Edgerton dog wins best in show at Westminster

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Gazette staff and Associated Press
Wednesday, February 15, 2017

EDGERTON—Steven Servantez, a veterinarian at Badger Veterinary Hospital in Janesville, has spent the last few years caring for the dog newly crowned as best in show by the Westminster Kennel Club.

Rumor, a 5-year-old German shepherd from Edgerton, came out of retirement and was crowned America's top dog Tuesday night, a year after a near miss on the very same green carpet.

Servantez noted the difficult odds for any dog to win best in show.

“Winning best in show at Westminster is a one-in-a-million chance. There are people who show dogs their whole life and never win best in show,” Servantez said. “To be able to go to Westminster and win best in show is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”

Cheered loudly all around the ring by a packed crowd at Madison Square Garden, she's just the second German shepherd champion at the event that began in 1877.

"Unbelievable," handler and co-owner Kent Boyles said.

It's hard work to prepare for dog shows. When not on the road, Boyles shows the dogs inside a ring at Kenlyn German Shepherds in Edgerton, Servantez said.

Boyles is an affectionate handler who knows how to bring out the best in his dogs. His dedication helped Rumor meet all the American Kennel Club's breed standards and bring home victory Tuesday, Servantez said.

Rumor beat out a Norwegian elkhound, a Pekingese, a miniature poodle, an Irish setter, a boxer and a Norwich terrier in the final ring. The Irish setter called Adrian finished second.

This was the 104th career win for Rumor, and earlier in the day Boyles said this would definitely, for real, be her last major show.

"She's going to be relaxing for a while," Boyles said after the win, but ultimately, there are "puppies in her future."

Rumor nearly won Westminster last year. She came to town as the nation's No. 1 show dog with more than 100 overall ribbons but was beaten in a surprise by a German shorthaired pointer named CJ.

That was supposed to be Rumor's last show, and she was set to head home with Boyles to Edgerton to be a house pet and have puppies. She didn't conceive, and late in the year Boyles thought twice about Rumor's retirement.

"She liked to show and was in good shape, so we thought, why not?" he said.

Rumor went back on the circuit in January for 10 shows. She won the herding group Monday night at the Garden, beating top show favorite Preston the puli.

She topped that with the ultimate win at America's most prestigious dog show, rewarding the faith German shepherd fans always show in them.

Back home, Servantez encouraged Edgerton residents to give Boyles and Rumor a hearty welcome when they return.

“I hope our community really congratulates Kent when he gets back and realizes how special this is and how crazy it is for our community to have somebody so dedicated to dogs to got to this level,” Servantez said.

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