President: Doug Jensen
Vice-President: Bridgid Nolan
Secretary: Cindy Miller
Treasurer: Brenda Piper
Over 50 years ago, a trio of mid-Nebraskans shared passion and a vision. They understood the significant role dogs play in the lives of both individuals and communities, and they wanted to share their expertise in training and exhibiting fine purebred dogs with others. As a result of this group's efforts, the Grand Island Kennel Club (GIKC) was formed in 1959 and became a non-profit (501-C) corporation in 1965. The Club received a generous donation of land, including a lake, built a clubhouse, and families enjoyed camping, picnicking and fishing there as well as working with their dogs. The building was a victim of the 1980 tornado, but it was rebuilt in the same footprint as the original, and today is home to countless classes and other activities.
The GIKC has been an important part of Grand Island and Hall County since its inception. Community members realized that "A trained dog is a good dog", and brought their pets, farm dogs and show dogs alike to the kennel club for obedience training, filling classes year after year. Obedient dogs contribute to a safer community, and now dogs are even trained at the club to certify as nationally recognized "Canine Good Citizens". Newer programs such as rally and agility provide a fun, healthy activity for dog-owners of all ages. Of course, top quality purebred dogs continue to be trained to compete in conformation shows, and some GIKC dogs have achieved national prominence for their local breeders and owners.
Working with area youth was always important for the club, especially through 4-H. GIKC members have helped hundreds of 4-H'ers train, exhibit and learn to care for their dogs, offering a wholesome environment and positive role models regardless of the social or political challenges of each decade. Whether learning how to train the family pet, working toward 4-H goals, or competing at the highest national levels, young people have found a great start and continuing support from the club.
The kennel club has a commitment to education to benefit children, adults, and of course their dogs. Many canine-related educational programs have been held for the public over the years. In addition, GIKC members have regularly taken dogs to school, Scout meetings, the Veterans Home and nursing homes for demonstrations, and specially trained and certified dogs provide comforting Hospice-based therapy. Kennel club members helped to found the Central Nebraska Humane Society in 1967, as well as the adjacent pet cemetery, which benefits people throughout mid-Nebraska.
The GIKC has shared one of its original mandates, that of holding an AKC dog show and obedience trial, with the community. These shows are a celebration of well-cared for and trained purebred dogs and reflect a great deal of hard work and cooperation from the kennel club members, which models good values to our young people. The kennel club has held 49 shows since 1965. Each show attracts exhibitors from all over the MidWest, who boost the local economy by supporting hotels, restaurants, gas stations and shops. The shows also provide free entertainment for local people, who get a chance to see the beautiful purebred dogs that are being exhibited.
The Grand Island Kennel Club has been a valuable part of the community since 1959, quietly helping to improve the quality of life for generations of people and their dogs. The Club hopes that the next 50 years brings just as much value and enjoyment for generations to come.