More than 700 dogs converged on the Clark County Fairgrounds on Friday for a dog-gone good time in the Canine Performance Events National Championship.
It’s the first time the event has been held in Clark County, and event co-chair Kent Bromagen said people from across the U.S. and Canada are participating in the three-day competition. More than 500 handlers have filled up the local hotel rooms to attend, he said.
“This event is one of our biggest ever,” he said. “About two weeks ago I was informed there are no rooms within 25 or 30 miles of here available. We’ve got 85 RVs and campers camping out.”
That’s good news for Clark County, which gets about 60 percent of its tourism business from attractions at the fairgrounds, according to the Greater Springfield Convention and Visitors Bureau.
“This is a nice problem to have,” Clark County Commissioner John Detrick said. “Clark County is well blessed with a well-maintained fairgrounds that does an outstanding job of welcoming people there.”
The championship consists of six rings containing games and obstacles meant to test a dog’s speed, agility and skill. The more obstacles the animal successfully crosses without faults, the more points it will rack up. Awards will be given to the winners Sunday night, Bromagen said.
Urbana resident Diana Miller, competing with her cocker spaniel Chica, said she worked hard to qualify in enough competitions to make sure she could participate in the championship. So far, she’s doing well.
“We qualified our first one,” she said of Friday’s competition. “I love this and I love doing it with (my dog). I’ve never done anything like this before.”
The fairgrounds were chosen for the championship through a site-selection process. If all goes well, Bromagen said it’s possible the event could be held here again next year.
The competition runs 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. through Sunday, and is free and open to the public. Winners will be awarded during a ceremony Sunday night. Those interested in getting involved in other Canine Performance Events competitions can learn more at the information booth.