Interview With Noah Milam – 2022 AKC National Championship Best Junior Handler
Congratulations, Noah Milam, on your Best Junior Handler win at the 2022 AKC National Championship Presented by Royal Canin! Is it a dream come true?
Noah Milam: Yes, winning 2022 Best Junior Handler at the AKC National Championship Presented by Royal Canin was an absolute dream come true. It’s one of those dreams that you wish you would never wake up from.
It’s one of those dreams that you wish you would never wake up from.
How was the overall experience of being in Orlando for you? How were the Preliminaries?
Noah Milam: The experience of Orlando was, of course, fun and being in the Preliminaries was amazing. I’ve only competed in the Preliminaries a total of three times in the time that I have been showing, and every time it’s been a time to remember. This was the first year that I made a cut and made it to the finals.
Who was the first person you called or texted after you’d won?
Noah Milam: I didn’t honestly call or text anybody, but I ran across the Orange County Convention Center to the Isle of Dogs tent where my mom was working to show her that I had made it to the Finals and out of the Preliminaries. Then she came to watch me and “Ariel” in the Best Junior competition.
How have you celebrated your victory? Did you and your dog enjoy a special meal that night?
Noah Milam: We actually did enjoy a special meal. We stopped at IHOP that night, and me and Ariel enjoyed an omelet together. I had a great time celebrating the big win together.
You’ve shown several different breeds in Juniors. How did you choose which dog to show this year?
Noah Milam: The way I chose which dog to show at the AKC National this year was, honestly, just based off of me and Ariel having the most success together this year and accomplishing so much together. I figured it was a “no-brainer” that she was my best choice to show.
What does your dog mean to you now that you’ve completed this journey together?
Noah Milam: Ariel means the world to me. I’ve said it before that she’s not just my show dog, she’s also my pet. She sleeps in the bed with me, runs around the house, and just has fun enjoying life. I wouldn’t trade her for any other dog in this world. She’s definitely the best dog to me.
How has Junior Handling made a difference in your life? In your family’s life?
Noah Milam: The Junior Handler program has really just made a huge difference in not only my life but all of my siblings’ lives. It’s definitely changed a lot in life, but it was a good change. All five of my siblings show dogs, even my youngest sister who’s not old enough to compete in Junior Showmanship… she still competes in the Pee Wees.
Can you offer any advice to Juniors looking to compete at the AKC National Championship in 2023?
Noah Milam: Any advice that I’d give to others Juniors competing at the AKC National in 2023 would be to treat it like it’s just another dog show. Forget that it’s such a big show and think of it like your small local show. Just keep telling yourself that it’s just another dog show. That’s what I was telling myself in the Best Junior ring, “It’s just another dog show, it’s just another dog show…” to help calm my nerves and keep myself and the dog focused.
Would you like to say a few words about this year’s judging panel?
Noah Milam: I definitely think the judging panel was good. I don’t think I’d change much about it!
What’s next for Noah Milam?
Noah Milam: Well, what’s next for Noah Milam is that I’m going to go compete at Crufts Dog Show in the UK, then at Westminster for my very last time in Junior Showmanship. After that, breeding Ariel and I guess we’ll see where the future takes us.