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story.lead_photo.caption Fourth-grader Madisyn Suess and her 8-month-old puppy Colt were the only entries in the dog show on Saturday, Aug. 1, 2020, during the Jefferson City Jaycees Cole County Fair. Photo by Greta Cross / News Tribune.

With a dream of winning big, Madisyn Suess knew Saturday was her chance to showcase her dog, Colt, and all of their hard work over the last month.

Colt maneuvered through the agility course during the 4-H dog show at the Jefferson City Jaycees Cole County Fair, jumping over hurdles and racing down the ramp. The energetic 8-month-old Australian shepherd was eager to please his handler, following Suess' commands — with the occasional slip to say hello to audience members.

Several contestants initially signed up for the dog show, but the majority of them dropped out due to either dog or handler injuries, said Jennifer Winkelman, superintendent of the dog show. By the time the competition started Saturday afternoon, Suess and Colt were the only contestants.

This was the duo's first dog show, and Suess said she thought it went spectacular.

"I think he did wonderful. I think he got excited because they started cooking hot dogs, and he was just like, 'I want a hot dog,'" she joked. "I love how he's so energetic and loving, but he can get a little playful at times."

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The competition consisted of seven categories: agility, rally obedience, showmanship, traditional obedience, costume, tricks and a dog knowledge written test.

The lack of contestants didn't stop the duo from putting on a showstopper for their friends and family. Suess and Colt won seven blue ribbons at the end of the competition.

"When I first started, I was nervous and excited, but I took a deep breath and said, 'This is for Colt. This is for the audience. I want to please my audience. I want to make my family proud. I want him to win big,'" Suess said.

Her favorite part of the competition was the tricks contest when she asked Colt to give her a kiss.

It was love at first sight when Suess adopted Colt about a month ago after looking for a dog for several weeks.

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"As soon as they got him out of the car, he came up to us and sniffed us and was like, 'Hey, wanna play, wanna play? I love you! I love you!'" she said with a laugh.

Since adopting Colt, Suess has been training him non-stop, using treats and a training leash.

Dog shows teach 4-H youths life skills, including communication, leadership, responsibility, community service and problem solving, Winkelman said.

Suess, a three-year 4-H member, plans to compete in more dog shows and wants to improve upon the down-stay command and keeping the leash looser.

Enjoyed this feature? Check out other Faces of the Fair: Eileen Shafer, Toni HaselhorstJessica KoenigsfeldGarrett Holtgrewe and Taylor Riley. The News Tribune will feature a new person every day during the Jefferson City Jaycees Cole County Fair, so watch for more faces! 

Gallery: PHOTO GALLERY: Jefferson City Jaycees Cole County Fair
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