14-Year-Old Kalkaska Student Invited to Compete at Westminster Dog Show

One of sport’s biggest events is coming up, and we’re not talking about the Superbowl.

In two weeks, 2,500 dogs will compete in the 144th Westminster Dog Show, and one Northern Michigan handler and his hound are preparing for their turn in the ring.

14-year-old Cody Wright and his dog have earned a spot in the most elite dog show in the world.

The Kalkaska High School freshman and his Redbone Coonhound, John Henry, were invited to compete after numerous titles from competitions throughout the country.

Wright has been practicing his sport most of his life and will now be on its biggest stage.

“I’m hyped up and I’m always ready to go,” Wright said. “I’ve been dreaming about it since I was 7 years old.”

Wright practices with John Henry for hours every day and has a strict grooming regimen for his pup.

At Westminster, he will be running with the big dogs and competing against professionals in the Hound group.

“I feel like the underdog. Because there’s going to be a bunch of adults and professional handlers and I’m going to be that 14 year old walking in the ring,” Wright said. “It’s a really good opportunity for me to get seen out there in the world.”

Wright is used to being the youngest in the room, but it doesn’t take long for his competitors to realize he means business.

“Usually [their reaction] is like ‘what the heck is he doing here?” Wright said.  “I’ve seen them all, I’ve went up against them, and usually it goes back and forth sometimes they win, sometimes I win.”

The dog show first begins with a competition between dogs of the same breed. A winner advances to a competition within the group, and then the group’s winner competes for Best in Show. There are seven groups: hound, toy, sporting and non-sporting, working and terrier.

No matter what happens, Wright says the opportunity to compete is a dream come true.

“When you get in the ring with them, you feel special. You feel like you’re going up against the top,” Wright said. “I’m going to take Kalkaska with me. I’ll make sure to represent them real good.”

If Wright wins in his group, you’ll be able to watch him on national T.V. on Feb. 10.