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Friday, January 18 , 2019, 8:39 pm | Fair 54º


Ryon Memorial Park in Lompoc Has Gone to the Dogs for Annual Shows

Four days of competition for canines and their owners continue through Sunday

Huge dogs and their human handlers have invaded Ryon Memorial Park, kicking off the annual specialty and all-breed shows that have earned Lompoc a reputation among the pampered pooch population.

Thursday and Friday are specialty shows for the Western Sighthound Combined Specialties, including Irish wolfhounds, greyhounds, Scottish deerhounds, borzoi and Saluki dogs.

Irish wolfhound owner Jim Williams has been coming to the Lompoc event for 15 years.

“It’s just a fun show," he said. "The whole community takes really good care of us.”

Williams hails from Lincoln, near Sacramento. Another friend came from Riverside. Others traveled from Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Colorado, Oregon and Washington.

“We all kind of convene here,” Williams said.

Williams and Ray Kelley of Riverside are partial to Irish wolfhounds. The men own 1-year-old littermates.

Thursday was set aside for the Irish Wolfhound Association of the West Coast, with 55 dogs competing Thursday for the 67th show and 66 hitting the rings Friday for the 68th show.

“It’s a beautiful spot,” said Judy Hughes of Escondido, the assistant show chairwoman and a club board member. “They’re always so friendly and welcome us here. It’s just become a tradition for a lot of us.”

Ted Krajniak of Henderson, Nev., brought Merlin, a 3-year-old Irish wolfhound. Krajniak began showing at the Lompoc event in 2008 and has returned every year since.

“It’s a well-known show,” he said.

Washington resident Tricia Wiseman took her black-and-white borzoi dogs for a walk as the afternoon wind ruffled their plush, silky coats. Borzois are also called Russian wolfhounds. Part of the sighthound breed, borzoi dogs are quiet. They were bred to run and hunt, she added.

“They’re very easy to live with,” Wiseman said. “They like to run for five or 10 minutes and then they’re big couch potatoes.”

After the specialty events, Saturday and Sunday will be all-breed shows, with a best of show winner to be named at the end of each day.

The event is organized by the Lompoc Valley Kennel Club, and the shows are sanctioned by the American Kennel Club.

Action begins at 8 a.m. and continues into the late afternoon. Admission is free for spectators. Assorted vendors have dog supplies along with food and beverages for sale.

In addition to the shows, lure coursing events are planned for Saturday by the Greyhound Club of America, Scottish Deerhound Club of America and Irish Wolfhound Association of the West Coast. The trials will let greyhounds, wolfhounds and deerhounds show off their skills at Cabrillo High School in Vandenberg Village.

Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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