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Bark-toberfest benefits police dogs
Manteca Police canine officer “Blade” has a new friend in Miss Teen Manteca Victoria Watson, 15, who is putting together an advocacy program to help the police canine program with its funding. Canine officer Randy Chiek is seen kneeling at left holding his dog’s lead. - photo by GLENN KAHL


• WHAT:  39th annual Manteca Police canine trials
• WHEN: Saturday, April 25, from 8 a.m. to approx. 4 p.m.
• WHERE: Morenzone Park, Center Street west of Union Road

Victoria Watson, with her eye on a career in law enforcement, is bound to make a difference as a teenager.

Miss Teen Manteca, 15, a freshman at Sierra High School, is organizing what she describes as a “Bark-toberfest” to raise money for the strapped Manteca Police Canine unit.  It’s set to take place in October of this year and she is already putting her plan into action.

It is designed to be a day-long pet fair that will feature countless Manteca pets dressed in doggie costumes competing with each other in a pet parade for prizes. There will be an entry fee along with vendors selling pet-related items planned for Library Park.

Victoria is also hosting a low-cost face painting booth this Saturday during the Manteca Police K-9 Trials to be held at Morenzone Ball Field at the corner of Center and Union roads.

Victoria was awarded her title, along with an educational scholarship, during the annual Teen Manteca Scholarship Competition held in March - sponsored by Manteca Youth Focus.

As a part of the competitio, contestants are challenged to develop a volunteer community project. It can be a new or existing project, but it must benefit a volunteer organization. The participants then have one year to put their program into operation and see it through to its fruition.

The high school freshman has a love for animals, especially with her nine-year-old German Short Hair “Bau.”  She is also raising an Angus steer as a member of the Future Farmers of America at her high school.While brainstorming for her advocacy project in the competition, she wanted to create a new event that would incorporate her love for animals.  She came up with the “Bark-octoberfest” idea after chatting with family friend Manteca police officer Randy Chiek.  She said she wanted to do something to offset the costs of caring and working for the police K-9s.  

Asked about her favorite teachers, her mentors in the formative years, she named several who came to mind.

One who stood out among the rest was her eighth-grade leadership teacher at Lincoln Elementary School Bill Davis. She said he coached her in leadership, volleyball and track.

Another was karate instructor Robin Taberna who she has been studying under since she was seven years old.  “He definitely taught me confidence and discipline,” she said.

Anyone wanting to know more about vendor space for the event and about the costume parade, call 518-3915.