About Us

History of the Corn Belt Kennel Club

Corn Belt's first sanctioned match was held on October 16, 1950. Entry blanks were mailed to 100 Illinois dog owners announcing the event which was to be held at the Illinois State University Farm in Normal. The Club’s second match was held on April 15, 1951 at the same location with 147 dogs vying for the win. Completing this second match fulfilled the necessary requirements of the American Kennel Club and Corn Belt became an AKC member club eligible to host pointed events.

Corn Belt Kennel Club of Bloomington, Illinois Corn Belt's first AKC conformation Show was held on Labor Day, Sept 3. 1951. This show was held at O'Neill's Pavilion and was joined by Sandemac Kennel Club from Decatur to make a 2-day circuit. Superintendent for the event was the Bow Dog Show Organization, and spectator admission was 50 cents – an increase from the match admission of 35 cents. The entry fee for this show was $4.25 per dog. The show pulled a total entry of 372 dogs and 51 breeds from 19 states with 30 professional handlers competing. Corn Belt’s Junior Kennel Club with youngsters ages 9-17 years, served as junior stewards and also assisted with trophies and catalog sales.

Corn Belt's second show, Labor Day of 1952, pulled an entry of 428 dogs, topping the Michigan circuit holding concurrent shows. The Club began holding obedience classes in 1953 at Miller Park in Bloomington.

The show site for the conformation show was moved to the Armory in 1953. There, 500 entries were pulled from 25 states. The Egyptian Kennel Club from Mt. Vernon, IL joined Corn Belt and Sandemac to form a 3-day circuit.

By 1954, 600 dogs were competing including the addition of Junior Showmanship classes.

Corn Belt changed their show date from Labor Day to Memorial Day in 1971. Keeping that date they moved to the Horton Field House in 1973 for their 23rd annual show. They kept that venue until 1985 when they moved their event to the McLean County Fairgrounds.

Obedience trials were added to the weekend in 1986.

The Heart of Illinois Cluster of Dog Shows was organized consisting of Corn Belt, Illinois Valley, and the Capitol kennel clubs, and they enjoyed the fairground site until 1996.

In 1997, the Cluster changed their show site once again, moving to the Interstate Center in Bloomington. Corn Belt Kennel Club celebrated its 50th anniversary at the Interstate Center in 2000.

The Memorial Day shows have grown to four days with Illinois Valley and Corn Belt hosting 2 shows each. Many Specialty clubs as well as Regional and National clubs have joined the Cluster; and with the addition of Rally trials to the all-breed Conformation and Obedience trials, this weekend has become a popular and anticipated family event.

Our Club