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Show Dog Information

The Largest Dog Show Ever

 

Very few people realize just what a LARGE dog show is like. Perhaps they have seen a local pet show or a small show in the neighborhood, but few have any conception of a really big show. Let me tell you something about a large show. As an example let us use the largest outdoor show ever held in the United States: the last Morris and Essex Kennel Club show in Madison, New Jersey, in May of 1957, at Giralda, the beautiful estate of Mrs. Geraldine R. Dodge. The lovely grounds were not used for any other event except this one dog show one day each year.

On the grounds there was a permanent first-aid building, staffed for the day with nurses; a permanent press reporters' building; and two large permanent storage buildings to hold equipment during the year. Permanent ladies' rooms and men's rooms were freshly painted each year, and even telephones were brought into the grounds for the big day. The parking lots accommodated 10,000 cars. There were 16 drinking-water fountains all piped underground. The great event was held on a polo field, and the lawn there was manicured to within an inch of its life. Caterers were on the grounds with hot lunches as well as sandwiches and soft drinks. Flags flew from the tops of tents and buildings, and little pennants in the club colors of purple and orange ran up and down the tent ropes. Electric lights were strung under the tents for the people and dogs who arrived the night before the show, and a dog-food company supplied food for the dogs.

One hundred very polite policemen were hired for the day to act as guards and to help direct traffic on the grounds as well as through the town of Madison. Incidentally, there were so many cars driving into the show that even five entrances into the show grounds were not really adequate to keep traffic moving completely smoothly. If you were an exhibitor, you were notified in advance which one of the entrances would be closest to where your dog would be shown and where his bench would be located.

The dog-show catalog of approximately 375 pages, with a cover in club colors, was sold at each of the entrances as well as on the show field. Each of the four exercise pens was approximately 3,700 square feet, and each had electric lights strung for night use. These pens circled groups of trees so that if it was a hot day, there was shade for the dogs. In the exact center of the grounds there was a permanent building for the show superintendent and the show secretary from where they directed the many activities. There were 100 young men hired for the day to act as runners and messengers. There were 42 large show rings roped off and all 42 were used at one time, each with its judge, stewards (who help the judge), runners (who help locate the dogs), and the many exhibitors and spectators interested in each breed. Each ring had an umbrella under which the judge sat to get relief from the sun while waiting for the classes to start. On his table was a carafe of water in case he got thirsty, and there also were many sterling-silver trophies as well as crisp new one-, five-, and ten-dollar bills used as prize money.

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