Although the various goodies, lectures and workshops were a huge part of what made up this year's Groom Expo, it was Sunday afternoon's final event that really engaged both spectators and industry professionals alike. The Creative Styling Tournament is not your run-of-the-mill grooming competition. While it warrants skillful scissoring skills and comprehensive knowledge of dog grooming, it, unlike most traditional dog shows, challenges competitors to get in touch with their inner Andy Warhol. "The whole show really culminates in the 'Creative' – it's the most eye-catching, it gets the biggest crowd and it's what grabs people's attention the most," said Todd Shelly, President of Barkleigh Productions, the main force behind the Groom Expo.
While the Creative Styling Tournament is definitely something that had onlookers oohing and awing with enchantment, many couldn't help but ask out loud: "Is this humane?" The answer seems to be a resounding yes. The Groom Expo is a welcoming, friendly function that embraces dog lovers of all breeds and Creative is a way for passionate, highly trained artists to celebrate their love of dogs and grooming. The dyes used are non-toxic, their styling techniques are safe and harmless, and the dogs absolutely love all of the brushing and attention from their owners and the audience. For a quarter of a century the organization has never received a single complaint from an animal humane society or the notorious PETA; and that's because these people are the absolute pinnacle of animal lovers. They couldn't be more grateful to share their joy and passion with others.