Interview with Dr. Dawn Schroeder – Chairperson of the Scottsdale Dog Fancier’s Fiesta Dog Shows
What is the name of your show/cluster?
Dr. Dawn Schroeder: Our cluster is the Scottsdale Dog Fancier’s Fiesta Dog Shows.
Where are your shows held? When?
Dr. Dawn Schroeder: Our shows are held at WestWorld in Scottsdale, Arizona, on the 47th weekend.
Can you please provide a brief history of your club?
Dr. Dawn Schroeder: Scottsdale Dog Fanciers Association Inc. was incorporated as a domestic nonprofit organization in the state of Arizona on June 7, 1968. The club has been putting on one of the premier shows in the Southwest for over 50 years. During that time, Scottsdale Dog Fanciers has supported and donated equipment to local law enforcement canine units, to fire and rescue organizations, and to the AKC Canine Health Foundation and the AKC Museum of the Dog.
I am surprised that you haven’t asked how long I have been Show Chairman. I have been at it for over 10 years and in three different venues. A new Show Chair’s view might be entirely different from that of more experienced Show Chairs. The other name for Show Chairman is Herder of Cats.
The club has been putting on one of the premier shows in the Southwest for over 50 years.
How are the following accommodated at your show/cluster: Parking; Grooming; Bathing; Hospitality; Vendors; Public Education?
Dr. Dawn Schroeder: We have designated members of our show committee in charge of RV Parking, Grooming Spaces, Hospitality, and Vendors.
Day of Show Parking is handled by the venue. Public Education varies from year to year. The club has offered Meet the Breeds, a booth for Therapy Dogs, Dog Show Tours for spectators, and we have paired members with new exhibitors and spectators to answer questions. We also provide free vendor spaces to non-profit organizations like Canine Heroes.
Does your show/cluster offer the National Owner-Handled Series? Junior Showmanship? 4-6 Month Beginner Puppy? Best Bred-By? Specialties? Supported Entries?
Dr. Dawn Schroeder: We offer NOHS, Junior Showmanship (including a Grand Best Junior Competition), 4-6 Month Beginner Puppy, Concurrent and Independent Specialties, and Supported Entries. In addition, Juniors pay no entry fee to compete at our shows.
How are judging panels decided?
Dr. Dawn Schroeder: Judging panels are decided by a committee of four club members consisting of the Club President, the
Show Chairman, and two other members who are actively exhibiting or judging. We solicit recommendations for judges from our members and from the Specialty Clubs associated with our All-Breed Shows.
Scottsdale has specific requirements for the selection of judges. Judges must be knowledgeable, respect exhibitors and their dogs, and they must be pleasant to work with for both the club and the exhibitor.
Who stewards at your show(s)/cluster?
Dr. Dawn Schroeder: We have a Designated Chief Steward assisted by the Stewards Club of Arizona.
Are Breed Seminars and Judges Education offered?
Dr. Dawn Schroeder: Not at this time, though we have done so in the past. With the short lead time to prepare for last year’s show, setting up a venue, advertising and preparing a judges’ educational program was not possible.
How are your show(s)/cluster promoted? TV? Radio? Print Media? Social Media?
Dr. Dawn Schroeder: Our cluster is promoted on TV, by the venue, and through social media. This past year, a clip from our dog show was shown on the Jumbotron at an Arizona Cardinals football game.
What are some of the challenges that you’ve had to face as show/cluster chair?
Dr. Dawn Schroeder: Changing venues and having only three months to plan and put on the shows was a challenge.
A show chairman’s two worst nightmares are medical emergencies for dogs or exhibitors and bench hearings. We have addressed these issues head-on by having paramedics and a veterinarian on-sight during show hours. Having the veterinarian available has also proved to be essential for determining whether a dog has been injured in the context of bench hearings involving dog attacks. We have found that the absence of blood does not mean the absence of injury.
We have an experienced team that investigates and presides over bench hearings. It is necessary for a club to be sure that they have selected individuals to serve on their Bench Committee who have experience with dog behavior and breed-specific issues. Our first priority is to educate and the second is to prevent similar incidents from occurring again.
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?
Dr. Dawn Schroeder: Our shows are held during the height of cold, flu, and COVID season. We are more aware of respiratory symptoms, especially in our stewards and judges, and the ongoing need for precautions when called for. Although we do not use the two-entry system for rings any longer, we have widened the entrances to all of our rings and have made sure that we have larger rings available to accommodate high-entry breeds. This allows for more space between exhibitors. Hand sanitizer and disinfecting wipes are now available ringside. Flexibility will be the key going forward.