Many aging clubs in out-of-the-way locations are now confronting their future viability.
Fri, 05/10/2024 - 10:41am

Editorial: May 10, 2024

What happens next?

Last Sunday’s running of the 150th Kentucky Derby, the oldest sporting event in the United States, is now in the history books, with the photo-finishing winner Mystic Dan. We now anxiously await the winner of the second-oldest continuous sporting event in the United States — the Westminster Kennel Club. We allow the problems that Westminster incurred when the remodeling of its historical home, Madison Square Garden, left no room for the benching. A move was imminent, and to keep that place in history the powers-that-be at the time relocated to a venue they were very familiar with, Lyndhurst, and then to the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. Other clubs are not so fortunate to have the resources and working talent necessary to address dropping entries and dwindling venue sites.

In a recent conversation, the former president and show chairman of a local club says they now find themselves in this situation, citing out-of-the-way show venues, falling entries and an aging club membership. Discussions on finally facing the sad but realistic decision to disband the club, stop hosting dog shows and donate what monies are left to dog-related charities are becoming more the norm than years ago. If the intentions of the current membership are to disband, what prevents another ambitious person from resurrecting that recently dissolved club? Do the current caretakers of the name of the club have the right to keep it from not being resurrected, or is it up for grabs, taking advantage of the club’s storied history and keeping it as their own? Does the American Kennel Club protect these clubs’ names? Once disbanded, should there be a required amount of time until the club can be reactivated? What becomes of the challenge trophies and other club belongings, and how are they disposed of?

There are a lot of questions and big decisions to address before the close of that final chapter of a club’s history. But these are thoughts for another day. This week it’s all Westminster … from the obedience and agility competitors over the weekend and the conformation judging on Monday and Tuesday of the coming week. No doubt we will see you there … Safe travels and best of luck at the show.



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