In May 1949, the Mason City Kennel Club held its first licensed dog show for owners and competitors.
This weekend, Oct. 12 and 13, the group will mark that 70th anniversary at the North Iowa Events Center with a mix of all-breed dog shows, obedience trials and rally trials where dogs and their handlers navigate courses.
At the 2018 iteration of the event, Show Chairwoman Trudy Muhlstein said that the Mason City Kennel Club had representatives from 28 states plus Canada and that they expect similar variety for this year. Just with judges, Florida, Texas, Illinois, Wisconsin and Minnesota will all be represented.
Muhlstein, who showed championship-caliber dogs at events from 1994 through 2010, added that although things have changed since the halcyon days the kennel club still has a lot to offer.
"In the past, we used to have a thousand dogs and now we’re down to about 500, but we’re still happy that we get to put on a show."
She described the prepping process as a year-long one that requires lining up judges, ring stewards and getting the staging ground set. And then, as soon as it ends, it all starts over.
"To put on a show like this, it is a club. It’s multiple people that come together to put on a show," Muhlstein acknowledged. "All of us having been doing it together for many years."
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Though Mulhstein didn't have an exact count of how many dogs would be in attendance; there are open-class divisions for retrievers, dachshunds, boxers, Bullmastiffs, Doberman Pinschers, giant schnauzers and Great Danes, just to name a few.
Both days, the events get underway at 8:30 a.m. which Muhlstein said is the best time for spectators to show up.
As for the competitors, Muhlstein said that folks tend to be gracious even when they don't win a blue ribbon for the dog their representing.
"The dog world is very well-mannered."
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More information about the event can be found on the Mason City Kennel Club website under the events tab. There's a $2 fee for spectators at the event.