Wildwood going to the dogs

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Competition, camaraderie among draws for annual dog show 

OCEAN VIEW – Betty Blank of Ocean View started showing horses competitively when she was 13. Now in her 50s, Blank admits that the horse showing lifestyle had become too expensive and exhausting for her to keep up with. However, she still had her competitive streak, so she began showing her pet pugs.

“I couldn’t just stop showing horses,” Blank said. “It gives me the drive and energy to do things and accomplish tasks. So, I started showing dogs.”

This week, Blank and hundreds of other dog show enthusiasts will take to the Wildwoods Convention Center for the annual All Breed Dog Show presented by the Boardwalk Kennel Club.

Blank began showing her pet pugs in 2006, she said. Currently, she has two pugs: Maxwell, a male 6-year-old grand champion, and Tucker, a male 2-year-old champion, who Blank said might earn his grand champion title by the end of the competition this week.

Maxwell, Blank said, is currently “semi-retired,” while Tucker is still showing.

Before the show begins Wednesday, Blank will start prepping Tucker for the competition. She will have him groomed and trim his nails to have him look his best for the show. According to Blank, pugs are one of the show breeds that don’t require extensive grooming to compete in shows.

“I made sure I didn’t pick one of those breeds that require hours of grooming,” Blank said. “This is a hobby for me.”

Blank said she balanced her hobby with her full time job as a slot systems administrator at Bally’s Casino in Atlantic City.

For her and her husband, the dog shows are an opportunity for them to travel and spend time with their pets.

“It’s a nice atmosphere,” Blank said. “We get to go away for the weekends and show our dogs and be with our pets.”

Blank said that whole gang will travel to shows in their R.V. Because the dogs are only in the show ring for about 15 minutes, Blank said the rest of the trip is filled with meeting new people, checking out the show’s vendors, and going on nature walks when the weather is nicer.

“The lifestyle for a show dog is pretty nice, they get spoiled a lot,” Blank said. “They are number one my pets, number two show dogs.”

Blank said she trained Tucker for about 20 minutes every day when she would come home from work. She would get him used to being led around on the leash, as well as propped up on a table to teach him to sit still during the examination at shows. She said she would invite friends and acquaintances over to help with the process by acting like judges. Her friends would examine Tucker in the same fashion a judge would, to accustom him to strangers examining him.

To compete in dog shows, Blank said she and her husband travel to North Jersey, Pennsylvania, and New York for weekend competitions. The five-day show in Wildwood, she said, is the only local show her pugs compete in.

In South Jersey, Blank said there is an “unknown community’ of people who have show dogs.

“There’s quite a bit more people in the community that show dogs then you realize,” she said. During shows, Blank said she would normally see many repeat competitors, and at the Wildwoods show, there are often more locals because the show is five days.

“It’s hard for some people to travel,” Blank said, adding that the average show takes about two hours for her to get to. “If you’re doing that drive, it’s not so easy for a lot of people.”

The show this week is also a big spectator show, Blank said. She said that the Wildwood show was the first she attended, and went to learn how to start showing her pet pugs. The wide variety of competitions, as well as the grooming station and vendors, made it a beneficial introduction to the world of dog shows, Blank said.

“If you are looking to get into the show it’s a great place to go down there and check it out,” Blank said.

The Boardwalk Kennel Club All Breed Dog Show kicked off Wednesday, with competitions starting at 8 a.m. daily until the show’s close on Sunday, Feb. 3 at the Wildwoods Convention Center.

Ticket prices are $7 for adults, $5 for senior citizens and $2 for children under 12. Tickets will be available at the door the day of the event.

Christie Rotondo can be emailed at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or you can comment on this story at www.shorenewstoday.com. 

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