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Sunflower Cluster of Dog Shows to be Held at State Fairgrounds June 6-9


By Brenna Eller


HUTCHINSON, Kan. — If you’re a fan of or have ever seen the Westminster dog shows, you won’t want to miss the Sunflower Cluster! 

The annual Sunflower Cluster of dog shows will be held at the Kansas State Fairgrounds June 6th through 9th. There will be events each day running from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. and many different breeds of dogs to see. 

The Sunflower Cluster is made up of four groups: the Hutchinson Kennel Club, the Salina Kennel Club, the Wichita Kennel Club, and the Wichita Dog Training Club. All clubs are licensed by the American Kennel Club.

Ruth Lloyd, a member of the Hutchinson Kennel Club since 1993, shared that while it might not be quite as fancy as Westminster, the talent and competition at the Sunflower Cluster will be just as entertaining. 

“A lot of people watch Westminster,” Lloyd said. “You can watch some of those dogs at your local show.” 

There will be no admission fee for spectators during the events, and the public is more than welcome to watch. Unentered pets/dogs will not be allowed due to insurance purposes. The entrance for visitors will be at the East door of the Meadowlark Building.

People come from all over the country to participate in this show. In the past, some as far as Canada and New York have come to the Kansas show according to Lloyd. 

Lloyd brings her two Siberian Huskies to shows out of state as well and tries to keep her drive around six hours if she can help it. A few of her favorite travels have been to Bismarck, N.D., Casper, Wyom., and Purina Farms in Gray Summit, MO.

Purina Farms hosts a lot because they have a whole event center just for dog and cat shows. “I love going there, except for the eight-hour drive,” Lloyd said. 

There will be Health Clinics with specialists on Saturday and Sunday on the Fairgrounds. The clinic is available to the public since they will be conducted on the other side of the building. 

Children are also welcome to watch the shows as long as they are supervised. 

In Wichita one year, Lloyd had an encounter with a little girl about six or seven-years-old who put her hand in the crate to pet her Siberian Husky.

She warned the girl that some dogs are bred to be protective, and while her dog didn’t harm the girl, another dog might have reacted differently. She later saw her do the same with a Doberman and she didn’t see the girl’s parents anywhere. 

There will be 18 judges through the weekend; A few Kansans along with many out-of-state judges, from Pennsylvania, Georgia, Texas, Arkansas North Carolina, Washington Oklahoma, Missouri and Australia.

Main events the dogs will be judged on are Conformation, Obedience (highest level dogs will be judged starting at 8 a.m.), rally and dock diving (jumping for distance into a pool and catching an object)

Conformation is defined by the American Kennel Club as the act of conforming or producing conformity. The dogs will be measured by how closely they conform to their particular breed.  

Obedience (trials) is where the dogs will be put to the test of whether they can go with or without a leash, be around other dogs, obey commands and listen to their owner and have good reception.

During a Rally, the dog and their owner will perform through an obstacle course type structure (10-20 checkpoints) with signs instructing what to do along the way. This will show the skills and teamwork between the owner and the dog. 

There will even be an event where the dog will chase a beam of light, called “fast cat.” 

After the dogs are judged in the Individual Breed Judging, they compete for Regular Best of Breed. All are handled by their owners. The 1st place dog in each group will go on to compete in Best of Show. 

There were about 700 dogs last year. The highest number of dogs entered this year is 781 for Saturday’s 4-6-month Beginner Puppy Competition. 

If there is a particular breed or event you’re interested in, you can view the schedule at

“It will be a lot of fun,” Lloyd said. “We always have a good time.” 

Lloyd said there will be another show in Oklahoma City at the end of June.