Helming the Garden – Westminster Kennel Club

Westminster Kennel Club’s newest show chair, David Helming, has certainly experienced this prestigious events from all ends of the spectrum. Helming took over as show chair for Tom Bradley last year. But he has judged his breed, Newfoundlands, there and, he and his wife, Peggy, bred and owned Josh, the 2004 BIS winner, shown by Michelle (Ostermiller) Scott.

Westminster Kennel Club

The Helmings whelped their first litter of Newfoundlands 50 years ago. Their Pouchcove dogs are iconic in the breed, earning AKC Breeder of the Year accolades in 2005.

“I’m very excited for this year,” Helming said. “I got an email from Tom Bradley the year we moved to the piers asking if I’d be the grounds chair.” From that point, Helming transitioned to several years as assistant show chair to Bradley before taking the wheel last year.

“This is a show of many people,” Helming noted. “We have tremendous staff working on it. It’s a true production.”

Entries at Westminster Kennel Club

Helming noted that this year’s 3200 total entry include 201 of the 202 possible breeds and varieties, 95 junior handlers and a conformation entry that reached its limits for the first time in several years.

“This is the second year televising with Fox,” Helming added. “This is a great group to work with. These are experienced sports people. This year we’ll have new coverages, better camera shots and interviews.”

Westminster Week will air on three parts of the network: Agility Finals, recorded Saturday night, will air on the main Fox channel Sunday afternoon. NatGeoWild will offer *live* coverage of breed judging at the Piers from 1 to 4 p.m. Eastern. And FS1 will return with live showing of the groups and best in show at Madison Square Garden on Monday and Tuesday evenings.

LIVE at the Piers

“We’ve expanded this quite a bit over last year,” Helming said. “It’s exciting for exhibitors and adds a twist that at some point exhibitors and judges at the Piers might be on live television. It’s great coverage for our sport and the event.”

Dog Show 101

Another program Helming touts is Dog Show 101, designed to educate the public and spectators about what they are seeing in the ring. The program, debuted last year to rave reviews. It features judges such as Jim Reynolds, Bradley, Dottie Collier and David Haddock talking to groups of spectators to explain ring procedures, judging criteria and more. Exhibitors receive educational materials along with their personal guidance from some of the sports luminaries.

Helming added that the junior showmanship participants are going to be put to work helping with the Dog Show 101 programs and even the live filming at MSG.

“Cliff Steele (best junior showmanship judge) is going to have a lot of fun and very tough choices,” Helming said.

Listen to Helming talk about the memories of the Garden, the mystique, the essence of what it means to “get out there on that green carpet, get your dog set up and start looking around. The excitement is incredible.”

“It’s hard to find someone who doesn’t have a story”

Today on Pure Dog Talk – Westminster

Join David and Laura as they talk about the intense, exclusive experience that is “The Garden.”