Westminster offers Junior Scholarship Awards
Continuing its popular program which was created in 2010, The Westminster Kennel Club offers Junior Showmanship Finalist Scholarship Awards. These awards go to the eight Junior Showmanship finalists at the show for their use in post-secondary schooling for college or technical school of their choice.
Based upon the results of the Junior Showmanship Finals judging, the scholarships awarded will be distributed among the finalists as follows:
Each of the remaining four Finalists will be entitled to receive a $500 scholarship award.
- First place: $6,000
- Second place: $5,000
- Third place: $4,000
- Fourth place: $3,000
These Westminster Kennel Club Junior Showmanship Finalist Scholarship Awards will be awarded for post-secondary schooling at the duly accredited college (two or four year) or technical school of the recipient's choice, provided that written verification of the recipient's status as a current full-time (12 credits or more per semester) student is received by the Westminster Kennel Club directly from the selected educational institution. All monies will be held by the Westminster Kennel Club until such verification is received, and then will be paid directly to the educational institution and not to the Award recipient.
"Winning Westminster was not just a dream come true, it was a passion fulfilled through hard work and the support of many. My advice to other juniors is to take it all in, every win, loss, and experience. Learn all you can and enjoy the friends that surround you in the sport because before you know it...you are all grown up!"
-- Cassandra Clark, Westminster's Best Junior, 1997
"The future of the sport" - another Westminster tradition
By Kate Eldredge
While the Westminster Kennel Club staged its first dog show in 1877, there is one popular feature that was added later that has become a big part of America's Dog Show.
Since 1934, the world has been watching "the future of the sport" perform in what began as the Children's Handling Class, originally established through a partnership with the Professional Handlers Association (PHA). Over that time, the "future of the sport" in fact has become the sport, as the young handlers grow up and eventually end up on center stage with breed, group and even best-in-show winners.
About The Competiton
The popularity of Junior Showmanship at The Westminster Kennel Club has endured and flourished since 1934 as an important part of the show and a reflection on its role in the great family sport of showing dogs. The fact that the young people are the future of the sport is never more evident than at Westminster, where participants go on to careers in dogs or to carry on family tradition over generations of children and parents.
In this competition, the young people are judged solely on their handling skills independent of the traits of the dog. But while handling, care and responsible ownership are important lessons of Junior Showmanship, so is learning social skills and sportsmanship, as well as the opportunity to bond with one's dog.
Childrens Handling, as it was called in those early years, was first offered for boys and girls under 15 years of age and judged by members of the Professional Handlers Association. In 1951, it became Junior Showmanship.
Junior Handlers are invited to enter if they have been Best Junior Handler (with competition) at seven or more AKC Licensed or Members shows held between November 1 and October 31 of that twelve-month period preceding The Westminster Kennel Club show, and who were at least 9 years old and under 18 years old at the time of each qualifying win.
Through the years, Best Junior has been won by 53 girls and 25 boys; 14 winners have come from New York, 10 from California and nine from Pennsylvania. For a complete listing of winners, see the History and Records section.
The Junior Showmanship Finals judge for 2015 is Mr. Michael Dougherty of Escondido, CA.
The Junior Showmanship Preliminary judges for 2015 are Ms. Joy Brewster, Newtown, CT and Mr. Robert Slay, Cary, NC.
The name of each Best Junior Handler will be inscribed on a brass plate that will be affixed to the base of a bronze statue created by Damara Bolte and donated by the Professional Handlers Association. The Bronze, created in memory of professional handler Tom Tobin, is a figure of an Irish Setter trotting on lead beside the footprints of his handler. This piece will be on display at The Westminster Kennel Club show each year.
The Westminster Kennel Club offers at its show, the Leonard Brumby, Sr. Memorial Trophy to the winner of the Junior Handler competition.
The Professional Handlers' Association, Inc. offers an 8" x 10" S.S. Picture Frame to the winner of the Junior Handler competition in memory of Tom Tobin.