It's not often that Williamsport gets visitors from Canada, Washington, Delaware and Texas all at once, when it's not during the Little League Baseball World Series.
The Bald Eagle Kennel Club of Williamsport gave the city one such occasion on Sunday with its 79th All-Breed Dog Show at the Pennsylvania College of Technology.
Dr. Davie Jane Gilmour, president of Penn College, said, "It is a great way to expose the campus to new people" and that though this was the largest event (of this kind) the campus ever has held, it was more than happy to take on the challenge.
CRAIG S. McKIBBEN JR./Sun-Gazette Correspondent
Loula, a 2-year-old apricot miniature poodle, awaits competition after being coifed by her owner and handler Jean Lacey, of Lima, N.Y. Sunday morning in the grooming area of the Bald Eagle Kennel Club All-Breed Points Show held at the field house at Pennsylvania College of Technology.
Awarded Best in Show was the beagle Ms. P, shown at right with her handler William Alexander, of Toronto, Ont., Canada, and judge Edd Embry Bivin, of Fort Worth, Texas. The dog is owned by Eddie Dziak and Lori and Kaitlyn Crandlemire.
The college also provided parking and food for the judges and handlers.
Attendee Patricia Shaeffer, of Loyalsock Township, said that Penn College was a "much better facility for the dogs as well as the handlers."
Even seasoned professional handlers appreciated the venue. Koz Hasaka, of Delaware, said that the air conditioning in gymnasium made his toy poodle, winner of best in show reserved, feel more comfortable. Hosaka has been handling show dogs professionally for 35 years and attends up to 140 shows in one year.
Not every handler shows the dog they personally own. Many are professional handlers who show dogs bred and raised by other owners.
Owner and Handler Rhonda-Lynn DiMattio, of Easton, has shown her puli named Kixx all over the East Coast, even making it to New York City for a photo shoot with the British fashion magazine, Garage.
Kixx placed second in the Herding group.
Patricia Wikstrom, president of kennel club, said the college was a wonderful help in making the event a success that drew in people from all over.
It was the beagle, Ms. P, who took away Best in Show. Ms. P. also won Best in Show in Bloomsburg making her handler Will Alexander, of Toronto, confident going in. While showing Ms. P., all Alexander could think is "Just stand still." He was not positive the beagle would win but said "you always hope."
Judging for best in show was Edd Embry Bivin, of Fort Worth, Texas. Bivin has been judging dog shows for 53 years and has spent time breeding and showing dogs as well. The first dog he showed was a Pomeranian. "My parents said you can have a dog as long as it's small," he said.
Bivin has been all around Pennsylvania but said this is his first time in Williamsport. "The area is very nice, its gorgeous," he said.
The show continues from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. today.