The Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show may be drawing to a close, but another national showcase is drawing bird dogs from across the country. Scheduled to start this Friday and to continue through the weekend, the National Pheasant Fest & Quail Classic Hunting Expo is the destination for sportsmen to show off their favored hunting companions.
“National Pheasant Fest is our celebration of Pheasants Forever and Quails Forever, to celebrate all our accomplishments over the year for habitat improvement,” Pheasants Forever’s Brad Heidel told OutdoorHub. “It honors all our members and the general public around the country.”
It will be the first time that the event is held in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and Heidel expect attendance to be high.
“We typically average about 25,000 attendants for the event,” he said.
While the National Pheasant Fest will hold a number of attractions, including forums on wild game cooking and habitat preservation, the biggest draw is the bird dog bonanza and the preceding parade. About 90 dogs have registered to walk in the parade this year, representing over 32 breeds.
“A big component of the event is the bird dog bonanza,” Heidel explained. “This will include a stage where the country’s top dog trainers will be speaking throughout the weekend.”
Presenting trainers will include Tom Dokken and Bob West, as well as the “first family” of bird dog training: Delmar, Rick, and Ronnie Smith. While the Westminster Kennel Club show may hold more dogs, the love and passion for canines is equally strong in Milwaukee. And unlike the show in New York, the National Pheasant Fest is strictly for sporting dogs.
Entrance in the parade is free, although space is limited depending on the breed. Daily admission for spectators will cost $10 for adults and $5 for children with free entry for ages five and below. Many vendors will also be present to keep the crowds fed through the three-day expo. Heidel says another popular part of the event is the bird dog gallery, which showcases the various bird dog breeds and is a great educational resource for young hunters
This year the keynote speaker will be Representative Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin), a former co-chair of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus and vice presidential running mate for Mitt Romney.
Image courtesy Sam Stukel/Pheasants Forever