Posted: July 30, 2014, 3:25 p.m. EDT
By Clay Jackson
After 90 minutes and competing against nearly 40 other top-notch professional dog groomers who had come to SuperZoo, Kenichi Tange of Kawaguchi, Japan, emerged on top in the richest single event in competitive dog grooming—the Tom McLaughlin Super Jackpot Contest.
Tange walked away with a trophy as tall as himself, an oversized check for $10,000 and up to $2,000 in airfare and a two-night stay and entry fee waiver to Groomania, held annually in Kortrijk, Belgium.
Tange will compete next year at Groomania Sept. 19 and 20.
Judges awarded Tange first place for his stellar work on a female wire fox terrier.
Cash prizes also were awarded to second through 10th place finishers.
Judy Breton, SuperZoo director of grooming, with the $10,000 first place winner of the Super Jackpot, Kenichi Tange of Japan, and the wire fox terrier he groomed to victory.
Second place and $5,000 went to Suzanne Rumpy, owner of Paws ‘N Style in Modesto, Calif., for her transformative work on a standard poodle.
Catherine Opson, owner of Estrella Pet Grooming in Capistrano Beach, Calif., won third place and $2,000 with a poodle.
"I’ve done the Jackpot for a few years,” Opson said, "so it is finally nice to place in the top five.”
Opson, who was competing in her sixth Jackpot, had never finished better than seventh place until now.
Opson’s total SuperZoo grooming winnings were $4,900, including $700 for first place in the Large Poodle category, $700 for first in Small Poodle and $1,500 for second in the Creative category.
Being in Vegas, Opson didn’t take her hard-won winnings and bet them on black; she puts all of her grooming competition winnings in a separate account to use to fund her travels to future grooming competitions.
Mackensie Murphy, who works at Precious Pets of Astoria, N.Y., groomed a toy poodle and pocketed $1,000 for fourth place.
Jackie Boulton, owner of Jackie’s Animal Services in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, came in fifth and received $500 for her groom of a miniature poodle.
In sixth place, Ashley Waters, an assistant groomer with Bold Oaks Kennel in Acampo, Calif., groomed an affenpinscher and came away with $500.
Seventh place and $250 was awarded to Kumi Tachikake, who competed with a Kerry blue terrier.
Lisa Leady, owner of Primp My Pooch, a mobile grooming service based in Genoa, Ill., finished eighth and also pocketed $250 for her groom of a smooth fox terrier.
This is the check the winner of the Tom McLaughlin Super Jackpot Contest received for first place. A total of $20,000 in prize money was doled out to the top 10 finishers.
In ninth place, Kazuaki Jingu, owner of Dog Salon Salt and Pepper in Gunma, Japan, won $250 with a miniature schnauzer.
Rounding out the field in 10th place was Yi-Ping Liang, who works for Pet Park
in New Taipei City, Taiwan, and groomed a poodle.
"It makes you feel like you are definitely on the right track,” Opson said, summing up her best finish yet in the Super Jackpot.
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