Rita Rochelo of Lenox holds Tootsie, a 12-year-old long hair chihuaha, who is ready for the Best Dressed category. Tootsie went on to win first place.
Rita Rochelo of Lenox holds Tootsie, a 12-year-old long hair chihuaha, who is ready for the Best Dressed category. Tootsie went on to win first place. (Gillian Jones / Berkshire Eagle Staff)

PITTSFIELD -- Sir Peterbilt Whitcomb ("Pete" for short), is a Spanish bull mastiff. At 121 pounds and about five feet long, Pete was one of the biggest dogs in Sunday's 13th annual Not Your Average Dog Show, held at Patterson Field House on the campus of Berkshire Community College.

There were 60 dogs entered in the various events, which included Best Eyes, Best Hair, Best Trick, Best Dressed and Mystery Mutt.

There were also 50 more spectator dogs. These were dogs who might not have been ready to enter any of the events, but whose masters thought they would enjoy the socializing aspect of the dog show.

Pete was entered in the Best Trick category, according to his handler, Paul Whitcomb of Pittsfield.

Jersey, a 9-year-old female pitbull owned by Maris Owczarski of North Adams, chills out while waiting to compete in the Best Dressed category at the 13th
Jersey, a 9-year-old female pitbull owned by Maris Owczarski of North Adams, chills out while waiting to compete in the Best Dressed category at the 13th annual Not Your Average Dog Show Sunday. (Gillian Jones / Berkshire Eagle Staff)
His trick was to lie on the floor, pretty much like a bear rug, and have Whitcomb's daughter lie on him.

Not bad, but it didn't win a prize. Pete, decked out in a small horse jacket, was unfazed.

A few hundred feet away, Buffy Lord, also of Pittsfield, was congratulating her old English sheepdog, Sherman T., for a first-place finish in the Best Eyes competition and a second place ribbon in the Best Hair event.

"He had a big day," said Lord of Sherman.

She was asked how judges could see Sherman's eyes, which were hidden somewhat behind a mane of floppy hair that fell over Sherman's forehead.

"Oh, we just move the hair aside, and just look at those beautiful blue eyes!" cooed Lord.


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Master of Ceremonies William "Smitty" Pignatelli was overseeing the event for the second year in a row. He did a pretty good job, although he was stymied a bit when he began overseeing the Best Kisser competition.

"You know, I've been doing this for two years, but I can't remember how this Best Kisser thing works," he said.

He was told the dogs kiss their masters not each other.

"Oh, OK, that makes sense," he said.

There is considerable joviality in the field house, but it disguises an important fact: The money raised at Sunday's event goes into the college's general fund to help defray student costs.

The school's annual budget is about $24 million, according to BCC President Ellen Kennedy. The state appropriation is about 36 percent of that sum. The rest must be raised by the college.

"We're not being critical of the state," said Jeffrey Doscher, vice-president of Institutional Advance-
ment at the college. "They've raised it a bit over the past few years. But we're trying to upgrade our technology facilities to make the school more competitive, and provide scholarships for students."

The event is a popular one.

Chiquita and Munchkin, two chihuahas, are nestled in the jacket of their owner Beth Barbarotta, of Pittsfield. At left is Chance, a 1-year-old boxer, owned
Chiquita and Munchkin, two chihuahas, are nestled in the jacket of their owner Beth Barbarotta, of Pittsfield. At left is Chance, a 1-year-old boxer, owned by Barbarotta. (Gillian Jones / Berkshire Eagle Staff)
Eugene Dellea, the president of the BCC Foundation, a nonprofit fundraising arm of the school, reported that dog owners and their animals were at the field house an hour before the event.

"This is the best attendance I've seen in several years, at least," said Dellea.

"It's just a fun day, to come to BCC and see the other dogs and socialize," said Lord.

To reach Derek Gentile:
dgentile@berkshireeagle.com,
or (413) 496-6251.
On Twitter: @DerekGentile