What was the best part about mid-August?
Well, there’s were still two weeks of summer left, and the East St. Paul Arena hosted the Manitoba Canine Association’s annual dog show, as it does every year.
This show is a big deal in the dog fancier’s world with about 400 dogs attending over the course of four days. Competitors came from all over Canada and the US. I personally saw license plates from Saskatchewan, Ontario and New Brunswick but also learned that judges had come from as far away as Australia and New Zealand.
It’s a big deal for our arena, too. For those who drove to the show, there was camping on the east side of the building and there were plenty of campers and RVs that paid $80 to $100 per ‘site’ to stay there. Those closest to the arena were afforded power hookups for an additional $50.
The arena ice surface area looked like a huge beauty salon with groomers, handlers and owners at stations primping their dogs.
Along the perimeter of the boards there were exhibitors hawking "I love my dog" license plates, dog jewelry, food, grooming equipment, you name it.
The field south of the building had several crisp, white tents erected for judges, competitors, and scorekeepers. Here, too, were several exhibitors.
On the last day, as people were packing up, I had hoped to see Wally the Rottweiler from Ottawa but, alas, I was too late arriving.
I did, however, get to meet Stone, the black standard poodle. He was perched on his grooming table when I stopped to speak with his owner, Leanne MacIvor from Toronto. Stone (whose real name is Ch Litilann’s Lights Camera Action) was Best in Show for two of the four days of competition. Leanne told me that Stone needed to stop panting so he could go have his picture taken so she had a fan blowing up under his belly. While we were chatting, she realized that the position of the fan wasn’t cooling Stone fast enough so she moved the fan "elsewhere". That seemed to shut him up pretty quickly.
I don’t know what goes into making all these dogs as handsome as they are, but they were undeniably so. I look forward to attending next August.
Cher Hebert is a community correspondent for East St. Paul. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.