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Lakeland Ledger

Publication: The Lakeland Ledger
Client: Proctor and Gamble

SOME POLK RESIDENTS competing in the American Kennel Club/Eukanuba show this weekend are, from left: Kyle Lay with Hexi; K.T. Spencer with Suede and Miles; Hannah Elrod with Rocky and Kayla Byrd with Max.
Buy Photo ERNST PETERS | LEDGER PHOTOS
By Gary White
THE LEDGER
Published: Thursday, December 15, 2011 at 8:42 p.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, December 15, 2011 at 8:42 p.m.

K.T. Spencer of Lakeland began showing dogs in competitions when she was 7 years old. Ten years and many titles later, Spencer is taking three dogs to her most prestigious competition yet, the American Kennel Club/Eukanuba National Championship this weekend in Orlando.

Don’t expect Spencer, a senior at George Jenkins High School, to be intimidated.

“I’m really excited,” she said. “I’ve always looked forward to competition. You can win against yourself, but winning over competition is better. It makes you work harder. It brings out the real ‘show-er’ in you because you have to push that much harder to win.”

Spencer, 17, is one of several Polk County residents participating in the event at the Orange County Convention Center.

Nearly 4,000 dogs will compete as their owners vie for more than $225,000 in cash prizes at the 11th annual competition. The two-day event takes place in conjunction with the AKC Agility Invitational, the AKC National Obedience Invitational and three juniors competitions.

Spencer will compete against adults in the main event, the judged contest known as conformation. She will handle Fax, a 4-year-old Papillon, during the competition in which dogs are judged on how well they meet established standards for the breed.

Spencer and Fax will also take part in the junior showmanship division. That competition follows the same format as conformation, but it’s the handlers rather than the dogs who are judged on how effectively they showcase the breed’s classic traits.

As if that weren’t enough, Spencer will run the rings in the junior agility competition with Suede, her 6-year-old, blue merle Australian shepherd. And she is entered in the obedience competition with Miles, her 4-year-old Pembroke Welsh corgi…….continue to link

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