NBCSports.com

AKC

Team Joy Brings Special Persona to National Dog Show

Leave a comment

They call themselves “The Joy Team,” but when you see the Rogers girls at a dog show venue, you know it’s all about commitment, competition, and character.

And that’s exactly what the audience will get with Sophia, 19; Emma and Faith, 13; and Julia, 9, at The National Dog Show presented by Purina on Nov. 18-19 in the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center. The showcase event is also a Thanksgiving Day TV staple, airing at noon on NBC following the Macy’s Parade.

These New Jersey farm girls, who grew up playing on soccer fields, also fell in love with dogs. Sophia began showing in juniors at age 13; Emma and Faith started in the breed ring when they were 8 and segued to juniors one year later; Julia began showing in Pee Wee junior showmanship at age 8 and jumped to juniors one year later.

The quartet is part of a nine-child household, along with mom, Kim, and dad, Robert, meaning there is seldom a quiet moment in the brick Federal-style Mansfield, N.J., farmhouse built around 1790.

Their 10-acre site is also home to a few other occupants: cows, named Betsy Trottwood and Constance Contraire; a cantankerous donkey, named Noel; a bunch of goats; a couple of barn cats, named Florence and Cuddles; some chickens; and three adopted horses, Maggie, Handsome Harry, and Beauty. There are also six resident dogs: one Great Dane (Joy), two American Foxhounds (Bobby and Glory Be), two Pointers (Grace and Max), and a Labrador Retriever mix (Midnight).

Rogers-photos-_4_
Rogers sisters gather after a big day in junior showmanship in a Delaware show. From left, Emma and Hendrix won Best Junior, Faith and Nadine won Reserve Best Junior and Julia and Captain took first place in their class.

Sophia won the coveted Westminster Kennel Club Junior Showmanship Award in 2016 with Bobby, prompting the girls to name him Westminster Bobby. “He is ready for any adventure the girls want to do, from snuggling on their beds, going with the family to soccer games, following the girls when they ride horses, and saving the world from evil barn cats,” Kim Rogers smiles. And he’s front and center whenever Philly Pretzels and pizza crust are on someone’s plate.

At the National, you’ll need a catalog to keep up with the Rogers girls and what dogs they are showing. In most cases, the dog is co-owned by another party. Altogether, the four, plus granddaughter Emily, 5, will handle 10 dogs.

The odyssey from soccer to dog show, while filled with challenges, has resulted in a wide network of richly nourishing foundations and friendships for everyone.

“One of the most beautiful aspects of our soccer family turned dog-show family is that it has been a successful journey because of the investment of responsible and caring dog people,” says Kim Rogers. “My daughters can’t imagine not being involved with the world of dogs.

“When we decided to add a new puppy to our family, we never imagined what an amazing journey this newest member would lead us on. Nor did we realize what doors would be opened for our children and new paths our family would travel together.”

Rogers-photos-_3_
After finishing grooming Hendrix, a Bloodhound, Emma Rogers, left, and Faith get in some special smooching time at the Blue Crab Cluster shows in Richmond, Va., last July.

It began seven years ago, when 12-year-old Sophia wanted to show the family’s new Great Dane puppy, Joy. A nearby kennel, where the handling class was conducted, also hosted a canine 4-H club, sponsored by the Burlington County Kennel Club. So all the pieces fit together nicely.

The Rogers became members of the canine 4-H club and the kennel club, and Sophia began junior showmanship and rally. It wasn’t long before she discovered the new title of grand championship, then owner-handler competitions.

This sparked interest from her twin sisters, Emma and Faith. “We told the children that it would take the combined cooperation and effort on everyone’s part to make this work,” explains Kim Rogers. “They would all be critical parts of the team. The Joy Team was named after the dog, but also to remind everyone to have fun.”

The twins were like sponges, Kim Rogers adds, watching and eager to begin to show, too. “There were endless dog shows at our home with plastic toy dogs, stuffed dogs, and borrowed real dogs. We realized this was more than a passing phase. We saw the rewards of teamwork, responsibility, good sportsmanship, perseverance, determination, hard work, and acts of unselfishness. The girls were flourishing with this new passion.

“What we didn’t expect was, from the very beginning, an outpouring of kindness, support, and encouragement from the dog show community. We found an extended family for which we are extremely grateful.”

 

Rogers-photos-_5_
The Rogers’ granddaughter, Emily Karatka, 5, shows off Gracie, a Pointer, in Pee Wees at the Burlington County Kennel Club show in New Jersey.
Emma captures her early love affair with dogs beautifully: “There was once a little girl who got to play with the most beautiful dogs in the land. Some were enormous friendly giants and some were tiny cuddly balls of fur. But all had hearts of gold and showed the little girl the secrets of goodness, faithfulness, and unconditional love. Each one left its paw print upon her heart. That little girl’s story is my own.”

While transitioning from soccer to dog show handling. Emma and Faith learned it was difficult to juggle their schedules and be competitive in both.

“We have tried to teach the girls to honor their commitments,” Kim Rogers adds. “If you are on a team, your team commitments come first. Your teammates are depending on you. Life is full of hard choices. Emma and Faith chose to stop travel soccer in order to show more. This year they are playing on a high school team. Sophia put soccer first and dabbled in juniors, but as her knee became more painful she stopped travel soccer and just played on her high school team.”

Sophia attends Rowan College at Burlington County (Pemberton, N.J.) on a soccer scholarship, and she has reduced her dog show schedule. Julia is playing travel soccer and will participate in juniors, working around her soccer team’s schedule.

Scheduling for the four is a juggling act, with mom and Sophia serving as dual choreographers. Sophia keeps track of the show calendar, suggests those to enter, and lets mom know the closing entry dates. Some entries wait until the final day.

 

Rogers-photos-_10_
Sophia Rogers, 18, with Bobby, an American Foxhound, takes a break from training at Allen’s Kennel, where the girls take classes. The facility is a 20-minute drive from the family’s Mansfield, N.J., home. Photo by David Swanson/ Philadelphia Inquirer.

To minimize expenses from hotel stays and extra meals, the bulk of Team Joy’s shows are within a three-hour radius of home. Target events in addition to The National Dog Show are the AKC National Championships in Orlando in December, and the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in New York City in February, as well as breed nationals, depending on where they are held.

Seldom does the family find time to push the pause button. Training also must be factored in to a virtually non-stop schedule. Each Thursday night, the girls travel to Allen’s Kennel for two-hour sessions. And almost every weekend, you’ll find the girls competing at a Northeast show. “The twins would be happy to show every weekend,” laughs Kim Rogers, “but I try to maintain a balance in everyone’s schedules, needs, and desires, with the realization that there is only so much time and money.”

Add to that the doggy sleepovers, where the co-owned dogs will come to the Rogers farm, enabling the girls to establish a working relationship in a relaxed environment and providing Sophia, who recently received her juniors judging license, a chance to provide her sisters with handling tips.

All of their interactions aren’t limited to their home turf. You might find them at Norwegian Buhundbreeder Elsa Turner’s home working with young puppies or at Rhodesian Ridgeback breeder Jeff Lentsch’s residence for mentoring and encouragement. Turner and Lentsch co-own dogs the girls show in junior and breed competition.

They also spend time with countless others in the extended Team Joy family, from Pat Foley, their trainer at Allen’s Kennel, to all of those who share their dogs with the girls on the show weekends.

Rogers-photos-_11_
Team Joy, from left, Emma, Faith and Julia gather with Joy at the AKC National Championships in Orlando, Fla., in 2013. Emma and Faith were 9 and Julia was 5.

Robert Rogers attends the AKC National Championship each year in Orlando, but is usually the overseer of the couple’s four boys when the girls and mom are at a show. “I support all of our children’s dreams, goals, and interests,” he explains, “but I don’t enjoy dog shows. However, I see the good things that participating in this sport have brought to my daughters, and I am grateful.

“When I saw my previously shy little Emma in the arena at Eukanuba in 2014 under the lights step out so confidently to take on what she wanted, how could I not see what a big impact this sport was having in their lives?”

“My dad supports us 100 percent,” emphasizes Sophia. “None of this would be possible without him. He is a hero to all of us. We couldn’t do this without the help of our brothers, too. It truly is a family team.”

The dog show world, the girls agree, is more than flash and flair. It also involves growth and grit. Life’s lessons, family bonding, and cultivating new friendships will shape their characters and cement their foundations for decades.

Rangers betting favorites in Original Six matchup against the Bruins

Getty Images
Leave a comment

The New York Rangers and Henrik Lundqvist have had the Boston Bruins’ number for years, and they’re catching a banged-up Bruins club that has been sporadic to say the least early in the NHL season.

The Rangers are a -135 home-ice favorite with the Bruins coming back at +115 with a 5.5-goal total for their meeting on Wednesday at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

The Rangers, with Mika Zibanejad averaging a shade more than a point per game, come in on a four-win streak, while the OddsShark NHL Database shows that New York is 5-0 in its last five home games against Boston. The Original Six inter-division rivalry has been home-slanted, with the host going 7-2 in the last nine matchups.

Boston is 6-4-3 so far this season, but nine of its 13 games were on home ice and they have yet to win back-to-back games this season. The Bruins’ scoring depth is also compromised significantly with forwards such as Brad Marchand (upper body), David Krejci (back) and Ryan Spooner (groin) all certain not to play. That could lend itself to the Bruins trying to build a defensive shell around goalie Tuukka Rask and trying to frustrate the Rangers.

New York, 7-7-2 on the year, has been scoring in bunches through Zibanejad, J.T. Miller and Pavel Buchnevich, among others. Lundqvist has been off to a slow start and the total has been at least seven goals in five of the Rangers’ last six games, but the law of averages would suggest that trend could flip.

The total has gone over in four of the Bruins’ last six road games against the Metropolitan Division. The total has gone over in five of the Rangers’ last six home games.

Also on Wednesday, the San Jose Sharks are in a pick’em matchup on the betting lines against the Tampa Bay Lightning. The total is also set at 5.5 goals.

Tampa Bay, which is out of the starting gate rapidly with an 11-2-2 record, comes in with key scorers Steven Stamkos (eight goals in 11 career games against San Jose) and Ryan Callahan (seven in 11) carrying impressive track records against the Sharks. Right wing Nikita Kucherov also leads the NHL in goals.

The Lightning are playing the front end of back-to-back games and are 4-1 in their last five games when they were slated to play the next day. Tampa Bay also has a healthy lineup, including a standout first defense pairing of Victor Hedman and Jake Dotchin.

That said, the Sharks, who are 8-5-0, have been good at the HP Pavilion Arena against Eastern Conference teams that are making the three-time-zone trip to Northern California. Led by D Brent Burns, the Sharks are 6-1 in their last seven games against Eastern teams. San Jose is also coming in with a three-day break since its most recent game, so it will certainly have the energy to put up a fight against a Lightning side that is deeper offensively. Goalie Martin Jones will also be available to make the start.

The total has gone under in four of Tampa Bay’s last five road games against Pacific Division competition. The total has been 5.0 or fewer in San Jose’s last six games.

“THE PERFECT DOG” children’s musical casts 12 Delaware Valley Thespians

National Dog Show
Leave a comment

BERWYN, PA. (November 2, 2017)— A dozen Delaware Valley actors, including five children under the age of 13, will perform in the Footlighters Theater presentation of The Perfect Dog, a children’s musical adapted from the book written by actor and TV personality John O’Hurley.

The four-show run in November is part of National Dog Show Month in Philadelphia, leading up to the annual National Dog Show at the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center in Oaks. The Perfect Dog performances are set for Friday, Nov. 10 (7 p.m.), Saturday, Nov. 11 (7 p.m.) and Sunday, Nov. 12 (2 p.m.), with a special encore performance Thursday, Nov. 16 (7 p.m.). The encore performance will include a talk-back following the performance with O’Hurley, who will be at the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center for the Kennel Club of Philadelphia’s National Dog Show that weekend.

O’Hurley is the Seinfeld ensemble actor (Elaine’s boss, J. Peterman) and the author of three books about dogs and their unique place in our lives. O’Hurley has become a fixture in American TV homes as host of The National Dog Show Presented by Purina, which is taped at the Expo Center in Oaks for broadcast nationally on NBC Thanksgiving Day.

Tickets can be purchased at the door or online at www.footlighterstheater.com.  Advance purchase is recommended to avoid disappointment.  Further information about tickets for individuals or groups can be obtained by contacting Sue Scott at sue@footlighterstheater.com or 484.802.4505.

The storyline entails Sam, a twelve-year old perfectionist, searching for a flawless dog to enter in the town’s dog contest. Unable to find a canine that measures up, Sam must resort to training the family dog, Max, who is less than eager to obey commands. In the end, Sam and Max learn that there is no such thing as perfect, but there is such a thing as being perfect for each other. Music is by David Abbinanti (Ghost, Saturday Night Fever, Ring of Fire) and the script is by Jill Abbinanti (Law & Order, CSI-SVU, Pan-Am).

The cast for the production is as follows…

Role Cast Member Hometown Area Kids’ Age
Sam Brown Aly Brisbois Gilbertsville 11
Max John Keefrider Skippack
Charlie Drew Kampf Paoli/Main Line 12
Mr. Brown John D’Alonzo Ardmore
Mrs. Brown Sandy Yozviak Penn Wynne
Ideal Ida/Mrs. Hayes Lisa d’Annunzio Malvern
Party Friend Reagan Vining Boyertown 10
Alex/Party Friend Joey Casey Boyertown 11
French Poodle Lisa Bassett Collegeville
Yorkie Zofia Mecca Malvern 8
British Bulldog Pete Rolston Berwyn
German Shepherd Mark Sborini King of Prussia
Director Teri Leahy Ardmore
Producer Sue Scott Exton
Music Director Gina Diorio Wayne
Asst to director Alysse Cooper King of Prussia 15
Stage Manager Emily Sturz King of Prussia

 

Footlighters Theater is the Main Line’s oldest community theater providing premier theater arts productions for the region since 1929. They produce a six-show season of plays including at least two musicals in an intimate 110-seat historical converted church dating back to 1888. “The Perfect Dog” is one of two fundraising productions in the current season; the 4th annual “Broadway Sings” cabaret will return March 2-4, 2018.  A 501c3 non-profit entity, the all-volunteer theater is committed to producing outstanding productions and to providing the involvement and education of our community in the theatrical arts.

National Dog Show Month in Philadelphia also included its fourth annual National Dog Show Charity Walk on Saturday, October 15 in Wayne. Upcoming events are The National Dog Show Art Exhibit at Exhibit B Gallery in Souderton, Pa (Oct. 27-29), The National Dog Show Press Preview and The National Dog Show Gala.

The Kennel Club of Philadelphia’s National Dog Show is set for Saturday and Sunday, Nov.18-19, at the Expo Center in Oaks with tickets available at www.NationalDogShow.com.