The Flagstaff Kennel Club was formed in the late 1960’s by a group of Collie fanciers. Dick and Lois Hillman were very important in the founding of the club and were members for many years. Members Wanda McMath, Henry Sheets, John Gordon (first show chair), and Robbie Robbins (very active in obedience) were involved in getting the club sanctioned to hold American Kennel Club shows.
The first Point show was held in June of 1975 and drew an entry of over 1,000 dogs. A Sanctioned Match was also held for many years drawing 200+ dogs, and providing a practice event for current and future show participants (dogs and people). Over the years, the show was held at several of the area schools and once at Northern Arizona University. In the early 2000’s it moved to the Coconino County Fairgrounds where it was held for several years. It is currently being held at Cureton Park in Williams. Members plan and work at all of our events, keeping a good balance between Conformation and performance (Obedience and Rally)
In the 1980’s the club was very involved with proposing dog laws for the county and helped to set up laws relating to ‘multiple dog licenses’ as well as making sure that dogs performing in the show ring were exempt from leash laws while they were in the ring. For many years members were involved in the planning and restructuring of space at the Coconino County Fairgrounds.
Currently the club is active in putting on the yearly all-breed show and in providing informative programs for members and the public at monthly meetings. The club makes a yearly donation to Therapy Pets of Northern Arizona to help with their scholarship fund.
Current Life Members
Dorothy Dalegowski – Member since 1985. She has served as newsletter editor, show grounds chairman for more than 20 years, and on the Board of Directors. She worked with Ginny Bruce in her obedience classes and together they trained Dottie’s Keeshond, Kadaska, to a CD (Companion Dog) and CDX (Companion Dog Excellence). She and Kadaska performed with the Flagstaff Kennel Club Drill Team. She currently owns Dottie’s K9 Grooming and breeds and shows in conformation with her Portugueses Water Dogs.
Denise Dean– Member since 1975, Show Chair from 1977-2004. Denise has worked in all aspects of the club and is a very active breeder and exhibitor of Bernese Mountain Dogs, Old English Sheepdogs and Berger Picards. She has finished over 100 Champions under the DeerPark heading in these breeds, all owner handled. A dog groomer by trade since 1970, she has owned Pro-Groom in Flagstaff since 1987. She is also an AKC judge of the herding and working groups and is now applying for breeds in the non-sporting group.
Steve Dudley – Member since 1991 and served as Secretary, President, and on the Board of Directors. He worked in many aspects of the show from Grounds, Parking to Show Chair. Steve has been involved with many organizations related to Bernese Mountain Dogs: President Northern Arizona BMD Club; Vice President & Director Bernese Mountain Dog Club of America; and 1999 BMDCA National Specialty Show Chair. He has owned, trained or worked with Golden Retrievers, Labrador Retrievers, Australian Terriers, Norwich Terriers, Bernese Mountain Dogs, and Tornjaks. He currently serves on the BMDCA Bylaws Committee and judge for BMDCA Draft Tests.
Elna Manges – Member since 1991, she has served as treasurer, Obedience Chair and leader of the K-9 Drill Team. Elna brought Delta Society (now Pet Partners) evaluations to Flagstaff for dogs and owners to become registered therapy teams. This led to the Caring Canines program at Flagstaff Medical Center and to the Paws To Read program in Flagstaff Schools. Due to Elna’s efforts, the Flagstaff Kennel Club was given the AKC Community Achievement Award in 2000.
Remembered Life Members
Richard Manges – Member since 1991, Dick has served in many capacities over the years. He has participated in the K-9 Drill Team with his wife Elna, as well as being a registered therapy team with all his dogs in the Caring Canines program at Flagstaff Medical Center.
Patrick Hatch – Member since 1982, he has worked on many aspects of the show. Pat coordinated the dog show’s Judges Hospitality from 1988-2004. He has shown and bred Bernese Mountain Dogs and Old English Sheepdogs under the DeerPark name with Denise Dean. He loves all the dogs and promotes purebred dogs any chance he gets. He is a professional Photographer and as owner of Pat’s Coffee Co. since 1985.
Ginny Bruce – For many years, the Flag Kennel club awarded the Ginny Bruce scholarship annually to either a graduating high school Senior or current college student interested in a career involving animals. The Scholarship was name in honor of club member Ginny Bruce, who taught obedience classes for the public and the local 4-H dog club, in addition to raising guide dog puppies. She provided these classes under the club’s name and donated proceeds back to the club. Ginny died in 1989.
Lois & Dick Hillman – Founding members of the club. Very active collie fanciers under the Roneil prefix in the 1960’S, 70’s and 80’s. They were the driving force in founding the club and providing an AKC sanctioned show. Dick was the Coconino County Assessor for many years and they had two sons, Ron and Neil, which is where there kennel name, ‘Roneil’, came from. They moved to the Phoenix area in the 1990’s and Lois passed away in 1995 with Dick following her a few years later. Their work and dedication is what made this club possible.
Robbie Robbins – Founding member of the club, active during the 70’s & 80’s, he was the driving force behind Obedience (OB) events in the FKC. As a full time trainer and exhibitor, he showed many top OB dogs. He made sure that all our shows had what OB exhibitors needed and always supported the High in Trial and Best in Show trophies. He passed away in the 1990’s and will always be missed. His daughter, Julie Rock, and grandchildren have stayed active in the dog show world as handlers of some of the top winning dogs.
Henry Sheets – Founding member of the club. Henry was always active and ready to help in any place needed. He had Siberian Huskies, supported the sledding club, and was a key player in our work with the county on dog laws. As a parole officer for Coconino he was very involved with events for children and supportive of our Ginny Bruce Scholarship. Henry passed away in 2004.