Since 1877, there have probably been a lot of years where Westminster Kennel Club fans savored the show's results and wondered ahead: what can we do for an encore?
The Westminster Kennel Club's 134th Annual All Breed Dog Show in 2010 will air Monday and Tuesday evenings, February 15 and 16, from 8 p.m. - 11 p.m. ET. It will certainly be another one of those years at Madison Square Garden, especially after the very visible, impactful winners in the past two years in particular.
In 2009, Senior Citizens everywhere celebrated the victory of Stump, a wonderful Sussex Spaniel that became the oldest dog ever to capture Best In Show at the World's greatest dog show. Stump was 10 years, two months and nine days old, more than two years older than the previous age record holder.
Making his win all the more remarkable was the fact that he had nearly died a few years earlier after retiring from the show ring, and that he had not been shown in nearly four years. He quickly became a cover story for AARP magazine.
It was "Beaglemania" in 2008, as a Beagle named Uno was crowned Best In Show. The dog show's loudest crowd ever at the Garden made the first win ever for a Beagle one of Westminster's most memorable wins. Uno went on to make countless public appearances, visit the White House and ride on a float in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.
Stump and Uno were the most recent, but certainly they were carrying on the wonderful legacy established by great dogs like Remedy (1907, 1908, 1909), Brucie (1941, 1942), Bang Away (1951), Storm (1952, 1953), Gossie (1960), DJ (1971, 1972), Pepsi (1983), Shannon (1984), Hatter (1987), Kirby (1999), Mick (2003) and the many others who came before.
So, bring on the script writers. What can happen in 2010?
As always, it will be a wonderful collection of show dogs, with all the great dogs in the same place at the same time, the only time that happens each year. They'll be strutting their stuff in front of another sold-out crowd at Madison Square Garden, in front of millions of television viewers watching it live on USA Network, and in front of millions more on the Internet.
What greater inspiration can there be than to know that everyone in the sport - and then some - are watching. The dogs and their people seem to sense that, and great performances by great athletes abound.
It will take two days to work through the 2,500 dogs that begin the competition at the breed level in 173 different breeds and varieties. In 2010, three breeds newly-recognized by the American Kennel Club will compete at the Big W for the first time ever: the Irish Red and White Setter in the Sporting Group, and the Pyrenean Shepherd and the Norwegian Buhund in the Herding Group.
At the conclusion of the dog world's greatest event, the seven winners in the Sporting, Hound, Working, Terrier, Toy, Non-Sporting and Herding Groups will meet in the final countdown.
When 11 p.m. on February 16 rolls around, Best In Show Judge Elliott Weiss of Eagle, Idaho, will step into the center of the ring and crown the Westminster winner as America's Dog for 2010.
For that great champion, the legacy will have only begun.
About the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show
The 134th Annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show airs on USA Network live on Monday and Tuesday evenings, February 15 and 16, from 8 p.m. - 11 p.m. ET.
The Westminster Kennel Club (www.westminsterkennelclub.org) is
America's oldest organization dedicated to the sport of purebred dogs.
Established in 1877, Westminster's influence has been felt for more than
a century through its famous all breed, benched dog show held every year
at New York's Madison Square Garden.
The show is America's second longest continuously held sporting event.