United States
Australian Shepherd Association

United States
Australian Shepherd Association

USASA Juniors Program Award for AKC National Championship Qualifiers (2023)

Any junior who qualifies for the AKC National Championship in conformation or performance is eligible to compete for a travel award sponsored by the USASA Juniors Committee. This award aims to recognize their achievements and cover a portion of costs associated with attending. Juniors must submit an essay (maximum 500 words) on an assigned topic to the juniors committee, who will select winners based on the criteria outlined below. Essay topics will change yearly.

If a junior qualifies for conformation and performance, they may only apply once per year. Applicants must be a USASA Junior Member in good standing as of Jan 1, 2023 (free). All qualifying wins must have been made with an Australian Shepherd, and the junior must show an Australian Shepherd at the Championship.

Essays are due via email by noon on December 1, 2023 to Ben Swanson at wbentons@umich.eduWinners will be notified by December 10. Juniors will be divided into two categories for judging, ages 9-13 and 14-18.

2023 Essay Prompt:

The sport of purebred dog competitive events dates prior to 1884, the year of AKC’s birth. Shared values of those involved in the sport include principles of sportsmanship. They are practiced in all sectors of our sport: conformation, performance and companion. Many believe that these principles of sportsmanship are the prime reason why our sport has thrived for over one hundred years. The American Kennel Club has defined a Code of Sportsmanship reflecting these principles.


Write a 500 word essay describing what sportsmanship means to you, and how you display sportsmanship to others. Examples and anecdotes are encouraged!


 Essays will be judged on the following:
must include the following information at the top of the page: junior’s name, age, and date of birth, AKC junior’s number, and qualifying venue (conformation or performance)
• focus on the assigned topics
• proper format (introduction, body, conclusion)
• age-appropriate use of grammar, spelling, punctuation
• clarity and precision
• 500-word limit

All emails will receive a message confirming receipt within 48 hours. Please notify the Committee Chair (wbentons@umich.edu, 716-397-2007) if you do not receive a confirmation.

Winning entries will be featured in a 2024 edition of
The Australian Shepherd Journal along with a photo and recap of the event. The USASA Juniors Committee is grateful for support from the Board of Directors to continue to offer this exciting opportunity.