The Dog Journal

OFCA Breeder Expo

People, people, everywhere. Wow, this event was packed! Attendees from all over the country, and lots of them! You know, I’ve been to this event many times, and each time I leave feeling excited and motivated. All the innovation, education, and excitement brewing at this event is incredible. The crowd as a whole is very friendly and professional, and the vendors and speakers know how to keep an audience engaged. This event happens every year at the Mount Hope Event Center, located in Mount Hope, OH, and this year is actually their 20th annual event! Congratulations, and happy 20th anniversary

The Dog Journal April/May 2023

OFCA Breeder Expo/ Article written by a TDJ representative

This year’s event kicked off on Friday morning first thing at around 8:30 with a kennel tour consisting of a trip to a few local kennels that opened up their facilities for a tour and Q&A from the attendees. These guys put in a lot of effort to make this happen, and definitely go through some bio security risks in the process. I always appreciate their hard work and dedication, and regretfully I wasn’t able to attend this kennel tour.

 These kennel tours are very worthwhile for new and experienced breeders alike, as they get to see a lot of cool things in action and real life, and if anyone is thinking about upgrading their current facilities or building new ones, many priceless ideas can be gleaned. 

In talking to one of the event coordinators, I was informed that here within the next few months, plans are made for 160 plus vet grads from the Ohio State University to tour some local kennels as well. Hopefully we can cover this exciting event in a future article of TDJ!

As the kennel walk concluded, and the participants made their way back to the Mt Hope Event Center, where the rest of the action was to take place, the whole building resembled that of a helter-skelter, bustling environment, with all kinds of people going all kinds of places. With close to 100 vendors setting up their wares, let me tell you, the place was rocking! Event Speaking of vendors, this event always has lots of them, and this year was no exception.

 In fact, according to event staff, vendor participation this year hit a new record. Browsing through and talking to so many different businesses within this industry is so interesting, and the innovation and creativity that happens within always intrigues me.

 I feel like every time I attend one of these events, more new items and services come to the table, and even though we feel like every possible need out there is surely met, and innovation must surely cease, that doesn’t seem to be the case.

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On Friday evening and all day Saturday, a local crew provided a cafeteria style eating experience, complete with grilled sausage sandwiches, fries, home cooked noodles, and of course, dessert. Plenty of tables and chairs were placed in the well-lit, heated building, and if anyone tired of walking, seating was available throughout the event all weekend.

All proceeds from the meal went to a local needy family, which I thought was a nice way to give back to the community. After dinner, the crowd slowly drifted over towards the main presentation stage, where Joe Miller shared his story about life as a cattle “floater” while transporting thousands of cattle overseas on a ship.

I sat spellbound as he talked about his adventures and what life was like on the water, and overseas in a foreign country.

Dr Marty Greer, with revival Animal Health, also covered a topic on “secrets for successful stud dogs” which was very much worthwhile sitting in on. Dr Marty has been a vet for years and written lots and lots of helpful articles on various different topics within the industry, and has helped many breeders become better at what they do.

 After the last speaker finished for the evening, the crowd roamed the vendor section again and slowly disbursed, excited to resume the next day.

On Saturday morning when I got to the event center at around 7:20, everything was in full swing, and people were showing up and filling the building, well caffeinated, and ready for another great day of fun and education. According to event staff, this event draws close to 3000 people on the two days, and I must say I believe it. Lots and lots of people there on Saturday, but the event was very well organized, and the building we were in was roomy, so nothing was overcrowded in my opinion.

 One thing I appreciated was the amount of effort that the event staff put into making this a family friendly event. Like I said, there was seating spread throughout the building all weekend, allowing mothers and their children to sit and rest. Also in the building were some great children’s activities and games, which got used hard by the looks of things. Basketball hoops, corn hole games, a great big “sand box” with shelled corn, and more. At one point on Saturday AKC hosted a color contest for the children, which turned out great. Stacy Mason told me that they had a super tough time deciding on the winners, as their were lots of great entries. Also, early in the morning someone came through an set little toys at different places on the vendor tables, and in our booth we ended up with a little toy horse.

The children did what they called a “scavenger hunt” meaning they had a list of items they needed to find throughout the building, including the little horse in our booth. I though to myself “No one will ever see that little horse” but no more had the horse been set there when the first group of children came through and spied it just like that. I guess we see what we’re looking for in life, don’t we?

Some of the speakers on Saturday where Jonathon Lawler, Dr Fran Smith, Dr Robert Westra, a panel of other local vets, and a panel of ladies sharing their experiences as mothers and kennel owners. I was tied up at the booth all day, and didn’t get to sit in on many of these sessions like I hoped to. I do know that a lot of really great topics were covered, and I do regret not listening in. Of course, the OFCA board also shared updates and information on what’s going on within the organization and the state, as well as the Kennel Evaluation Program they offer to their members.

 Too much went on at this event to fully cover, and so of course, if you would like to fully experience the benefits of surrounding yourself with like minded people with like minded interests, you’ll need to mark your calendar for next year. I can tell you from experience that you don’t make great connections by staying at home, and so one of the best things you can do to improve yourself as a breeder is to simply show up!

Thank you, OFCA board and event committee, for putting on a great seminar!

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The RUFF Report: Legislative Update

Sponsored by Senate Ag Committee chairman Elder Vogel, was introduced and referred to the Senate Ag Committee on May 31. It was presented to the Dog Law Advisory Board at their meeting on June 1, where all comments were favorable, and there appeared to be a broad consensus of support. The bill includes numerous other provisions that enhance the Pennsylvania Bureau of Dog Law’s ability to perform its mission, including more vigorous oversight and inspections of nonprofit and rescue-type kennels. The Pennsylvania Professional Dog Breeders Association (PPDBA), the nation’s oldest professional pet breeders’ association, supports the bill.

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