Top dogs show stuff in the ring; officials as well

Jul 30, 2017 By Randy Tucker, Staff Writer

You might say the show has just gone to the dogs, but then again, it is a dog show. The dog agility competition is one of the favorite events at the Fremont County Fair, but it wouldn't be possible without a lot of hard work behind the scenes before, during and after the event.

Lander's Carrie Jo Calvert is one of the superintendents of the dog show and has been around dog handling for a very long time.

"I became involved in the world of dogs over 40 years ago," she said.

Calvert has 35-plus years working with children and dogs in 4-H and has worked as the dog show supervisor at the Wyoming State fair in Douglas the last 13 years.

"I have a kid who is 28, and she started when she was 2," Calvert said. "We've worked with anything that walks on four legs. Through my daughter we've had a lot of experience."

Calvert has one of the longest tenures in all Wyoming working with young people and canines.

"I just like the kids and the dogs. They're all different," Calvert said. "We've done this a long time."

Becki Weber comes from a professional background that might seem at first to be at odds with a superintendent at a county fair, but her work as the Riverton animal control officer melds well in the dog show and agility rings.

"I started out as a 4-H mom helping my daughter Becca when she was 8," Weber said. "As it materialized I started helping more and worked with Carrie Jo."

Weber's work with animals began at the Lander Animal Hospital, where she assisted veterinarians. Becki and husband Ron ran cattle originally near Lander but purchased the Myron Jarvis farm near Boysen Reservoir seven years ago.

Their aforementioned daughter Becca, is this year's Fremont County Fair Queen. She's a recent graduate of Shoshoni High School.

Becki Weber's work as an animal control officer in Riverton has been challenging and rewarding.

"The animal control job was a good fit," she said. "I enjoy helping people and their dogs. I like my job."

She had strong praise for the PAWS organization as well.

"I'm amazed at the good things PAWS does with dogs and cats."

Mary Elizabeth Petro is a longtime parochial elementary teacher at St. Margaret's Catholic School in Riverton. There might be a connection between working with energetic children and clerking the dog shows at the county fair for the Hudson resident.

"I worked with 4-H, but we lost kids, and our groups disbanded," Petro said. "A friend of mine got me hooked on the dog shows."

For the past eight years she's worked as one of the clerks in the dog shows, and she appreciates the job.

"I like the interest level and seeing the children participate."

Sitting next to Petro through the morning events was Iva Korell of rural Riverton. Korell has worked the dog show for the last five years, but her experience at the fair dates back a quarter-century.

"I started 25 years ago with the horse show," Korell said. "I just did the horse show until my daughter Kathy was in college."

Korell also works the cat show and an entertaining event called pocket pets which involves show lizards, snakes and frogs.

"It's fun," Korell said. "I was leery of it at first but really enjoy it now."

While the superintendents and clerks are all local women, the judge for this year's event came up Friday from Fort Collins, Colorado. From the paw print tattoo on her right foot, it's easy to see Kelsey Conley is a dedicated dog person.

She lived in Riverton as a young child but spent most of her youth in Gillette.

"I started as a 4-H participant," Conley said. "I enjoyed the experience."

Conley works as a dog groomer in Fort Collins and recently earned status as a National Master Groomer.

"I've always been obsessed with dogs," Conley said. "I was asked this year to judge agility."

The agility course was designed by Conley this year.

"I designed the course with their equipment," she said. "They asked me to design it with the equipment they had."

The agility competition takes place in a cordoned-off area of the rodeo arena, while showmanship takes place under the big tent in the livestock showmanship ring.

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