Dog show needs sponsor to stay in Wellington

The Wellington Pet Dog Show has set tails wagging happily for the past four years, but unless someone steps forward to run it this year, it may roll over and play dead.

Chuck Mayhugh, president of the nonprofit Mountain West Pet Shows Inc., is looking for someone to take over operation of the event.

“I’d like to see it continue, and I’d like to keep it in Wellington,” he said. “But I can’t continue to take the responsibility for raising the funds.”

Mayhugh estimated that approximately $5,000 was raised for last year’s show, mostly in small donations from about five dozen donors, as well as $25 fees for commercial vendor booths. After expenses, there was enough money to distribute $2,000 among seven different rescue organizations. Rescue groups also received free exhibit space at the event.

Mayhugh said his small volunteer board has helped him run the show since 2008, but none of the members is willing to take complete charge of it. He has offered to give the event to both the Town of Wellington and the Wellington Chamber of Commerce, if they would keep it going.

“They said it was a great event and they support the idea, but they don’t have anyone to take it over and see that it carries on,” Mayhugh said.

Volunteers needed everywhere
That’s because the limited pool of volunteers is also an issue for both the town’s Community Activity Commission and the chamber.

“We don’t have the people or the resources to take it on,” said Jack Brinkhoff, who heads the all-volunteer CAC and serves on the town board and the planning commission with Mayhugh. “It’s taking all of our hands now to put on the Easter Egg Hunt and the Fourth of July celebration, and the dog show falls right in between the two.”

Another issue is that as a governmental entity, the CAC could not solicit or distribute donations to the rescue organizations.

Bill Schneider, chair of the chamber’s board of directors, said his organization is willing to help with fundraising and promoting the dog show, through advertising and on its website, but his group also relies on volunteers to put on chamber events.

“We all have businesses to run, and we’re already busy,” he said. “The dog show is a wonderful community event, but unfortunately, it’s not part of our primary objective.”

In mid-January, both Schneider and Brinkhoff were hopeful that their organizations could work with Mayhugh to find a solution.

But if no one in town comes forward, Mayhugh said his next step will be to offer it to organizations outside of Wellington, such as Animal House Rescue or the Larimer County Humane Society.

“They could use it as a fundraiser, but might not want to hold it in Wellington,” he said. “The location would be up to whoever is sponsoring it.”

Mayhugh started the show in honor of his old black Labrador retriever. It has been held in late June in Centennial Park in downtown Wellington as “a fun Saturday morning family event,” he said.

Mayhugh said that last year’s show attracted 50 entrants. There are no entry fees and fewer requirements to enter.

“If you can put a leash on it and walk it down the sidewalk, you’re in,” Mayhugh said.

Everyone who enters receives a ribbon, and judges award first-, second- and third-place trophies in 12 categories. The human entrants are sorted by age, the canines by height at the shoulder.

Anyone interested in sponsoring the 2012 Wellington Pet Dog Show can contact Mayhugh at Mountain West Pet Shows Inc., P.O. Box 1287, Wellington, 80549, or call him at 970-222-8228 by Feb. 10.

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