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Show Dogs at GIE+EXPO: It ain’t Westminster

August 29, 2018

Mutt Madness Lands in Freedom Hall in Louisville   “Kids want a house with a yard. Because kids want a house with a dog.” ~ Kris Kiser

If you spend five minutes with Kris Kiser, President of the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute, you’ll learn he’s passionate about four things: OPEI, GIE+EXPO, dog rescue and adoption and his own rescue pooch, Lucky the TurfMutt. His beloved dog is the inspiration and visual imagery of OPEI’s environmental education platform TurfMutt, Backyard Superhero.

What started out a decade ago as a cartoon education program in a handful of Sacramento-based elementary schools with the help of Weekly Reader, the renowned children’s education organization, on the value of our yards and managed green spaces has grown into an educational juggernaut that has reached 68 million kids, teachers and families and is an education feature in the global Learning Lab of the United States Green Building Council. TurfMutt, an education resource with multiple federal agencies and NGOs, is delivered to thousands more people annually by education curriculum partner, Scholastic. Kris and TurfMutt have been an on-screen education voice on CBS’s Lucky Dog television show and will appear in a new broadcast television show debuting this fall on the CW Network sponsored by OPEI’s TurfMutt.

When confronted with the challenge of getting Louisville GIE+EXPO attendees into a new venue for lunch — the trade show has grown so much as to displace food vendors in the exhibition halls — Kris, a University of Louisville alumnus, seized upon an idea to merge his passions. Why doesn’t the show support the adoption of rescue dogs in his favorite city, Louisville, at the new, GIE+EXPO lunch venue Freedom Hall? After calls to the Kentucky Humane Society and Louisville Tourism President and CEO Karen Williams, an ardent supporter of animal rescue and adoption herself, “MUTT MADNESS,” a TurfMutt Adoption Event at GIE+EXPO, was cast. After all, TurfMutt says “who knows your yard best? Your dog.” And, who empowers the making of that yard? The exhibitors, partners and attendees of GIE+EXPO.

GIE+EXPO attendees are encouraged to find your next best friend and your own backyard super hero in Freedom Hall, Thursday, October 18, between 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. during MUTT MADNESS bringing a new kind of madness back to Freedom Hall, home to earlier University of Louisville “March Madness” events.

Our show dogs and puppies will hail from the Kentucky Humane Society, which operates the Louisville animal shelters and will process adoption paperwork. Louisville has been the industry’s trade show home since its inception 34 years ago, and MUTT MADNESS is a way to give back to the city that planted the seed for the show so many years ago. Paw it Forward by adopting a backyard superhero in need.

Caption: Lucky, the real-life rescue dog who was the inspiration for TurfMutt, stands in front of his cartoon likeness. Right, OPEI President and CEO Kris Kiser with his rescue dogs, Lucky and Dot, talks with the production team and host Brandon McMillan during filming for CBS’ Lucky Dog.