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Wet noses, wagging tails, friendly competition greet 4-H dog exhibitors

class winners and their dogs pose with ribbons

DIXON, Ill. — It was a day filled with wet noses and wagging tails as more than 150 dog owners competed for championship honors in the 2023 Illinois 4-H State Dog Show held Aug. 26 at the Granny Rose K-9 Enrichment Dog facility in Dixon.

4-H members who excel in the 4-H dog project are encouraged to compete at the local 4-H dog obedience contest for a chance to advance to the Illinois 4-H Dog Show. Competition in both obedience and showmanship are held. 

“To get to this level of competition, 4-H members devote months of training,” said Dan Jennings, University of Illinois Extension state 4-H animal science educator. “Not only do the dogs have to perform the required tasks, but they must do so in a new environment surrounded by new noises and distractions, including several other dogs in the same arena.”

2023 results included:

Senior Showmanship, Lillian Huber of Effingham County was crowned winner of the senior showmanship division followed with a three-way tie for second by Holly Hawes of Champaign County, Cheyenne Mech of Winnebago County, and Dante Ketelsen of Whiteside County. Fifth place went to Piper Jensen of Lake County and another tie for sixth place rounded out the top placings between Wyatt Buza of Kankakee County and Trevor Westphal of Kendall County.

High Points Advanced honors went to Rachel Gillingham of Stephenson County for her performance in the Graduate Novice Class this year.

The Deborah Orr Memorial Award for most points in a novice class went to Katlyn Miller of Ogle County. The cash award honors the late Deborah Orr who was active in the Kane County dog obedience program.

High Point Beginner honors went to Evelyn Seifert of McLean County after a run-off for the top spot in Beginner Novice 2.

In Junior Showmanship, first place went to Brandon Dismore of Lee County. Other top finishers included Faith Kuster of Henry County, second; Avery Edler of Will County, third; Nora Shaw of Boone County, fourth; Abigail Kolthoff of Boone County, fifth; and Zander Blottiaux of Lake County, sixth.

Beginner Novice 1 Top 5 included: Kaleb Mohr, Hancock County, first; Kari Wier, DuPage County, second; Piper Johnson, Ogle County, third; Lily Hongsermeier, Ogle County, fourth; and Lydia Clemons, McLean County, fifth.

Beginner Novice 2 Senior Top 5 included Molly Ziegler, Ogle County, first; Jorja Peach Redman, Piatt County, second; Alexandra Bruinius, Will County, third; Alexis Modaff, Kendall County, fourth; and Ella Kraft, McLean County, fifth.

Beginner Novice 2 Junior Top 5 included Evelyn Seifert, McLean County, first; Charlie Meyer, McHenry County, second; Nicholas Beeler, Hancock County, third; Gracie Wilson, Edgar County, fourth; and Nina Nageswaran, McHenry County, fifth.

Preferred Novice Top 5 included Cheyenne Mech, Winnebago County, first; Bristol Boster, Henry County, second; Emma Ford, Morgan County, third; Roro Cottrell, Boone County, fourth; and Avery Edler, Will County, fifth.

Novice 1 Top 5 included Katlyn Miller, Ogle County, first; Lilly Westphal, Kendall County, second; Savanna Ford, Morgan County, third; Jacey Smith, Wayne County, fourth; and Ivan Wenger, Stephenson County, fifth.

Novice 2 Top 3 included Ronnie Johnson, Kendall County, first; Avelyn Sacco, McHenry County, second; and Morgan Perez, Champaign County, third.

Graduate Novice top placing went to Rachel Gillingham of Stephenson County.

Rally Novice Junior Top 5 included Daisy Thomas, McLean County, first; Katlyn Miller, Ogle County, second; Faith Kuster, Henry County, third; Evelyn Seifert, McLean County, fourth; and Jaelynn Smet, Mercer County, fifth.

Rally Novice Senior Top 5 included Wyatt Buza, Kankakee County, first; Alexandra Bruinius, Will County, second; Jorja Peach Redman, Piatt County, third; Holly Hawes, Champaign County, fourth; and Maddie Canada, McHenry County, fifth.

Rally Intermediate Top 5 included Ella Kraft, McLean County, first; Wyatt Buza, Kankakee County, second; Morgan Perez, Champaign County, third; Vanessa Edler, Will County, fourth; and Emma Steiger, Rock Island County, fifth.

Rally Advanced went to Molly Ziegler of Ogle County.

Rally Excellent went to Avelyn Sacco of McHenry County.

The Illinois State 4-H Dog Show uses the American Kennel Club regulations as a guideline.

About Illinois 4-H: Illinois 4-H is the flagship youth development program of University of Illinois Extension and administered through the College of Agriculture, Consumer, and Environmental Sciences. 4-H grows true leaders, youth who are empowered for life today and prepared for a career tomorrow. The hands-on approach in 4-H gives young people guidance, tools, and encouragement, and then puts them in the driver’s seat to make great things happen. Independent research confirms the unparalleled impact of the 4-H experience, demonstrating that young people are four times more likely to contribute to their communities; two times more likely to make healthier choices; two times more likely to be civically active; and two times more likely to participate in STEM programs. 

Source/Writer: Dan Jennings, Illinois 4-H Livestock Specialist,

About Extension

Illinois Extension leads public outreach for University of Illinois by translating research into action plans that allow Illinois families, businesses, and community leaders to solve problems, make informed decisions, and adapt to changes and opportunities. Illinois Extension is part of the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences.