The Westminster Dog Show is a refreshing alternative to usual sports | David Whitley

David Whitley
The Gainesville Sun
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If you’re tired of the usual sports rigmarole, you’re in luck. The year’s most refreshing sports event is happening as we speak.

It’s the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, and I know what you’re thinking. If you wanted to watch a bunch of dogs run around, you’d have bought Lakers’ season tickets.

I once scoffed at anyone who thought a dog show is a real sports event. Then I stumbled across the Westminster and watched competitors blaze through a 20-obstacle course in half the time it would take an NFL receiver. What’s better, the winner didn’t taunt his opponents after crossing the finish line.

This is the 146th version of the Westminster, making it the second-oldest sports event in America behind the Kentucky Derby. But unlike the Derby, the winner of Best in Show will get no prize money.

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What's not to like about the dog show? 

Among the other Westminster charms:

Any dog/trainer combo with a dream and $100 can enter.

There’s no 45-minute halftime show.

Cops have never pulled the winner over for speeding and found a pound of marijuana under the passenger seat.

There are no Russian judges. 

The Dodgers and Yankees can’t just buy a Westminster championship.

The winner’s never been disqualified for doping.

There’s no transfer portal, so a dog from Pittsburgh won’t suddenly be spotted driving a new Lamborghini around USC’s campus.

Dogs don’t tank in hopes of improving their draft status.

Nick Saban’s dog doesn’t win almost every year.

Dogs don’t step out to readjust their batting gloves, wristbands, helmet and jockstrap between every pitch.

The winner won’t boycott the White House ceremony for political reasons.

No top-rated dog has been sued for sexual misconduct by 24 massage therapists.

Greg Norman isn’t offering competitors $100 million worth of Purina if they’ll join the LIV Dog Tour.

That said, last year’s Best in Show winner, a Pekingese named Wasabi, was treated to a filet mignon.

A new champ will be crowned Wednesday night. If you need a break from the usual nonsense, tune in. You’ll discover how a dog can be a beleaguered sports fan’s best friend. ...

Stud of the Week

SEC baseball, for getting four teams into the College World Series. Two more CWS qualifiers (Oklahoma and Texas) will be joining the conference in 2025.

Stud II: Rory McIlroy, who set a U.S. Open record when two of his tee shots hit the same merchandise tent in one round. Maybe he subliminally wanted to buy a new driver.

Stud III: Altha Williams. The 90-year-old from Sevierville, Tenn., fought off a bear with a lawn chair. She suffered a scratched arm, but the bear’s ego must have been destroyed.

Dud of the Week: The NFL. The Athletic reported the league sent out 4 billion marketing messages via texts and emails to fans in the past year. That’s almost as many as my two teenage daughters. ...

Addendum: I couldn’t decide whether Joe Biden should be Stud of the Week for still riding a bike at 79, or Dud of the Week for falling off when his foot got stuck in the pedal. Either way, he’s no Altha Williams. ... After a 10-year absence, EA Sports will reportedly release its college football game next year. Schools will be split into four pay tiers and paid based on AP Top 25 finishes over the past 10 years. That means it won’t be long until Nebraska will be getting as much as FIU. ...

Westminster Trivia: Male dogs have won Best in Show 72 times, while “bitches” (sorry, that’s what they’re called in dog-show circles) have 41 wins. A dog named Warren Remedy still holds the record with three straight Best in Show wins from 1907-09. The New York Times reported that Warren was “crowned king of the show.” 

Warren was female. She apparently lied on the entry form to dupe biased judges. ...

Clarification: The 4 billion text messages the NFL sent last year does not include the 139,000 Deshaun Watson sent to massage therapists. ...

NBC got mixed reviews for superimposing a football goal post as the target golfers were aiming for as they teed off during the U.S. Open. I just thought it was funny how former Florida State golfers Brooks Koepka and Daniel Berger kept hitting the ball wide left and wide right. ...

Westminster Trivia II: Warren Remedy was owned by a fellow named Winthrop Rutherfurd. I’m pretty sure he later went on a three-hour tour on the S.S. Minnow and ended up stranded on a deserted island. ...

Dustin Johnson’s tie for 24th was the best finish at the U.S. Open among LIV Tour golfers. Ten of the 14 LIV-ers missed the cut. Phil Mickelson finished 11-over par. Speaking of bad golfers, Charles Barkley went on the Pat McAfee radio show and offered his thoughts on the LIV Tour:

“Phil Mickelson got $200 million, and Dustin Johnson got $150 million. Hey, for $150 million I’d kill a relative. Even one I liked.”

The way things are going, Greg Norman might pay Barkley $250 million if he joined and made the cut on a PGA Tour event. ... 

I wish my parents had named me Winthrop Rutherford. ...

That’s about all the space we have for this week’s Whitley’s Believe It or Not. We'll try again next week unless I marry into the Barkley family and Sir Charles decides he needs some money.

David Whitley is The Gainesville Sun's sports columnist. Contact him at Follow him on Twitter @DavidEWhitley

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