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Crab Orchard AKC show a favorite for handlers

  • A little Yorkshire terrier, Bentley, gets "wraps" on his coat after his turn in the show ring. His groomer, Anna Stringer of Bowling Green, Kentucky, says Bentley gets wrapped every day, to protect his hair. She said Bentley is owned by a friend who lives in Canada.

    A little Yorkshire terrier, Bentley, gets "wraps" on his coat after his turn in the show ring. His groomer, Anna Stringer of Bowling Green, Kentucky, says Bentley gets wrapped every day, to protect his hair. She said Bentley is owned by a friend who lives in Canada.
    Ceasar Maragni photo

  • Trainer Danielle Frykman of Beach Park, Illinois, runs a bloodhound named Santana around a show ring. Santana lives in North Carolina.

    Trainer Danielle Frykman of Beach Park, Illinois, runs a bloodhound named Santana around a show ring. Santana lives in North Carolina.
    Ceasar Maragni photo

  • Professional dog trainer Sarah Krickeerg grooms a beautiful beagle named Laura.

    Professional dog trainer Sarah Krickeerg grooms a beautiful beagle named Laura.
    Ceasar Maragni photo

 
By Ceasar Maragni
Contributing Writer
updated: 8/9/2018 5:03 PM

It's not just dogs that fill the Marion Pavilion each year for the Crab Orchard Kennel Club's AKC show.

As show chairman Bryan Helvey points out, the humans that accompany the dogs or come to see the dogs, pump a lot of money into the Marion economy.

"We've been told by representatives of the American Kennel Club that our show probably pours around a half-million dollars into the local economy," Helvey, of Marion said.

The popularity of the event became evident, with the comments made by out-of-town breeders and trainers in an informal survey around the show, the 60th annual event in the Crab Orchard club's history.

Owner and breeder Sherrie McGee, from Unionville, Tennessee, was brushing the coat of Missy, her beautiful, 1-year-old longhair shitzu in one of the side rooms at the facility, getting ready to show her.

McGee said she does nearly 40 shows a year and is a big fan of the Crab Orchard club show.

"We love it here," she said. "It's a four-hour drive for us so we always try to get here on a Friday and head back home on Sunday. We stay close by at the Marion Campground."

Not far away in the large exhibition hall, professional trainer Sarah Krickeerg of Yorkville, Illinois was getting a 13-inch beagle named Laura ready to show. Laura was one of a dozen dogs that Krickeerg brought to the show for her various clients.

Krickeerg said the Crab Orchard show is one of her favorites.

"The last time I was here I won Best of Show with a sheltie!" she said happily.

Krickeerg said that it's not uncommon for professional handlers like herself to specialize in specific breeds. She handles hounds, beagles and a few other breeds.

Krickeerg is among an elite group of handlers who make a living as a dog handler. Asked how she trained for this career, she laughed.

"Actually, I went to college to be a teacher, have a master's degree in education and never taught a day," she confided. "I worked with dogs along the way and the rest is history."