International Puppy Contest, 2017 was held in St. Louis Missouri over the weekend of July 15, 2016. A record eleven competitors took the stage, all hoping to bring home the title of IPC International Puppy, 2017. The producers worked tirelessly to make this weekend memorable for everyone who attended. Mother Nature, had decided not to cooperate by sending a huge storm through two days before the contest. The storm knocked out power to JJ's Bar, the intended event space. The power, in fact, was not restored until Sunday morning. The producers used their community contacts to quickly and seamlessly move the events to Attitudes and R-Bar. Both venues were incredibly accommodating and seemed to be completely prepared for the crowd, despite the last-minute changes. To the outside observer, no one would have known that the events at those spaces had not been planned to be there. The weekend was full! Activities included a sushi get-together, the meet and greet, a pub crawl, an educational series, a mosh, the main event, and (of course) the victory BBQ at Lindner's Pub.
The contest, on Saturday evening, took just a little over three hours. While that sounds like a lot of time, it is fairly short when you consider the number of pups that were up on that stage. Some of the highlights included the contestant speeches and pop questions. While many of the questions got laughs, and all of the speeches were well-received, Pup Scout from Chicago recited a poem that he had written and it brought the entire crowd to their feet. After the speeches and pop-questions came the fantasy/scene portion of the event, which is nearly always the crowd favorite. And while many different scenes will be remembered, Pup Turbo signing a Prince song in his mask will be etched in my mind for years, as will Pup Rok (who ended up as first runner up) howling to Sarah McLaughlin, as well as the hostess drag queen, singing her song of puppy pain. At the end of the contest, of course, only one pup takes home the honor. This year's IPC International Puppy is Rex Shephard from Texas. Rex was a fierce competitor, despite his somewhat relaxed demeanor. Rex has already begun to make plans for his title year. As the competition drew to a close, the amazing news that Square Pegs Toys had given an incredible financial gift to the travel fund was made. Anyone who has ever had a title knows the importance of this. The weekend closed with the news that "Papa Woof" Roth would be stepping down as an owner/producer to focus his attention on Midwest Puppy and its evolution into a larger event. Everyone clearly wishes him the best in his endeavors. And for Rex, congratulations, best wishes, and woof!