The Ken-L-Ration Dog Show at the Westport Shopping Center

It was a hot July day in 1964 when I took my small, mixed breed dog and walked three blocks over to the Old Westport Shopping Center on Westport Road and Southwest Trafficway. The Ken-L-Ration dog food company was sponsoring a show for the neighborhood. When I registered at a small table, I was given a T-shirt with the Ken-L-Ration logo on the front. The festivities were in the big shopping center parking lot and included free hot dogs, which were being grilled in the large, open area.

The various categories were called. I had entered my dog, Prince, in the shortest tail and smallest dog categories.

The crowd laughed when we brought our dogs forward for shortest tail judging. One dog had virtually no tail. My dog had a short stump. Tails were measured from rump to the longest hair. My dog was third prize with a tail that measured 3.25 inches.

Then it was time for the smallest dog category. We were in front of the Kroger Store who was the sponsor of the contest. Suddenly, employees from the store ushered all of us in that category to the back of the store and weighed the dogs on the meat scale. My dog was almost five pounds, too heavy to win a prize.

At the end of the Ken-L-Ration Dog Show, trophies were handed out. Today, over 40 years later, I still have the six-inch silver trophy with the little plastic label that reads: “Third Shortest Tail.” To add to the glory of the day, the neighborhood paper, The Westport Reporter, had an article about the contest, and Prince and I had our names in the paper! We were famous!

Betty Ruth Marxsen
April 1, 2008