Interview with Charlene Stone – Chair & Suzanne Benchoff – Assistant Chair of the Chambersburg Area Kennel Club Show
What is the name of your show/cluster?
Charlene Stone & Suzanne Benchoff: We are the Chambersburg Area Kennel Club Show.
Where are your shows held? When?
Charlene Stone & Suzanne Benchoff: Our recent shows were held at the Shippensburg Fair Grounds, 10131 Possum Hollow Road, Shippensburg, Pennsylvania 17257 on October 1-2, 2022.
Can you please provide a brief history of your club?
Charlene Stone & Suzanne Benchoff: The latest shows were our 42nd & 43rd shows. We are in South Central Pennsylvania where we have, within our club and in our territory, many long-time breeders and exhibitors. In our membership, our club has members listed as Breeders of Merit, AKC Judges, and Obedience & Rally Judges.
We hold Conformation Training Classes, participate in community events wherein we incorporate RDO, and we make visitations to retirement communities. Several years back, our club membership was incredibly low; however, in the recent past, we have grown to double that membership—and we are still growing. Fortunately, we have attracted many young people who are eager to learn the ropes.
Several years back, our club membership was incredibly low; however, in the recent past, we have grown to double that membership—and we are still growing.
How are the following accommodated at your show/cluster: Parking; Grooming; Bathing; Hospitality; Vendors; Public Education?
- Parking is handled by the very efficient Site Control organization provided by Harry & John Miller.
- Grooming is plentiful, located adjacent to the rings in a covered pavilion that includes water and Electric. We offer ringside grooming with electric located just steps from the rings.
- There are no bathing facilities. We have what we call indoor/outdoor rings located under a large pavilion with a concrete floor allowing matting. There is also a building that we use, all indoors.
- Hospitality is centrally located where public education is available. Being that this year was our first show at this venue, we were not successful contracting any vendors; we felt that it was their loss. We have a great area for them! There were also food trucks available with different cuisines.
Does your show/cluster offer the National Owner-Handled Series? Junior Showmanship? 4-6 Month Beginner Puppy? Best Bred-By? Specialties?
Charlene Stone & Suzanne Benchoff: We do offer the National Owner-Handled Series as well as Best BBE, 6-9 Month Puppy, and Junior Showmanship. We are open to invite Specialties and have a couple breed clubs that are interested. This year, the Central Penn Collie Club supported the entries both days.
How are judging panels decided? Who stewards at your show(s)/cluster?
Charlene Stone & Suzanne Benchoff: The judging panels are first and foremost suggested by the membership. That information is then reviewed to ensure that a judge has not been used too often in our general area. We like to provide a diversified panel that will include a fair measure of Provisional Judges, to support their judging careers.
Are Breed Seminars and Judges Education offered?
Charlene Stone & Suzanne Benchoff: There are no Breed Seminars offered at this time. We do have available Judges Education at the request of attending judges. Our membership has much to offer and many different breeds to make available.
How are your show(s)/cluster promoted? TV? Radio? Print Media? Social Media?
Charlene Stone & Suzanne Benchoff: We use print and social media to promote our shows. There are no local TV stations and we have not explored radio at this time.
What are some of the challenges that you’ve had to face as show/cluster chair?
Charlene Stone & Suzanne Benchoff: Challenges that we experienced with this show were many, but they were surmountable. With our new, inexperienced members (who, for some, this was their first time working on a show committee), guidance was needed. The show site we chose was the first time it was used as a dog show venue. Prior to our shows, it had only been used as a large county fair.
We had to learn the most efficient use of the grounds, buildings, and general workings of the site. Then there was Hurricane Ian—we really did not need his presence! But we rallied and made our show a success. Using this site was a unique challenge and provided an opportunity to explore using the entirety of the grounds to offer more competition options.
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, what have you and your club members learned about putting on a dog show? What, if any, are the differences from previous years and how are you planning for the future?
Charlene Stone & Suzanne Benchoff: COVID forced us to cancel two years of shows. In that period, we changed our date from early May, which included Friday and Saturday, to the present early October Saturday and Sunday. We had another site, all indoors, lined up for one of those cancelled shows, but we cancelled it as all the restrictions at that time would have been exceedingly difficult to satisfy.
In a way, I guess we could be thankful for the time we had to search out a new and better site, and for being lucky enough to obtain a full weekend of shows. We have great hopes for the future at this site, utilizing the grounds more, and offering many Performance events along with Conformation that will include Specialties and Supported Entries.