Last February Nicole Mrzywka and Kaitlyn Johnson of the Orleans County 4-H Heelers Dog Club received national attention when Nicole traveled to New York City to compete in the Westminster Dog Show with her English springer spaniel Champ. Cerise Renaissance Man.
Kaitlyn was featured in a cover story in the January 2017 issue of Front and Finish, a national on-line magazine for dog trainers, with her rough collie dog, Poirot.
Now, they and members of the Heelers 4-H Dog Club have participated in the prestigious National Dog Show, sanctioned by the American Kennel Club.
Last weekend Kaitlyn, Nicole and fellow Heelers Club member Madison Ploof traveled to Philadephia for the show.
Nicole is a junior at Holley Central School, and said this is the second year she has exhibited at the National Dog Show.
This year she competed with her English springer spaniel in the Best of Breed competition; Kaitlyn Johnson competed in the Jr. Showmanship competition; and Madison Ploof competed with her German pincher in the Best of Breed competition.
The National Dog Show is broadcast at noon on Thanksgiving Day on NBC, and Nicole said that although she and her fellow 4-Hers did not make it to the best of show competition for the telecast this year, she was interviewed by Tara Lipinski and Johnny Weir for a segment which will air at some point in the broadcast.
“It was really cool,” Nicole said of the interview, which occurred while she was grooming her dog. “They were very nice people.”
Nicole said several members of the Orleans County 4-H Heelers Dog Club traveled to Philadelphia to watch the competition.
“We all did fundraising as a club,” Nicole said about funding the trip.
Club members who exhibited paid their own entry fees, she said.
Participating in a national event does make her nervous, Nicole said, but she also has lots of fun. She said the show was more crowded than in the past.
“It’s a great experience and one of my favorite shows… next year I plan to make it to the blue carpet,” Nicole said of reaching the portion of the competition which is televised.
She said all club members who attended learned much from the experience which they will be able to utilize as they compete with their dogs in the future.