MIAMI COUNTY — The 4-H club A Bunch of Hair were “fetching” at the 2015 Ohio State Junior Fair Dog Show from Aug. 3-5, with everyone in the group placing and six out of 10 members recognized as Ohio State Champions.
Club members all participated in the skill-a-thon, and were asked various questions about their show dog and general knowledge on the dog anatomy. Some members were involved in team events that entailed a group of two or more members that were judged as a group on their interview skills and obedience skills with their dog.
Placing in the fair was all based on a point system that was gathered in total from each show and class that competitors participated in. To become an Ohio State Champion, 25 points had to be collected.
“(The points are) something that the kids can work for,” said Nikki Palsgrove, 4-H advisor. “I tell them that they don’t have to be first to be a winner. Everybody placed at least once, that to me is an achievement because (members) tried really hard.”
The “hairy” club specializes in dogs and rabbits, with the focus being on training the children on how to train and care for their animals. They learn basic obedience and showmanship skills, as well as agility by training their dog how to do commands such as stay, heel, or sit down.
“We keep refining those skills until they can be shown at county or state level fair,” Palsgrove said.
Jeremy Root’s daughters Emmalee Wright and Sarah Wright are in the club and among the members who placed at the show. Emmalee, 9, placed second in showmanship out of 21 competitors with her mini Australian Shepherd, and Sarah, 10, placed fourth in showmanship out of 28 competitors with her golden retriever.
“I just think (my daughters) did an outstanding job and they made me proud,” Root said. “I can’t explain it, the whole group did so well. It shows great responsibility on their part.”
This is Emmalee’s first year with her dog and Sarah’s second year with her dog. Both sisters were training 10-12 hours a week for the state fair show with their canines.
Overall, Palsgrove said the group has gained a greater sense of security after participating at the state fair.
“After going to the Ohio state fair, (members) feel secure,” she said. “They are able to walk their dog through a crowd…they have more secure knowledge of how their dog is and being able to sit in front of a stranger for an interview. They are using those skills in the real world.”
A Bunch of Hair will be showing at the Miami County Fair on Saturday at 9 a.m. starting with obedience and following will be showmanship at 1 p.m. at tent located near the poultry barn. Members will also participate in dog royalty test on Friday at 6 p.m. at the poultry barn.
There are three 4-H dog clubs in Miami County that youth can be involved in. If interested, contact Demetria Woods at the Miami County 4-H extension office at (937) 440-3945.
Reach Amy Barger at (937) 451-3340.