Durango Kennel Club presents annual dog show this week at McGee Park

Event kicks off Thursday and continues through Sunday

Mike Easterling
Farmington Daily Times

FARMINGTON — Approximately 600 dogs from across the country are expected to look and behave their best this week when the Durango Kennel Club presents its annual American Kennel Club All Breed Dog Show at McGee Park.

The annual four-day event features hundreds of breeds, and handlers, owners and judges from all over the United States, as well as Mexico, according to Mary Maras, the Durango Kennel Club's membership chair. Maras said four shows will be held each day in such categories as obedience trials, rally trials and conformation shows, along with a best in show competition.

"It's quite a social activity for people," Maras said, explaining that some of the handlers are professionals who only work with two or three dogs a year.

The McGee Park show comes on the heels of two shows in Albuquerque May 13-16, so many of the participants in those events are expected to journey up U.S. Highway 550 and take part in this event. The show typically attracts a large crowd of onlookers, as well, and Maras promised no one will leave disappointed.

Judge Ken Berg, right, inspects Teague with help from owner Kristi Green May 19, 2017, during the Durango Kennel Club's All Breed Dog Show at McGee Park.

"The breeds are in top form and groomed to the nines," she said.

Puppies up to 6 months old also will compete, and some of the categories are designed to introduce young handlers to the world of dog shows.

"It's a fabulous activity," Maras said. " … The peewee categories can get young people involved in dog showing."

But it can take years, even decades to master the art of showing a dog, she said, noting that some of the more experienced and accomplished handlers have been practicing their craft for 30 or 40 years.

Dog handler Oscar Quirous, left, and dog owner and handler Becky Buckman groom Cricket May 19, 2017, during the Durango Kennel Club's All Breed Dog Show at McGee Park.

"A good handler is able to make their dog be on stage almost like they're acting," she said. "They make them strut and show all their good qualities."

Maras has rescue dogs at home and doesn't show them, but she said that doesn't stop her from enjoying the social aspect of the show, where she gets to mingle with hundreds of other people who share her affinity for canines.

And, like so many others who attend dog shows around the county, she finds the animals irresistible.

Patrice Chevalier and her dog Gladys participate in the barn hunt category May 19, 2017, at the Durango Kennel Club's All Breed Dog Show at McGee Park.

"The dogs are so cute," she said.

The show also features dozens of vendors selling dog items and food.

The show runs from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday, May 19 through Sunday, May 22 at McGee Park, 41 County Road 5568 between Farmington and Bloomfield. Admission is free, but audience members are asked to leave their pets at home.

Mike Easterling can be reached at 505-564-4610 or measterling@daily-times.com. Support local journalism with a digital subscription: http://bit.ly/2I6TU0e.