Event goes to the dogs

From the July 10, 2015 edition of The Pueblo Chieftain

By Anthony Settipani

Chieftain Photo/Bryan Kelsen

Grace Hiltz marched her 4-year-old Chihuahua Cloie in a smart circle on the floor of the Palace of Agriculture at the Colorado State Fairgrounds Thursday.

Hiltz, 12, was competing in the Pueblo County Fair Dog Show and has been training dogs with 4-H for four years. For Cloie, this was year No. 3 in competition.

“I love 4-H,” Hiltz said. “I love working with my dogs, and I have a lot of friends here. So it’s a lot of fun.”

The scene at the show was a lively one. Children and dogs dashed back and forth across the palace’s wide-open floors, where tracks and courses stood ready for the competition. More than 100 entrants participated in three different categories: obedience, showmanship and rally.

According to Carol Kuhns, the 4-H coordinator of the event, most of these participants also belong to the American Kennel Club.

“We do our rules pretty much the same as the AKC does,” said Kuhns, who has been organizing dog shows for 4-H for more than 30 years. “So we set them up for a future in the AKC.”

Kelsey Darnell, one of the oldest girls competing this year, takes advantage of that every time she competes in the AKC. On Wednesday, she and her purebred golden retriever Sizzle were also competing at the Fair- grounds.

“This is my 13th year in the (4-H) project,” Dar- nell said. “I started when I was 5 years old.”

Though Darnell also participated in goat-caring and shooting sports, she said she always has found a way to come back to where she started.

“I tried a little bit of everything, but I always stayed with dogs, be- cause it was just so much fun,” she said. When it came to competing in the AKC, Darnell said she began as early as she could.

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