At the Washington State 4-H Fair in Puyallup in September, the youth and their furry trainees of K-9 Korps club of Island County 4-H were high achievers in obedience and showmanship competitions as well as the dog judging contest, with seven members placing at state.
Madison Thompson, whose achievements included receiving the Award of Merit in Obedience and tying for Reserve Overall Highpoint, said that she couldn’t believe she and her dog qualified for state this year, especially since her pup Stella isn’t even a year-and-a-half old, she said. Thompson said she practices all the time with her dog, and is sure to attend the weekly practices.
“… State is exciting because you get to compete with all the really good kids, which makes you get better,” she said in an email.
Thompson said she enjoyed spending time with her friends who also love dogs.
Reagan Syring won Grand Champion in Junior Showmanship, which required her to have a high skill level grooming, handling and presenting her dog based on 4-H guidelines. Syring participated with her sheltie, Sadie. Annalise Wesley was Reserve Grand Champion in Junior Showmanship, with her dog Kona. Payton Syring and her dog won Blue Ribbon in Intermediate Showmanship.
Club leader Laura Thompson, co-leader Reyna Hull-Walton and volunteer trainers have spent many Monday evenings working with the 20 members of the club and their dogs. Members groom their own dogs, with a groom night before shows at Posh Puppies, which is Thompson’s business and serves as the club’s meeting location.
“All the kids do their own training,” Thompson said. The youth work with experienced volunteer trainers who give them pointers on how to get the best response from their dogs.
Gabriella Gebhard said her favorite part of the state fair was getting to show her dog, Russell, and her abilities at a high competition level. A successful tactic for her this year was working with Russell daily, and training him above novice obedience levels, she said, and she saw him improve in showmanship, obedience, agility and rally categories.
Gebhard placed sixth in Intermediate Showmanship and was Reserve Champion in Obedience, Clean Run in Agility and tied for Reserve Overall Highpoint
Thompson, who has been the leader for the last three years, was pleased with the results of the state competition and the work of the K-9 Korps youth.
“They are a special group,” she said. “Their sportsmanship is absolutely superb…(That’s) the true meaning of what 4-H is about.”
Dog judging was presented a new challenge this year, she said, for those trying it for the first time. Judging is a comprehensive category, and tests all their knowledge on dog breeds and more, Thompson said.
K-9 Korps members Theron Hull-Walton and Carmen Willard each achieved an Award of Merit Intermediate Obedience on the judging team, which won second place at the fair. Willard placed second in Individual Dog Judging.
This year, the club sent a total of 15 dogs to state, Thompson said.
K-9 Korps is one of the 19 Island County 4-H Clubs.
Wins for K-9 Korps:
Reagan Syring: Grand Champion in Junior Showmanship
Annalise Wesley: Reserve Grand Champion in Junior Showmanship
Theron Hull-Walton: Award of Merit Intermediate Obedience on the judging team, which won second place
Carmen Willard: Award of Merit Intermediate Obedience, Second Individual Dog Judging, Second Team Judging
Gabriella Gebhard: Sixth place Intermediate Showmanship, Reserve Champion Obedience, Clean Run in Agility and tied for Reserve Overall Highpoint
Madison Thompson: Fourth Place Intermediate Showmanship, Award of Merit Obedience and tied for Reserve Overall Highpoint