Interview with Sandra Groeschel, chairperson of The Kennel Club of Palm Springs
1. What is the name of your show/cluster?
Sandra Groeschel: The Kennel Club of Palm Springs—New Year Classic.
2. Where are your shows held? When?
Sandra Groeschel: The shows are held at the beautifully manicured Empire Polo Grounds in Indio, California, on the first weekend in January. If the New Year holiday falls on the first weekend of the year, then the show is held the second weekend of January.
3.Can you please provide a brief history of your club?
Sandra Groeschel: The KCPS was organized in 1978 by Robert & Lois Waters, Margaret & Fred Young, and Major & Beatrice Godsol to educate members and the general public about purebred dogs, to conduct purebred dog activities, and to promote sportsman-like competition at these events. Our first AKC licensed show was held at the Palms Springs Pavilion on Jan 8, 1984 with 2,183 entries. Best in Show was judged by Robert Waters. The Show Chair was Jim Hohe. The first back-to-back shows were held in January, 1994.
The KCPS was organized in 1978 by Robert & Lois Waters, Margaret & Fred Young, and Major & Beatrice Godsol to educate members and the general public about purebred dogs, to conduct purebred dog activities, and to promote sportsman-like competition at these events.
4. How are the following accommodated at your show/cluster: Parking; Grooming; Bathing; Hospitality; Vendors; Public Education?
Sandra Groeschel: The KCPS has chosen not to charge any admission fee, but there is ample paid parking that is open to the general public.
We offer reserved tented grooming with lights and power, club tents, and free grooming space. A bathing area is available to all exhibitors.
Empire’s huge vendor building can accommodate more than 150 vendors who offer a wide range of both dog and non-dog merchandise, including designer clothing and accessories!
KCPS loves welcoming the community and general public to our annual event. KCPS is extensively involved in public education. The Girl Scouts of America helps out at our shows and simultaneously earn badges. The Riverside County Department of Animal Services brings one of their service trucks, along with our AKC Disaster Relief trailer. The RCDAS officers spend time with both spectators and exhibitors alike, explaining the department’s purpose, goals, and relationship to the community. Our KCPS club members offer dog show tours and offer the AKC Dog Show booklets, which explain the entire process and flow chart of dog shows. We also support other non-profit organizations at our shows.
5. Does your show/cluster offer the National Owner-Handled Series? Junior Showmanship? 4-6 Month Beginner Puppy? Best Bred-By? Specialties? Supported Entries?
Sandra Groeschel: The KCPS proudly supports the NOHS, Junior Handling and 4-6 Month (Beginner Puppy) competitions. On Thursday and Friday of our New Year Classic, there are a very large number of Breed and Group Specialties throughout each day. On Saturday and Sunday, breed clubs may choose to “support” their breed entries through the KCPS all-breed shows.
6. How are judging panels determined? Who stewards at your show(s)/cluster?
Sandra Groeschel: The judges selection process is handled by the KCPS Judges Committee which evaluates potential candidates, reviews the needs of the show, determines who fit the criteria and makes the selections.
Our ring stewards are handled by our Chief Ring Steward who is contracted by KCPS. We work together to locate the best stewards available, many of whom have stewarded for KCPS for years.
7. Are Breed Seminars and Judges Education offered?
Sandra Groeschel: At the present time, we do not have a facility to hold breed seminars and/or judges’ education. KCPS is working with Golden Voice (managers of Empire Polo) to determine future needs and desires. Golden Voice has confirmed the desire for a long-term relationship with KCPS. Together, we will evaluate all possibilities of the entire Empire Polo compound (78 acres).
8. How are your show(s)/cluster promoted? TV? Radio? Print Media? Social Media?
Sandra Groeschel: The New Year Classic is advertised in various media. It is advertised in local, regional and national magazines, articles and photos are included in local newspapers, and AKC-TV does a “live feed” of the KCPS all-breed shows all day on Saturday and Sunday. KCPS has both a website and a Facebook page where we heavily advertise our shows. Many of our exhibitors and clubs also help to promote KCPS and its shows!
9. What are some of the challenges that you’ve had to face as show/cluster chair?
Sandra Groeschel: The best approach to a successful show is to work on your show year-round and be prepared for almost anything. The biggest challenge is keeping a club’s judging slate intact!
10. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, what have you and your club members learned about putting on a dog show?
Sandra Groeschel: What, if any, are the differences from previous years and how are you planning for the future? COVID has been a challenge. KCPS has been very careful to research all of the aspects and trends of COVID. We follow all local mandates and use our own club meetings as “test” settings. Fortunately, we have doctors and lawyers as club members who can advise us regarding the best approach to dealing with COVID and the dog show environment. KCPS will be proactive in dealing with COVID at all future shows.
The Kennel Club of Palm Springs is one of the premier dog shows in the US. Our shows are listed among the four largest dog shows in the country by the AKC and is the largest show west of the Mississippi. It is also one of the top listings on the “bucket list” of most dog show exhibitors!
The best approach to a successful show is to work on your show year-round and be prepared for almost anything. The biggest challenge is keeping a club’s judging slate intact!
The Kennel Club of Palm Springs | Sandra Groeschel