INDIANAPOLIS — When he’s striding from stage to stage, checking on judges and each four-legged contestant, Kevin Allen walks about 12 miles a day, according to his fitness tracker.
That makes for a long week of preparation and management, but it’s worth it to him to see the Indy Winter Classic Dog Show run smoothly each year.
Kevin Allen of Greenfield has been the head show chairman of the Indy Winter Classic Dog Show, which ran Thursday through Sunday at the Indiana State Fairgrounds, for 17 years. The show, which brings the Hoosier and Central Indiana kennel clubs together, sees 7,000 to 8,000 dogs compete in its four-day run.
As head chairman of the show, Allen is responsible for security, staff and vendors.
“He’s a good organizer,” said Dorothy Clem, president of the Central Indiana Kennel Club. “He’s done it for so many years, he knows the ins and outs. He knows what goes on behind the scenes.”
This year’s show brought breeders with dogs of all types to the West Pavilion of the fairgrounds. Vendors circled the edges of the pavilion, while stages took up the center of the spacious building. Some breeders set up cages inside along the north wall, while others headquartered their animals outside in RVs and trailers that accompanied them to the big event.
On Saturday, the clubs organized a donation to the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office — a bulletproof vest for one of the office’s K9 officers. Leto, a Dutch Shepherd, received this year’s gift, and the clubs plan to make a similar donation each year, Clem said.
Some dog showers have come back to the event repeatedly because of its organization.
Linda Pitts of Knoxville, Tennessee, said she has returned many, many times to Indianapolis for the show.
“It’s a really nice show site,” she said. “It’s very visitor- and vendor-friendly. I just wish it was 30 degrees warmer.”
Allen started out as a member of the Hoosier Kennel Club, which he joined while showing and breeding basset hounds, he said.
In addition to his interest in dog shows, Allen is an Indy Car official and travels to all the races, he said. He retired from General Motors after 30 years, and when he is not at Indy Car races or dog shows, he works as a substitute teacher.
By Saturday afternoon, after days of 4 a.m. alarms to start the days and sore feet to end them, Allen was pleased with the turnout of the event — but thinking fondly of Sunday evening, when he might take a nap.