International Pup & Handler Weekend a success

ST. LOUIS — From July 6-9, the pup and handler community descended on St. Louis as the International Puppy Contest (IPC) and the International Pup & Trainer Contest (IPTC) came together for the inaugural International Pup and Handler Weekend (IPAHW). The weather was hot, but that didn’t keep the more than 350 who attended from having a weekend filled with fun and packhood. There were a variety of activities, classes, and games for all, topped off by the International Puppy 2018 and International Pup & Trainer 2017 contests.

The weekend kicked off on Thursday with dinner at the Blue Ocean Restaurant before moving on to JJ’s Clubhouse for the opening Titleholders’ Welcome Party. On Friday, the fun really picked up at City Place Hotel with several educational sessions being presented, an all-day mosh area complete with ball pit, and a vendor mart. Also included was an obstacle course in which people could vie for the honor of IPAHW’s Iron Handler and Iron Puppy 2017 awards. In the evening, the festivities moved back to JJ’s as IPC and IPTC joined for the opening segments of their contests.

The fun and energy continued on into Saturday. On Saturday afternoon, IPTC held the Show Ring segment of their contest and later on came the first IPAHW Keynote Dinner, complete with speech delivered by International Trainer 2014, Sir Justin St. Clair. Back at JJ’s Clubhouse, IPC finished off the evening with the Image & Speech and onstage Play Scenes.

The climax came when Pup Dane Stewart was named IPC’s International Puppy 2018 and Pup Dodger and Caressa Lyric Dunn as IPTC’s International Pup & Trainer 2017.

In addition to the new titleholders being crowned, awards went to Pup Ruppy and Northeast Handler 2017 Damien Basile as Iron Puppy and Iron Handler and Pup Micro receiving the Billy Boyd “Trooper” Best in Show Award.

The weekend wound down with a Victory Brunch held at the City Place Hotel.

IPAHW 2017 was sponsored by Square Peg as the exclusive sponsor of IPC’s travel fund,, CLAW, JJ’s Clubhouse, City Place Hotel, and Blue Ocean Restaurant.

The producers of IPAHW are already hard at work for next year’s event, with dates and locations to be announced in the very near future.