LIBERTY, Mo.—The Super Bowl may be over, but now dog lovers around the country are gearing up for the Super Bowl of dog shows. Westminster starts next week and a Liberty, Missouri teenager is excited to be competing for his last shot to win the junior handler competition.
This is Chandler Coon's last chance to compete in the juniors because he's turned 18-years-old. He says in the last year, things have really clicked for him so he's hopeful he'll do really well at Westminster. But he's not just doing it for himself.
Coon says he's not nervous.
"If you go in there nervous then you beat yourself, because down that leash the dog feels it," he said.
Coon's grandmother Debbie Coon used to show dogs. That's how he got into it when he was just 8-years-old. He always wanted to show the big dogs.
"She doubted me, didn't think I could handle a big dog but I ended up winning my class," Coon said.
And he kept winning: number one in Rottweilers five years in a row and 20 consecutive best juniors. He's made a name for himself.
"That's how he's known, the boy who shows the Rottweilers." Debbie Coon said.
But he's not a boy anymore. He's recently started showing dogs professionally and he's winning, beating out handlers with decades of experience.
"I told him as long as I see that smile when he walks out of the ring, we'll keep doing it because he's got a million dollar smile when he wins. It's awesome and I enjoy that a lot," Debbie Coon said.
"Having her by my side every time means the world to me, she's always there outside the ring for me," Coon said.
But Debbie won't be there at Westminster this year. She's battling cancer and says she's too weak for the trip
"He knows how much I like him doing it and how much pleasure it gives me to watch him show a dog," Debbie Coon said.
Debbie says whether he wins at Westminster or not, he's already won.
"We have a very special bond, he means a lot to me," Debbie Coon said.
The Westminster Competitions will be shown on the organization's website. Coon competes next week on Tuesday, February 15.