A Dream Come True!

| January 4, 2012 | 3 Comments
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AKC Eukanuba, Juniors Corner


I met Harper Klusman when she was just 9 years old at a dog show where she winning the hearts of everyone sitting ringside. Her Labrador Retriever named Helo was bigger than her, but she went into the ring looking and acting the part of a seasoned professional. As Harper set up and presented her dog to the judge, she displayed confidence and poise that made her parents (Kathy Gibson, MD, and Dan Klusman) proud. Harper continues to improve her skills in the show ring and qualifying for the 2011 AKC/Eukanuba National Championship Junior Showmanship event is one peak of many that she wants to summit!


As I stand outside the ring doing some filming for this interview, Harper asks me if I had any tips for her before she went back into the ring which shows her maturity and openness to feedback. I tell her “to have fun and smile”. Those are the two things I often forget about when I am showing my Labradors. Harper and Helo do just great! Even though she is in the ring with older kids, she does not appear at all flustered. Unfortunately, in the end, Harper and Helo do not make the final cut in this preliminary round but it was pretty clear that the older kids would reign today. Harper comes out of the ring with a smile on her face, armed with the knowledge that she stood in the ring with our nation’s best junior handlers!

I spoke with Harper after her experience at the Eukanuba and she said that winning Best Junior at the Eukanuba is on her list of goals but first she wants to qualify for her next big dream – The Westminster Kennel Club Junior Showmanship event.

Knowing Harper this will not be a problem! Good luck to Harper and Helo!

Qualifying For The AKC/Eukanuba National Championship Junior Showmanship Event

Eligibility to enter the event is based on the Junior’s accomplishments in the show ring and in the classroom.

The requirements are:

  • Juniors must have 5 first place wins in an Open Class, with competition present. Wins must be earned between October 12, 2011, and October 10, 2012. Juniors must be under 18 years of age at the time of the wins. Age on the day of the Eukanuba show has no bearing.
  • Juniors must have a grade point average of at least 3.0 or equivalent for the 2011- 2012 school year. GPA must be verified by an official school transcript or home school information sent in and received by AKC prior to the entry form being sent to the Junior.
  • Dogs must conform to eligibility requirements as described in Conformation Junior Showmanship Regulations.
  • A signed parental permission form must be submitted.

Category : AKC/Eukanuba, Juniors Corner

About the Author ()

Hi, I am Toni Leitão! I am one of the people who came up with this crazy idea for Retriever Life. Retrievers are my life and passion. Oh and I like long walks in the park (especially in the rain) and watching a movie with my Labrador "pillow".

Comments (3)

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  1. Rebecca Gibson says:

    Toni, Thank you for posting the video and information on what it takes to qualify for Eukanuba. We are so proud of Harper and Helo for their accomplishments – this is the next best thing to actually being there!

    • Toni says:

      I have more clips but the sound isn’t as good. I will get them posted somewhere so you can see them. Harper is a great kid with really nice parents (and grand parents).

  2. Maulani says:

    I worked with Dr. Buck and Connie for 3 and 1/2 years. They are as guinnee in person as they appear in this interview! Gabby and Stella are beautiful, well-trained dogs. I have told them, more than once, if they want to duck hunt close to our home, they ALWAYS have a room available at our house. Their dogs are better behaved than most people’s kids!They are truly two of the nicest people in the world, and if my husband had not been transferred, I’d still be working with them!!

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