BEST JUNIOR HANDLER
Throughout my years of competing in Junior Showmanship, I’ve learned a lot of things. Some of these things include; how to be a gracious loser, gracious winner, how to balance school and shows effectively, and how to trim the most perfect Springer foot. Despite these things being very important and cornerstones of my Junior Showmanship experience, I also learned the most important thing: it’s really all about having fun, and doing it with a dog you love. I have been fortunate enough to share every victory and every loss with the dog that sleeps on the end of my bed each night, and for that I am extremely grateful.
When I first started Juniors, I had some big goals. I wanted to show at Eukanuba, the Garden, and I wanted to win some Best Juniors. As each year went by I fell more in love with the sport, and each year Gleason and I became more of a team. Throughout our time in Juniors, Gleason and I amassed over 40 Best Junior Handler awards, 38 of which were All Breed Best Junior Awards, as well as Best Junior at the National Specialty in 2008 and numerous specialty Best Junior wins. To finish it all off, this past December Gleason and I garnered the ultimate cherry on top of our career, being awarded the coveted title of Best Junior Handler at the AKC/Eukanuba National Championship. Being awarded Best Junior at Eukanuba also allowed me to be the representative for the United States at the International Junior Handling Finals at Crufts, an experience I will treasure forever.
Since aging out of Juniors in April and graduating high school this year, I am now taking time to focus on my academic career. I am currently enrolled at Western Washington University in the class of 2014, majoring in Business Management. Although I was sad to see my time as a Junior come to end this Spring, it’s not completely over just yet. Gleason and I will be competing at the Westminster Kennel Club this coming February for our last lap around the ring together.
I know I’ve said it every year in every bio I write, but thank you to everyone who has and continues to support me and Gleason in our Junior Showmanship endeavors. It truly means the world to me. The support shown by the Springer and dog show community after winning Eukanuba was one of the most tremendous things I’ve experienced in my life. Junior Showmanship has played a huge part in making me who I am today, and I really can’t thank the people who’ve helped made it all possible enough!
RUNNER-UP TO BEST JUNIOR HANDLER
Sarah Elizabeth Congleton
What a year it has been! In May you could have asked Sarah if she thought Westminster was anywhere in arm's reach this year and she would have said "no." Sarah went into the year not worrying about points or rankings she just wanted to have fun with her little brown and white dog doing something she loves so much.
Between spending 3 weeks on vacation and two weeks with her golden breeder she was a busy girl this summer only getting two wins in two months. Deuce on the other hand spent his summer sleeping on the couch, running off the dock catching dummies and barking at the birds. Even though it has been a challenging year it has truly paid off in many ways. As the team just recently qualified for their fourth Westminster appearance,
Sarah will shortly be entering her last year in juniors and plans to make the best of it.