In The Art of War
, Sun Tzu advises “the worst policy of all is to besiege walled cities.” Similarly, the rules for three-day dog-grooming gauntlet GroomWars stipulate: “Dogs must not be in season at the time of completion,” most likely to prevent canines in heat from providing their own definition of “doggystyle.” The point is, competitive dog-grooming, much like war, involves managing and mastering an ever-growing list of variables, some predictable, many not. GroomWars competitors — hailing from San Antonio, Fort Worth, Amarillo and beyond — are allowed to practice their craft on their breed of choice for the final two days of competition but will be met with a major unknown right out of the gate. The first day’s competition requires groomers to showcase their skills making over a randomly assigned rescue dog before they can move on to a fancy-pants purebred. Sort of like Chopped
with dogs, but where “competitors are responsible for keeping the venue free of dog waste of any kind” — because war is hell. Free for spectators, 8:30am-6pm Sat-Mon (competitions: 2:30-5:30pm Sat-Sun, 1:30-5:30pm Mon), Austin Highway Event Center, 1948 Austin Hwy., (210) 639-1434, groomwars.net.