Yesterday a group of us left Jacksonville at 5 AM to spend the day at the AKC/Eukanuba Dog Show in Orlando. Eukanuba is one of the biggest dog shows in the country. There were the conformation shows you would expect, as well as obedience and agility trials. The demo ring introduced treibball, flyball, rally, nose work and a K9 drill team. Dock diving was going on behind the health and breeding seminars. AKC representatives offered free "dog show for beginners" tours. National breed clubs manned "Meet the Breed" booths. And there were more vendor booths than I have ever seen in all my dog shows combined! I came home excited, overwhelmed, inspired and a couple hundred dollars lighter. If you ever get the chance to experience the Eukanuba Dog Show -- DO IT!! Here are a few tips to help make it as enjoyable as possible.
- PLAN AHEAD. The judging program is posted online. I discovered that different groups show on different days. I like the herding and working groups, both of which showed on Sunday. I really wanted to see the German shepherds. They were on first, so I needed to be at ring 10 by 9 AM -- hence the predawn departure.
- Buy tickets online. There were multiple entrances into the building. I have no idea where the ticket office was and am glad we didn't have to look for it. Since I had bought my ticket online, the guy at the random door I walked through scanned me in, stamped my hand and sent me on my way. As luck would have it, the door was right next to ring 10!
- Leave your dog at home. Only dogs participating in the events are allowed on the premises. I suggest leaving small children, slow-moving friends and whiny husbands at home as well. (For clarification purposes: my husband was not whiny, but I saw many who were.)
- Wear comfortable shoes. I wish I had worn a pedometer because I'll bet we walked several miles, on hard concrete no less. My calves and knees are sore this morning.
- Choose your outfit carefully. Don't wear your chocolate-stained "Crazy Dog Lady" shirt, no matter how much you love it. You will run into all kinds of people you know. You will also get Facebook messages that say "Hey, I just saw you on the live feed." You have been warned.
- Grab the free show guide on the way in. The show site is huge and you'll want to be able to see what is happening where. The guide also lists the demo and seminar schedules.
- Unless you're in it, skip the catalog. They're $20!
- Pack a lunch and plan to picnic in the car. The food was cold, bad, and cost three times what it was worth. I spent $10 on the worst gyro ever. I could have used that money on a personalized crate tag. Also, pack water. 20 ounce bottles of water/soda were $3, and they only sold Pepsi products -- not acceptable for this Coca Cola girl.
- Print out a list of vendors before you go. There were over 80 vendors this year. Have an idea of what you really want beforehand (I wanted Isle of Dogs shampoo and a soft leather ring lead) and plan accordingly. And when the nice lady hands you a small bag of grooming products saying "That will be $68" DON'T look at your husband . . . just don't.
- Take a pen. You will pick up dozens of business cards. Make a quick note on the back before you forget who that person was or what caught your eye.
- Bring a backpack or large tote bag to haul all your goodies. Even if you are able to avoid the vendors (yeah right) there's lots of freebies given out.
- Take cash. Many vendors will offer a cash discount. Also, it's easier to stick to a budget if you avoid the plastic.
- Forget the camera. You can't take pictures ringside and there is so much going on that you'll forget you even have it.
- Hit up the "Meet the Breed" booths more than once so you can talk to the different people manning them. We met some awesome shepherd people.
Hope this helps! And I hope to see you there next year. -- K
P.S. Below are a couple pictures that dear Hubby took yesterday.
|This map helped a lot|
|AKC Representatives gave a free show tour|
|Free seminars were available|