Interview with Maggie Moore, Chairperson of the Memphis Kennel Club
1. What is the name of your show/cluster?
Maggie Moore: Our show is the Memphis Kennel Club (MKC) “Heart & Soul Classic.”
2. Where are your shows held? When?
Maggie Moore: They’re held Weekend 7 at the Tunica Arena and Expo Center in Tunica, Mississippi. This is a county-owned equestrian exhibition center.
3. Can you please provide a brief history of your club?
Maggie Moore: We have a page on our website with a great article about our history:
https://memkennelclub.org/history/. Additional to the information there, our club’s first show event was actually a combined benched show and gun dog field trial. The Best in Show winner was also Best in Field at that same event! We were the first kennel club in the country to host a dual event show and the first in the country to give out a Best in Show award. To honor this history, we offer a “Triathlete” medal to those dogs that qualify in all of the performance events and earn a placement in conformation on the same day. Our first show, as is mentioned on the website, was in 1874. However, the first records I could find of Memphis Kennel Club hosting an official AKC show began in 1924. So, in 2024, it will be our 150th Anniversary as a club and 100 years with AKC. (Fun Fact: As far as I know, we’ve only had to cancel the show once—during October of 1929, following the stock market crash.) A special “shout out” to the Tri-Star Kennel Club of Williamson County who let us join with them last year to keep our streak going through this COVID crisis. They are another wonderful kennel club with a great group of members, and they host a fun, event-packed show in Lebanon, Tennessee, in the fall.
We were the first kennel club in the country to host a dual event show and the first in the country to give out a Best in Show award. To honor this history, we offer a “Triathlete” medal to those dogs that qualify in all of the performance events and earn a placement in conformation on the same day.
4. How are the following accommodated at your show/cluster: Parking; Grooming; Bathing; Hospitality; Vendors; Public Education?
Maggie Moore: At this event, we have an ample amount of parking and RV spaces with hookups. The arena is built for horse shows, so there’s plenty of space for everyone. There’s a large horse wash rack outside the arena for bathing. Tunica is famous for its casinos, which are a short driving distance from the event center, so people can “show and play” when they come to our event.
5. Does your show/cluster offer the National Owner-Handled Series? Junior Showmanship? 4-6 Month Beginner Puppy? Best Bred-By? Specialties? Supported Entries?
Maggie Moore: We offer NOHS, Beginner Puppy, and a GSD Specialty at our show. Next year, we will offer FSS Open Shows again. Where we shine is in the special awards that we offer throughout our event. Besides the triathlete medal, which is mentioned above, we offer new title rosettes to any dog earning a new title at our show, including new champion! The obedience and rally trials have special large, glittery rosettes to award to those dogs earning OTCH, POCH, RACH or RAE at our show. This year, we also offered an award for High Cumulative Score in Rally and Obedience, awarded to the dog that had the highest total scores over all three trials. We focus a lot on creating a great Junior Handler experience at our show. Junior Showmanship is always held 30 minutes prior to the rest of the show, so they don’t run into conflicts with their breed judging. We have great prizes for them as well, including offering $50 gift card awards and other fun things. The Juniors at our show get discounts on all entry fees, including performance entries—Juniors never pay more than $10 for each entry! We also offer special HIT Junior Obedience and HC Junior Rally awards for each trial. On Saturday, we have a fun Pajama Day dress theme that everyone can participate in. This year, the Junior Showmanship judge, John Schoeneman, was a great sport, and the Juniors all got “a kick” out of him wearing his pajamas in the ring!
6. How are judging panels determined? Who stewards at your show(s)/cluster?
Maggie Moore: As Show Chair, I take suggestions from the club members on judges. We try to have a variety of judges who get good reviews from the judge rating groups on social media. We also aim to accommodate as many provisionals as we can.
7. Are Breed Seminars and Judges Education offered?
Maggie Moore: These are not offered at this time during our show.
8. How are your show(s)/cluster promoted? TV? Radio? Print Media? Social Media?
Maggie Moore: We promote with social media; Facebook, primarily.
9. What are some of the challenges that you’ve had to face as show/cluster chair?
Maggie Moore: There are always challenges, and they vary from event to event. This year, it was the facility primarily not having enough staff and also with the arena footing. At least, next year, the arena director has promised us no more dirt footing for our future shows.
10. 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?
Maggie Moore: There’s not a whole lot of difference in our area, other than doing our best to work around the staffing shortages of the local hotels and facilities. The biggest challenge is that we have to remember to keep up-to-date with the latest state-mandated protocols, to make sure we’re in compliance on the day of the show.
About Maggie Moore
I have been the Show Chair for Memphis Kennel Club for about five years now. I’ve only been showing dogs with AKC for nine years, and most of that time has been in performance sports, including Road Trial (DCA’s 25-mile canine-equestrian competition). I would definitely consider myself a relative “newbie” in AKC, especially with conformation shows. Each year is truly a learning experience, and I walk away from each event with new knowledge and ideas. In order to host such a great event, I depend heavily on the more experienced members in the club who have been in AKC dog sports much longer than I have. For our conformation event, I’d love to give a special “shout out” to Kimberly Harwood (MKC Secretary), Pamela Ireland (MKC President), Virginia Wilson (MKC Treasurer), Michelle Tribble (MKC VP) and Krista Cummings. We also have a large obedience entry with great prizes, due in part to the efforts of Donna Eddins, the Obedience Show Chair, and our “star” volunteers, Mike & Nancy Nesbit, Debb Taylor, and Lisa Sheffield. Nearly all of our members pitch in to help with our event in some way. I’m thrilled to be part of such a friendly and collaborative club with a rich history!
Show Chairs Never Sit
Maggie Moore, Show Chair – Memphis Kennel Club