New dog show event, barn hunt, garners lots of interest

March 31, 2018

MITCHELL — Breeders, showers and spectators came from all around for the Scottsbluff Kennel Club’s annual dog show, which began on Friday. The show, which is held at the Scotts Bluff County Fairgrounds in Mitchell, started in the 1980s.

“This is our second year for having a junior scholarship,” Joan Beien, president of the Scottsbluff Kennel Club said. “This year, whoever wins best junior handler gets a $700 college scholarship.”

A new attraction of the dog show this year is the barn hunt, Beien said.

“That’s where the dogs try to sniff out rats we’ve got in tubes and hid in straw,” she said.

JaNell Canaday from Torrington has been a member of the Scottsbluff Kennel Club for many years and is the barn hunt coordinator.

“I’ve only been in two barn hunts, but it was so much fun,” Canaday said. “So I brought it up at our Kennel Club meeting that I thought this would be a really fun thing to bring into our community. At first, I thought it was going to be a flop.”

Canaday worked hard to spread the word about the barn hunt using social media and posters around town.

“I’ve been talking to all my dog show friends and I bet I’ve gotten 10 or 15 people to come over and enter their dogs in barn hunt,” she said.

The barn hunt is separated into different classes for the dogs. The entry level is instinct, which moves on up to novice, open, crazy eight, seniors and masters.

“One dog goes in each time by themselves. Instinct and novice have two minutes to find the rats,” Canaday said. “Instinct only has to go around the front and there is an empty container, a container with rat litter and one with a rat. They have to go around and indicate to their owner which one has the rat in it. Hopefully, you call it right.”

After earning an instinct title, the dogs move on to the novice level.

“In the novice, dogs have to jump on a bale, go through a tunnel and find the rat,” she said. “Each step it gets a little bit more difficult and once you go from there to open you have to find two rats. So it just kind of moves up each class you go.”

Canaday said she is hoping the barn hunt will be continued in years to come at the dog show.

“Everybody has congratulated me and said they thought it was going to be a bomb too, of course so did I, but we’ve gotten a lot of entries,” she said. “It’s something a lot of people are thinking they want to do.”

The barn hunt will continue on Saturday, March 31. The rest of the dog show will last through Sunday, April 1.

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