NEW YORK (July 31, 2003) - The American Kennel Club, Animal Planet and The Iams Company announced today that American Suzuki Motor Corporation will award a new car as part of the grand prize for the 2003 AKC/Eukanuba National Invitational Championship. The owner/s of the Best in Show winning dog will receive a brand new 2004 Suzuki XL-7 4WD EX III (valued at over $27,000) in addition to the $50,000 cash prize.
Dogs from across the country will converge on December 3, 2003 at the Long Beach Convention and Entertainment Center, in Long Beach, Calif., to compete for the new car, $225,000 in cash prizes and the coveted title of National Invitational Champion. The AKC/Eukanuba National Invitational Championship, which represents the pinnacle of canine achievement, is unique in that it is the only show to offer a sizeable monetary award - and sport-utility vehicle - as part of the grand prize.
"The Invitational reflects greatly on the AKC as an organization and offers a wonderful opportunity to touch all who have purebred dogs with our message," said Ron Menaker, Chairman of the Board, AKC. "I am delighted that our corporate partners share our vision."
"We are thrilled to be a part of this exciting event," explained Rick Suzuki, president of American Suzuki. "Through this unique Animal Planet sponsorship we are able to recognize those individuals whose hard work, determination and love for animals has lead them to the one of the most prestigious competitions in the country."
The show, which takes place Dec. 3, 2003, will be taped by cable television's Animal Planet for broadcast Jan. 31, 2004. Last year's airing of the AKC/Eukanuba National Invitational Championship was the sixth highest rated show in Animal Planet history.
To receive an invitation to the 2003 National Invitational Championship, dogs must be ranked in the top 25 of their breed. Any dog receiving an all-breed Best in Show at an AKC show held during this period also will receive an invitation.
This year will be the first time that the AKC brings its most popular national events together to one venue. In addition to the National Invitational Championship, the AKC National Agility Championship and the AKC National Obedience Invitational will also be held on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, December 2 - 4, 2003 in Long Beach, Calif.