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A lot has changed since Joanne Byars attended her first Yellowstone Valley Kennel Club Dog Show with a friend in the late 1960s, but the things that she saw at the first show still captivate her today.

"I love to groom the dogs up and love to talk," she said with a big smile. 

Byars, now 82, has bred and shown collies, Pomeranians, Afghan hounds and poodles, but Tuesday she brought Nathan, a 2-year-old Pekingese, who goes by "Dunkirk One More Time" during shows. 

She said she likes having dogs that have a lot of hair, so she can groom them, and she likes the temperament of Pekingese. She has four.

"They’re the boss, you aren't," she said. "When you call these dogs over, they say, 'I will if I feel like it.'"

The show, which began Tuesday and continues until Thursday, features all different types of dogs from across the western United States.

About 570 dogs are entered in more than 100 categories over the three-day show at MetraPark, said Patrick James, a Yellowstone Valley Kennel Club board member.

"They come from all over the country," he said. "We have dogs from California and Texas."

Owners and trainers enter shows in this part of the country because, with fewer dogs competing than in large metropolitan areas, they can get more points.

A dog needs 15 points to be classified as a champion, a title they hold the rest of their lives. 

Last year more dogs were entered the show, he said.

"It’s a little less than usual," he said. "It’s still a healthy show, but we've had a lot bigger."

Fewer sign-ups may because of gas prices or the economy, he said, but the show still attracted championship-caliber dogs.

"Some of the top dogs in the country are here," he said.

Adam Cornwell, his sister and mother made it up from the Los Angeles area to bring eight dogs to show, most of them Australian shepherds. 

The college student, who is on summer break, said he goes on the road with his family most summers to show dogs. 

"(I’m) just helping out my mom for the summer," he said.

He said he has been working with dogs since he was 4 or 5, and while to some, it may be a bit of an unorthodox summer job, being on the road suits him just fine. 

"I enjoy it," he said. "I get to spend time with my family." 

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Chris Cioffi covers city news for The Billings Gazette in Montana.