Our beginning, was the formation of the Arizona Kennel Club. A catalogue for the first AKC licensed show revealed that it was held at the Arizona State Fair Grounds, November 14-15-16-17, 1916, Tuesday-Friday. W.B. Twitchell was the president of the club. The one and only judge for this first show was Dr. George W. Clayton, from Chicago, Illinois. His judging slate consisted of the following: Airedale, Boston Terrier, Bull Terrier, Bull Dog, Cocker Spaniel, Collie, Fox Terrier, and German Sheepdog. Listed under the heading of MISCELLANEOUS were the following: Mexican Hairless; Plaza Theatre offers $2.50 in gold to best Mexican Hairless. Dachshunde; Doris-Heyman Furniture Co. offers one $2.50 Pedestal for best Dachshunde, English Setter, English Toy Spaniel, Fox Hound, Irish Setter, Pomeranian, Pointer, Shepherd, Toy Poodles, and Manchester Terrier. Cost of the SOUVENIR BOOK, as they called it, 10 cents.
A planned second show to be in March or April of the following year was indicated in the book. Duration or activities of the Arizona Kennel club are limited to our one booklet. Browsing this piece of history brought more than one turn of the corners of the mouth, that I will share. Ads offering stud services, ten to fifteen dollars, not to approved bitches but rather, approved matrons. The daily newspaper, The Arizona Republican ad read: “daily and Sunday, 75 cents per month. Five Points Auto Supply Co. Ford cylinders rebored for $5.50. White House Restaurant, home cooking-25 cents dinner.”
Copper State Kennel Club was next on the scene, using the Fair Grounds in November, 1920, the dates, 8-9-10, Monday through Wednesday, with the judging starting at 11:00 A.M. and continuing to 2:00 P.M. on Monday. Starting time on the following two days began at 10:00 A.M. and ended at 1:30 P.M.. The grounds were not open evenings. T. H. Adams, the President of the club also served as superintendent of this bench show. The judge, only one, was James Ewins, ESQ., of Los Angeles, California. Classes listed were: Regular Classes, Pacific Coast-bred, Bred by Exhibitor, Champion, Veteran, Stud Dog, Brood Bitch, Local Class---For dogs owned in Arizona, and Brace and Team. Entries for these classes were from the following breeds: St. Bernards, Great Danes, Russian Wolfhounds, Pointers, English Setters, Irish Setters, Wire Haired Pointing Griffons, Field Spaniels, Cocker Spaniels, Collies, Belgian Sheepdogs, Shepherd Dogs, Old English Sheepdogs, Chow Chows, Bulldogs, Bulldogs Miniature, Airedales, Bullterriers, French Bulldogs, Boston Terriers, Foxterriers, Irish Terriers, Scottish Terriers, Pomeranians, Pekingese, and Brussels Griffons. Reviewing the catalogue revealed changes that have taken place over these many years. First, the cost of the catalogue, (PRICE 25 CENTS), in big print on the cover. One advertisement for SPRATT’S DOG CAKES, also puppy biscuits, located in San Francisco. You could write for samples and send a 2 cent stamp for “DOG CULTURE’. A back page was used by one H. M. Robertson, who had “FOR SALE HERE AT THE SHOW: Scottish Terriers, Irish Terriers, Wire-Haired Foxterriers, Chow, Police Dog, Brussels Griffon and Pekingese,” and noted that they “may be seen by appointment.” Information available did not indicate4 whether this was first show for the club or if others had preceded it. Review of the two clubs’ officer lists did not reveal any duplications of the names on each list.
A catalogue for 1926 indicated it to be the third annual dog show. Little is known to link the years and information together. Our records do not disclose when Copper State terminated and Phoenix Kennel Club begins. We do have a record of the first annual licensed show for PKC. It was held on Wednesday and Thursday, March 21 &22, 1934. The site, Armory; an address was not listed, but it was probably located at 52nd and McDowell Road. Mirado Ball Room, (old timers will remember this as Sciots Auditorium) at 3720 North Central Avenue, served as host for the bench shows of 1935-1939. Sahuaro State Kennel Club was brought into existence in 1940, following PKC’s being dissolved. Alfred Stump served as the first president of SSKC. Records of our club’s first years were destroyed in a basement flood at the home of Gladyse Armstrong, club Historian. A report of the Historian, Helen Anderson, gave the date of March, 1941 as the first licensed show at the fairgrounds. She recorded that we are the second oldest Arizona club, preceded by Tucson Kennel Club. In our archives we have a copy of the SSKC catalogue for the Sunday show held March 24, 1946, with 352 entries. One indication of the changes over the years was seen in the cost of this issue, up to 50 cents. At the bottom of the cover page was printed “THE WESTMINISTER OF THE WEST.” Some billing! The fairground was used for this event as in the past, but it was not a benched show. Now we were up to two judges, Mr. & Mrs. Emmo Meyer, from Ohio.
Things do change: in the catalogue for shows of March 3 and 4, 1954, on the inside front cover page was the following: "NOTE: The Sahuaro State Kennel Club will hold its annual Judge’s Dinner on Wednesday evening March 3, 1954. All echibitors and their guests are welcome to attend. There will be a charge of $2.50 per plate for all residents of Maricopa County. All Handlers and Non-Resident exhibitors are invited to attend as guest of the Sahauro State Kennel Club. The judge’s dinner will be held at “Cudia City”---one of Arizona’s most unique and interesting “Western” dining spots. A bar will be available." Old timers will remember this place. What has happened to our hospitality!
Show locations have been moved around to many different places over the years. We have set up at Glendale Community College and Grand Canyon College. Paradise Valley Park was home for a long time. One year we were made to move the day before the show due to a heavy rain storm; we relocated at Mesa Community College, Superstition’s grounds. The South Mountain Community College site was a near disaster, because of SSKC’s companion rain. Phoenix Civic Center was home for several shows; some thought it wonderful, while others vowed never to show there. Unable to secure a permanent date at the Civic Center, we completed the circle and returned to our original location, Arizona State Fair Grounds, where we feel at home.
The goal of Sahuaro State Kennel Club today, as I am sure it was at its inception, is to serve the community. Breeders and exhibitors of AKC recognized canines. As for our shows, we aim to make them events that provide special attractions, contributing education, entertainment and enthusiasm for our marvelous companions.
Are you interested in what we are trying to do? If so, why don’t you attend one of our regular meetings as our guest? If you are interested in the betterment of purebred dogs, the club needs you and you NEED the club!