The Myrtle Beach Kennel Club hosted its annual dog show for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic began. Dog owners travelled from across the country to compete. The event organizer said the turnout was greater than expected.
“This is about 300 dogs more than we’ve had in the past,” Myrtle Beach Kennel Club President Stacy Alger said, “People have been desperate to get out to a show because they haven’t been able to show for a year.” She said events like these were difficult to put on because of the pandemic. Competitors weren’t the only ones missing the events; vendors also struggled without the shows.
“They’ve probably only been able to go to half to a quarter of the shows they usually go to,” Alger said, “It’s been financially horrible for them.” Vendors at the event sold food, dog toys and dog beds.
“This is actually the first dog show I’ve done in a year and a half because of the COVID,” Wayside Kennel Gear owner Kim Petrone said, “I make a lot of the things I sell, so I kind of shifted gears and started making masks.” She said she used to travel frequently to sell at dog shows, but has become more dependent on wholesale orders from stores. Vendors and competitors alike said they were happy to be back.
“You meet up with friends you haven’t seen in a while, so it’s half social and half having fun with your dog,” corgi breeder Paula Botkin said. The show was held at the Southeastern Agricultural Event Center. COVID-19 protocols like a mask requirement were in place.