, with 913 dogs signed up. And let’s not forget today features various smaller single breed shows. (Nothing doing tomorrow, when winds are expected to be coming out of the west at 7 to 10 mph. In other words: No shins will be injured by collapsing tent poles, thank Dog.)
And while this is the 82nd straight year for the dog show, it also happens to the 100th year anniversary of The Trenton Kennel Club. And boy, has the dog world changed a lot since 1911.
“You don’t have to be from aristocracy and you don’t have to have family wealth behind you,” said Lonabaugh. “Dog shows, today, are open to everybody.”
Yep. Back in the day, you had to be a rich twit to be a dog show person. Today, you don’t need to be rich or a twit to enjoy the spectacle.
“If you have a purebred dog and would like to show it, you show it,” said Lonabaugh.
Simple as that.
And so people from all over the nation — and even people from Canada, Mexico and Europe — have descended on Mercer County Park for the events, and tens of thousands of dog lovers are expected to stop by and witness the goings-on.
And in addition to the show, there will also be dog-centric wares being sold, and plenty of like-minded people around to discuss all things dog.
I’ll be stopping by, and you’ll be able to find me easy enough. I’ll be the guy with the 2-year-old in my arms who will be pointing and shouting “PUPPY!” for a few hours straight.