By David Rogers. January 31, 2016. BLOWING ROCK, NC — “Shakira” is unlikely to be called in as a judge on reality TV’s “The Voice” anytime soon — unless it is to evaluate the howling in a kennel full of canines — but she walked out of Blowing Rock School gymnasium as the double winner in the annual Winterfest dog show, Winter Paws on Sunday afternoon. Not to be confused with the music industry personality, this blonde bombshell named “Shakira” was judged to have the best “wiggle butt” and to put an exclamation point on the award, was named “Best In Show.”
COVER IMAGE: “Chewbacca” chasing light in Best Dog Trick category.
A SLIDESHOW of 80 images from Winter Paws is at the bottom of this article.
Always a Winterfest favorite, Winter Paws keeps getting bigger and bigger and this year featured a record number of hounds in benefit of the Watauga Humane Society.
Blowing Rock’s Winter Paws dog show is not to be confused with the Westminster Kennel Club’s internationally televised event in New York, but probably a lot more fun than that Empire State canine extravaganza. Dr. Chris Benson served as emcee for the event this year, which focused once again on six judging categories: Best Wiggle Butt, Best Winter Wear, Most Mysterious Heritage, Best Dog Trick, Best Dog-Owner Lookalike, and Most Crooked Smile.
Speaking of magistrates, the 2016 edition of Winter Paws was served by three judges who had each previously served in that capacity: Celeste Phillips, Bo Henderson, and Alice Roess. Ms. Roess explained to Blowing Rock News, “There are no special qualifications for being a judge other than you have to like dogs and they joy they bring to us human’s respective lives.”
The Best Wiggle Butt category may well have been the toughest to judge if for no other reason than the number of entries. “Shakira,” with owner-handler Crystal Wilson of Boone getting extra style points for her showmanship skills, was a crowd favorite. Tina Turbett’s “Mac” won second place.
“Pajama Party” was a group effort in winning the Best Winter Wear category. Owned by Jackie Dyer of Boone, “Brownie,” “Sprout,” “Grady,” and “Chewy” were clad in matching sleepwear. Newton’s Becky Brooks captured second place in the category with “Samantha,” who amazingly was conferred runner-up honors in no less than three categories.
While Richard O’Brien’s “Lacey” won top honors in Most Mysterious Heritage, second place was a tie between the aforementioned “Samantha”, along with “Diesel,” brought to the show by Dee Dunham.
There were some novel tricks to treat the jam-packed grandstands in the Best Dog Trick category, but Corey Maple’s “Chewbacca” ran away with the title after delighting the crowd by chasing a light around and around on the floor. Several dogs deftly did the rollover and sit routine, but another nifty trick was placing a treat on a dog’s nose, only to have the hound flip it up on command and catch it in mid-air. “Samantha” was again runner up in this category.
A librarian’s look made all the difference for Darcy McLane and her “Sarah” in the Best Dog-Owner Lookalike category. Both sported spectacles. Second place went to crowd favorite Ben Henderson of Boone and his “Izzy.”
Most Crooked Smile honors were award to Donna Willett and her “Woodrow,” with “Duke” in second place shown by Lesli Billingsley.
Editor’s Note: If there are any misspellings in the reported names of dogs or their masters, event organizers had trouble reading some of the hieroglyphics on the registration forms!
The Humane Society used the occasion to promote its “Diamond Dogs” and “Adopt Me” programs, introducing several dogs available for adoption. Additional information can be obtained at the Watauga Humane Society website: http://wataugahumane.org/