Thanks for helping me understand. I gather that in order to fully understand the excitement, one would begin with an AKC registered pure bred. After that, further interest and love for the breed may spark one to branch into the shows. The more you know, the more you do. As such the inspiration to pay to compete because it's just fun. As is something one does when they have a hobby. I imagine you meet lots of people in common and make friends and learn more, which is also alot of fun.
I doubt you'd ever see me compete, but maybe I'll go to a show. There was a show here in Detroit last March - a week after I got Duke. I went to a pet store with Duke and a couple people asked me what breed Duke was (I didn't know) so they said to go to the show - maybe find out. They were showing their ??? can't remember what. But they were from out-of-town! I was bewildered why someone would go to such extremes for a dog. I've always had pet dogs - never a pure bred. You never know, my son's getting older and these things take time - and money which is something I don't have much of because it all goes to him. Maybe this forum fills up a void - my own interest. Duke is a great dog.