Wenatchee Kennel Club History

by Willard Fields


WKC celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2011. The earliest written information I have seen indicates that WKC held its first American Kennel Club (AKC) licensed show on September 15, 1963, at the Apple Bowl. Back then, AKC required holding one or two sanctioned matches before a club could hold a sanctioned show for points. Therefore, the club had to be in existence of one, two or more years before 1963. Also, WKC has an embosser with the words "Wenatchee Kennel Club, Inc. Corporate Seal 1961 Washington," which indicates WKC was initially incorporated in 1961.

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WKC held its first AKC sanctioned Tracking Test (TD, Tracking Dog) in 1991, thanks to Suzanne Metcalf for organizing and getting the Club started in hosting tracking tests. There were one or two years of Tracking Tests (Badger Mountain) before 1991, as required by AKC before WKC could hold a test where dogs could earn a title. Then in 1993, AKC allowed WKC to have both TD & TDX (Tracking Dog Excellent) tracks at the test. Since 1991, all of the Tracking Tests have been held in the Palisades. The position of Test Chairman and/or Secretary has been held by LeAnn Traylor, Rita Keller, Shari Shepherd, Barb Steward, Robin Rosay, Eileen Pearl, and Maggy Susman. The average pass rate for TD has been 64%, and the national average is around 55%. The pass rate for TDX has been 10%, whereas the national average is around 17%.

WKC had its first AKC sanctioned Agility Trials in April 2003 at Moses Lake that were chaired by Marilyn Gearhart. There was previously an AKC sanctioned Plan "A" Event in October 2000, chaired by Eileen Pearl, and the Show Secretary was Marilyn Gearhart. The WKC and Ephrata-Moses Lake Kennel Club (EMLKC) have shared weekends in Moses Lake in the spring and in Wenatchee (Confluence Park) in October through 2010, for hosting agility trials. The trial chairs have been Eileen Pearl, Marilyn Gearhart, and Mary Bean.

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The earliest membership list I have is from 1966 with Dr. Robert Brabrook, Peggy Capple, Dr. Harvey Cooper, Harold Davis, Ginny Ray Foster, Mrs. Harley Hallauer, Dr. & Mrs. Frank Herr, Mr. & Mrs. James Jaquish, Grace Lenz, Mr. & Mrs. Ralph Mackey, Wanda Martin, Mrs. Bruce Mitchell, Thomas Morris Jr., Ann Oberg, Russell O'Keefe, Carol O'Keefe, W.J. O'Neil, Mr. & Mrs. Paul Phillips, Mr. & Mrs. Putnam, Mr. & Mrs. Harold Sehorn, Mrs. Owen Watson, Bette Wilder.

I know that Gwyneth Mitchell had a strong presence in forming WKC. Gwyneth and her husband also donated land and helped start up the Wenatchee Valley Human Society in the 1960s. The members who have been with the club the longest have been Pat & Ed Putnam from about 1996, and Pat & Ollie Click from about 1966. Past presidents of the club have included Richard Peterson, Aage Anderson, Alyce Sehorn, Dick Woods, Ralph Mackey, Ollie Click, Jack Snyder, Pat Putnam, Willard Fields, Eileen Pearl, Ann Jensen, Gerald Travis, Glen McKee, Sandy McKee, Walt Gearhart, and Chuck St. John.