August 22, 2001 | By: Laura Skillman
LOUISVILLE, KY

Lady Bug didn't seem to mind the purple balloons covering a large portion of her body. In fact, the four- year-old Australian shepherd seemed to enjoy the attention her outfit garnered.

Lady Bug and her owner, Kenzie Jenson, 11, of Fayette County were at the Kentucky State Fair on Saturday participating in the 4-H Dog Show.

Kenzie said she thinks Lady Bug likes the outfit and she likes showing her off. "We have fun when we show," she said.

Michele Riley, coordinator of the dog show, said the event brings together children from throughout the state that want to show their dogs at this level. They do not have to win a preliminary show to advance to the state.

"We have a very small dog program compared to a lot of states, so we can accommodate everyone that wants to come," she said.

Participants can choose the number of categories they want to participate in. Those include obedience, confirmation, showmanship, and agility. There's also costumes and drill teams.

There's a mix of first timers and ones who have shown previously. Many participants also have attended dog camp at Feltner Camp in London.

The dog show attracts children who may not have participated in other 4-H activities, Riley said.

"We have a lot of city kids and most of them don't live on any kind of a farm so this is their project," she said. "Then, they get involved in other parts of 4-H through this."

Dogs of all shapes and sizes were resting under the picnic tent awaiting their times in the show ring.

Molly, an Australian shepherd, was standing patiently as sixth-grader Kayla Kelly of Bath County combed her.

Kayla said she likes the competition and the feeling that you can win.

Rebecca Pearson, 13, of Bath County, was putting creme on her golden retriever Sandy's foot pads. The two have won at previous shows. Rebecca also shows her border collie Tess which she says does a better job in the show ring.

It is fun but hard work, she said.

"I have to trim her paws, ears, whiskers and hind legs and brush her and give her a bath and clean her ear where she'd had an infection," Rebecca said. "I usually work with her about every other day but I haven't been lately because it's been so hot."