OAKHURST – Friends of the furred, take note: it’s time to register your canines — of any sort — for the fourth annual Oakminster Dog Show. It’s sponsored every year by Sierra Lions Club to benefit the Eastern Madera County SPCA (EMC SPCA). This year the Oakminster Dog Show is set for for 9 a.m. on Sunday, Apr. 24 at Oakhurst Community Park – rain or shine!
We asked Lion Gail Hawksworth what kind of people and pups should come to this event. She said, “Everybody! Whether you want to show your dog or if you just want to watch, anyone who likes animals should come.”
Gail is an expert on canines, and owner of MySham for the Love of Dogs Training and Care. She’s been handling the education of dogs and their people since the 1980s. Her gentle giant Irish Wolfhounds have won nearly innumerable awards, so it’s quite safe to say that Gail knows what she’s doing when it comes to dog shows. In fact, the Oakminster Dog Show is so named as an homage to the big show in New York that many of us have seen on television.
“It’s Oakminster for Westminster,” explains Gail, “and this was because I could never make it back to Westminster , so I decided to do one here.”
Quite unlike it’s pricier namesake, pre-registration for Oakminster is just a $10 fee per dog through Monday, Apr. 18, and after that, it’s $15 for same-day registration with a deadline of 10 a.m. on the day of the show. Booths for vendors and organizations are also available for $25 each, reserved no later than Tuesday, Apr. 19. All proceeds go directly to the EMC SPCA building fund.
Here’s another way in which Oakminster differs from other dog show: it’s extremely inclusive. Ear missing, crooked tail, pirate smile? Come on over! Three legs, no hind lets, no problem, says Gail.
“It’s just to show off your dog. We don’t want people to feel intimidated by purebreds, because all dogs are equal,” she confirms. “I split it up into four categories so there are four Best in Show awards. One category is Mixed Breed Adult, which is 12 months and older. The next category is Mixed Breed Puppy and that is four to 12 months. The next is Purebred Adult, and that’s 12 months and older and the last category is Purebred Puppy for four to 12 months.”
While the Purebred classification in puppy and adult is broken into five sub-categories by breed, Oakminster participants showing in the Mixed Breed group are further divided by weight and length of hair: short vs. long.
None of the judges are local — they come in from Fresno, Merced and Mariposa. No training instructor can be a judge to avoid any appearance of bias. Children age nine and up are welcome to participate in the conformation portion of the show, while younger kids can compete in obedience, and do not compete with adults. It’s all very organized!
Among other tells, “judges are required to look at how the dog is at following directions,” continues Gail, and “that people are being happy with their dog walking happily, that the dog is clean, and making sure that your dog will let someone pet it. Even if it jumps up with excitement, that’s okay — just that it’s not backing away in fear, and no biters.”
Last year’s Oakminster Dog Show included about 50 dogs in competition, with 75 – 100 people in attendance. The end result, with sponsorship and registration fees, and many of the associated costs donated or underwritten, the Sierra Lions Club turned over more than $3,000 directly to the EMC SPCA for the building fund.
The Eastern Madera County SPCA (EMC SPCA) was established in 1990 and is dedicated to providing a safe and nurturing environment for unwanted, abandoned and mistreated pets until they can be placed into loving homes. Through proactive intervention, public education and community outreach, the EMC SPCA seeks to promote respect for all life by breaking the cycle of abuse, neglect and pet overpopulation in our community.
The EMC SPCA gets all this done without any federal, state, or county funding: it’s a local, independent, non-profit 501(C)(3) organization, supported solely through private contributions. All donations to the EMC SPCA go to help animals right here in our community.
It’s an especially exciting year for all area animal lovers, as the EMC SPCA recently celebrated a ground-breaking ceremony at the site of their planned no-kill shelter on Highway 49 in Ahwahnee. While sufficient funds have been raised to essentially guarantee construction, plenty of money is still needed to furnish the operation. The community is invited to help out and learn more by attending the Oakminster Dog Show. It’s the perfect combination of fancy and fun.
Forms are available to print out below (first click on the image to enlarge), including details about rules, obedience, and conformation. Registration forms are also available at The Cat’s Meow, Oakhurst Feed & Pet Supply, and Steve’s Pet Supply. Check the flyer (click to enlarge) for a complete list of the generous community sponsors that help make this event possible. It also would not happen without the support of the Sierra Lions Club, whose mission is, simply, to serve.
“Get your dog out there and be proud,” Gail says to encourage the crowds. “If it’s barking, so what? It’s a day to bring your dog, and if you don’t want to participate, that’s okay. If you do, it’s all training: you are training your dog in a happy way. And, we’re judging the dogs, not the people!”
For more information contact Gail at (559) 658-5631 or visit the website for details on this event and others to benefit the EMC SPCA
Read more: Love At First Sight — Gail Hawksworth’s Gentle Giants
OAKMINSTER DOG SHOW RULES & REGULATIONS
OAKMINSTER DOG SHOW OBEDIENCE ENTRY FORM
OAKMINSTER DOG SHOW CONFORMATION ENTRY FORM