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Snohomish dog wins at Westminster, as luck may have it

Photo courtesy Sarah Evans

Owner Sarah Evans smiles for a photo with Sriracha, her winning Italian Greyhound, during the Best in Breed competition Tuesday, June 18 at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in New York. The judge is displaying their award.

SNOHOMISH — Like Charlie Bucket in “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory,” a golden ticket fulfilled Sarah Evans’ dream.
A shiny ducat admitted Charlie to a fictional confectioner’s utopia.
Evans’ ticket granted her and Sriracha, her almost 2-year-old Italian Greyhound, entry as competitors in the prestigious Westminister Kennel Club Dog Show in New York.
“They send you a ‘golden ticket’ if you’re invited,” Evans said. “I couldn’t believe it when I saw it in my mailbox!”
She was even more pleased when Sriracha won Best in Breed at the June event, which earned a chance to compete for the top overall prize of Best in Show.
“It felt like it was some kind of dream,” said Evans of Snohomish. “Everything was moving in slow motion.”
Evans and Sriracha have accolades, sure, but didn’t have a guaranteed spot to America’s pinnacle dog show. Their ticket to Westminster came by luck of a lottery draw.
She’s been working toward this her whole life. Evans has been training dogs since her mother signed her up for 4-H when she was eight years old. She works as a dog sitter and breeder to support trips around the country to various competitions.
Sriracha is the daughter of a previous Westminister Best in Breed winner. Evans decided her name while eating pho at the airport on the way to get her.
Over the past two years Sriracha has won championships in both show and field events. She is the American Kennel Club’s (AKC) No. 2-ranked Italian Greyhound in the country.
“It’s just a hobby, something to do,” Evans said. “It helps that (Sriracha) loves it so much.”
To prepare for Westminister, Evans increased Sriracha’s training with a focus on keeping her calm.
They practiced in a variety of outside locations because COVID restrictions forced the show from Manhattan’s Madison Square Garden to the grounds of the Lyndhurst Estate in Tarrytown, N.Y.
They flew to New York with Evans’ mother and extended family.
“I was very nervous. I had told everyone to watch us (on TV),” Evans said. “You look around the ring and there are no inferior dogs.”
Sriracha topped 28 other Italian Greyhounds — which are categorized as Toy Dogs — en route to the all-breed Best in Show finals.
Trumpet, a four-year-old bloodhound from Illinois, ended up winning Best in Show among the nearly 3,500 competitors.
“It was a big win for us” to get Best in Breed, Evans said, but the ribbon does not trigger an invitation to defend that title.
So Evans and Sriracha will soon be back on the road, trying to earn enough AKC points to qualify for a return trip.
There are shows in Philadelphia and Orlando before the end of December.
“I work a lot so we can have fun on weekends,” Evans said. “It’s definitely on my list to try and go back next year.”   




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