633 – The New Voice of Westminster Kennel Club

The New Voice of Westminster Kennel Club

Host Laura Reeves is joined by Valerie Nunes-Atkinson, handler, breeder and the new color commentator at Westminster Kennel Club.

“So I think one of the reasons why I’ve been brought in is because of some of the things that you mentioned, being a handler, having lived it and been there. So I’m hoping to bring the insight from that perspective, from the handler’s perspective, the excitement of it, what goes on a little bit behind the scenes, but then also from a breeder perspective, you know, having bred dogs that have done well there and bred dogs for decades.

“Jason has been a breeder and a handler and a judge, but he’s more from the judge’s perspective and the historical importance of the breeds and details of the breeds. And I hope to bring a little bit of the other type of knowledge. And Chris is our fun guy that asks interesting questions.

“You learn how to listen to someone in your ears and still talk… It’s something, I will say it’s something to get used to. So they’re talking in your ear. ear and they’re counting you down. So literally we have about 20 seconds after the announcer gives all the breed details on that particular breed to make a point about something and keep it somewhat interesting.

“Twenty seconds is a long time, but it’s really not a long time. So to be concise and get your message across and be done before he starts going into the next breed. So they’re counting you down as you’re talking and trying to make your point in these 20 seconds and you have to be done by the time they get to one. Otherwise, someone might be screaming in your ear.

“So learning that and learning how to go back and forth between the three of us and not step on each other, so that you’re not talking over the other person.

“There’s a huge learning curve and we’ll see because, you know, it basically scares the, you know, what out of me to be doing this. And I really considered not doing it. But my dad always told me, and this was before he passed, he said, ‘If you’re not doing something that is scary and challenges you and really scares you, you’re not growing.’ So you’ve got to live your life. You’ve got to push yourself and reach for other goals. And so I’m doing it.

“And that’s where I think, you know, through this broadcast and through Jason and Chris, I mean, we hope to, you know, give breed details. We hope to give breed information to the general public. That’ll be interesting that maybe allows them to think about other breeds and hopefully maybe even learn how to find a preservation breeder.

“I think being able to, for my role, step in and maybe tell some little tidbits of stories or experiences that I’ve had that might bring other people in to say, ‘Hey, maybe I could try that or that sounds fun.’ Or maybe they don’t even know about things we’re talking about like the agility. trial that’s gonna be there as well. There’s other sports within AKC that the general public can do wth their dogs, which is very exciting. And I think it’s a way to bring everybody else, the general public into a scene, what else you can do with your dogs?”