Gold retrievers: Both Cass County girls win medals at state show

Published 5:52 am Friday, August 18, 2006

By By JOHN EBY / Dowagiac Daily News
Two for two.
Brooke Lamb and Sydney Foote, the only two Cass County 4-Hers who competed in the state dog show at Michigan State University, both returned home with gold medals dangling beneath MSU Extension green fabric Saturday, Aug. 12.
All 83 counties can compete in the state dog show, Brooke said.
There were 270 participants.
Brooke, who judged beginning dog exhibitors at the Berrien County Youth Fair in Berrien Springs Thursday, got first in showmanship and obedience and fifth in agility.
Agility is judged on the dog's speed and accuracy in maneuvering through an obstacle course.
"There's beginners novice and advanced classes," she explained. "You have on-leash, half-and-half and totally off leash. The grad novice they add more things to it. I'm a beginner in the advanced classes. You do two years in each one. With this dog, I started with sub novice A. The next year I went to sub novice B. Then there are two novice, two grad novice, two advanced grad novice, two open and two utilities."
"I could compete in grad novice B" at the 156th Cass County Fair next summer, "but I'm going up to open and skip a class."
The structure of showing dogs is further complicated by various classes divided by age groups.
The county competition also varies a bit compared to the state dog show, Brooke said.
"At the fair I'm half on leash and half off leash and I don't have to do a dumbbell, which at state she had to carry in her mouth and give it to me when I tell her to and go retrieve it."
As its name suggests, it's shaped like the iron weightlifters pump, but made of wood.
"Previous years, all together I've had five silvers, a bronze and a couple of fifths," said Brooke, daughter of Scott and Cathy Lamb.
Brooke, 16, a Union High School junior, belongs to Silver Spurs 4-H.
Brooke for seven years has showed Kelly, a Sheltie, or Shetland sheep dog,
Brooke plans to study science in college for a possible career as a veterinarian.
Sydney exhibited Ripley, a Maltese poodle, in showmanship and Sam – a "Heinz 57 mutt" mixed breed – in obedience "because Ripley doesn't do obedience very well."
There is a broader number of breeds represented at the state show.
One, year Brooke competed against an Afghan hound. Greyhounds and Great Danes also crop up.
Sydney, 11, belongs to Country Clovers 4-H Club. This is her second year as a regular 4-H member after showing as a Pee Wee.
This was Brooke's fourth year at state, Sydney's first.
Sydney got interested in showing dogs watching competitions on television. She will be in sixth grade at Patrick Hamilton Middle School.
Sydney came to Cass County from Lansing as a baby when her parents, Christopher and Megan, bought Spruce Ridge Golf Course on Dutch Settlement Street.
The state horse show is this weekend.