Doggone good time!
St. Paul Rodeo grounds bustled with activity on two legs and four between July 28 and Aug. 1, when the Rose City Classic Series of Dog Shows 2021 lured thousands to the area.
The annual event has been taking place for the better part of seven decades, but this was the first time it was held outside the Portland Metropolitan Exposition Center since its 1948 inception. Like most crowd-drawing events, it had a 2020 hiatus due to pandemic restrictions.
"We've held our show at the Portland Expo since the late 1940s, so, yes, this is first time it has been held anywhere else," said Patti Strand, spokeswoman for the Classic. "When outdoor events were approved, we jumped at the chance."
Strand estimated that dog trainers and their charges rolled in from at least 15 different states. The grounds were thick with travel campers, vendors and various show accoutrements. Open tent tarps provided cover from the direct sun while portable fans and misters were numerous.
The event hit its crescendo on Saturday, July 31, when roughly 1,200 dogs took part in the wide variety of competitions.
While the open outdoor venue alleviated concerns of the event becoming a pandemic super-spreader, the late-July heatwave pushing temperatures toward triple digits created other concerns.
"The heat is a special concern for people and their dogs," Strand said. "The exhibitors are keenly aware of the stress on the dogs, and have portable fans, cases of water and chests of ice. The rodeo management has been absolutely fabulous in helping us solve problems as they come up."
Other cooling features near the obstacle course included kiddie pools fashioned into dog ponds and a versatile hose that splash or mist as needed or desired.
The American Kennel Club-sanctioned event resembled an outdoor version of touted events such as the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show or the popular comedy movie "Best in Show" (although none of the show participants appeared to have two left feet).
The show's main event is the judging of individual dogs.
"They are evaluated for temperament, structure, movement and how well they conform to their ideal standard for their breed," Strand said. "In addition to conformation, we also offer agility and obedience trials."
Competing well was a bonus, but canine enthusiasts seemed grateful just to have the opportunity to mingle and mix it up again.
"Despite the heat dome earlier this year, the current temperatures, the forest fires downstate and the new COVID variants, we appreciate the opportunity to enjoy our sport and the company of our fellow dog enthusiasts for the first time in over a year," Strand said. "The St. Paul Rodeo personnel have been fabulous.
"Even the Portland food carts have been a popular feature, she added.
For information about the Rose City Classic Series of Dog Shows, visit rosecityclassic.org.
To view photos of the event, visit the Woodburn Independent Facebook page.
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