Rita, a 5-year-old Chesapeake Bay retriever co-owned by a former Coaldale resident, was an award winner in Tuesday's judging at the prestigious Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in Madison Square Garden, New York City.

She won "Best of Opposite Sex," losing out to a male dog from Texas named Ferris.

Rita is owned by Cynthia "Cindy" Meyer – the former Cynthia Hedes – of Salisbury Township, who is a 1974 graduate of Panther Valley High School. Jo Martin of Cabin Ridge Kennels, Middletown, N.Y. is also an owner.

This was Rita's second year at the dog show. Last year Rita received an Award of Merit at Westminster.

Rita, whose kennel name is Ch Abin Ridge's Mega Margarita, has been owned by Meyer since the dog was just 1 1/2 years old. Her breeders are Juli and Joe Koval from the Lehigh Valley.

She was sired by Ch Chesshores Crazy As A Loon and Ch Mala of Mt. Breeze Chesabar.

Rita is shown by Kevin Bednar of Blandon, Berks County. He and his wife Heather Bremmer have been showing Rita since October 2007.

Meyer has been showing Chesapeakes since 1998, when she was the owner of Chesapeake Katie. Last year was her first showing at Westminster.

She is the daughter of Catherine Hedes of Coaldale and the late Edward Hedes.

The Chesapeake that beat out Rita in points is a 4-year-old owned by Stacy George of Alamo, Texas.

His kennel name is Ch Chesabar's Anyone Anyone.

Another dog, owned by local residents and shown at Westminster, failed to make the cut.

Maddox, a 2-year-old chow chow co-owned by Karen Tracy of Franklin Township and handled by Jan Kolnik of Towamensing Township, had been ranked the number one chow dog in the country going into the judging.

The chow chow competition was won by Ch E-Lynn Traveling Man, also 2 years old, which is owned by Victor Fernandez and breeder Linda Albert of Hauppauge, Long Island, N.Y.

Judging for the chow chows occurred on Monday.