If you watched the Netflix original series “Dogs” you know that Pasadena was prominently featured in episode 4, “Scissors Down,” which looked at last year’s Groom Expo West. This year’s expo and competition begins today, Thursday, and runs until Sunday at the Pasadena Convention Center.
Although the Netflix episode starts in Tokyo and introduces the audience to two Japanese dog groomers, Kenichi Hagase of Bubbles grooming saloon and Miki Takagi of Tall Tree and some of their clients, three other competitors are also featured: Cat Orson, who was a member of Groom Team USA; Blake Hernandez, who has his own line of shears; and Jackie Bolton of Canada. In the film, Hernandez says Groom Expo West is “rough” because “It brings out the biggest hitters.”
Hagase has been giving presentations around Pasadena and notes that American and Japanese concepts of cuteness aren’t the same, but Hagase wants to present his personal style. On Thursday, he will be giving a presentation on his version of Japanese styling, and on Friday demonstrate how to construct a safe and efficient grooming environment. Also on Friday, Opson will be giving a talk about how she grooms mixed breeds (“Mixed Breed Mania”), and Hernandez will give a presentation on marketing and branding.
Billed as the West Coast’s “most illustrious grooming show,” the exhibition’s product displays and seminars are for anyone involved in the training, breeding, exhibiting, handling and grooming of dogs and cats, and spectators can watch the World Grooming Games.
Sporting and Salon Freestyle is the competition shown in “Dogs” and this year it is scheduled for Saturday morning, but there are also competitions for poodles (Saturday afternoon); all other purebreds (Friday afternoon) and wire-coated breeds (Friday morning). Sunday afternoon features the Andis Creative Styling Tournament, which allows for “creative sculpting, color application, character creation and design.”
The five tournaments offer prize money and trophies in three competitive skill levels. The contests aren’t just about pampered pets. The Rescue Round-Up (Sunday morning) draws dogs from local groups and gives the groomers two and a half hours to make the dogs more visually pleasing, thus more adoptable. Top prizes are $2,500 for Best in Show. First place winners for Creative Styling and Rescue Round-Up will take home $1,500 and $1,000, respectively.
The expo is closed to pets that are not involved in the competitions or demos, but service animals are permitted. The cost to attend the trade show is $10 with pre-registration or $15 at the door. Doors open at 10 a.m., Friday, Saturday and Sunday. They close at 6 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and at 5 p.m. on Sunday. Attendees will be able to view parts at the shows (morning competitions start before the trade show opens), but the price for the other events and seminars varies.
For more information, visit groomexpowest.com or barkleighevents.com/groom-expo-west.