Heart of New Mexico: New Mexican announcer of the Westminster Dog Show

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Michael Lafave wears many jackets. You might see him out on the road, but he’s a man who wears more than leather. 

For more than 20 years, Lafave has been the show announcer for one of the longest-running sporting events in the country – the Westminster Dog Show.

“First of all, I have to know what all the breeds are,” said Lafave. 

Which he admits, is a little strange considering it was his wife, Carla, that got him into it.

“She was the dog person, I was never the dog person,” Lafave said. “When she was showing, my official job was I was the driver, I shlupped the crates around, I picked up after the dogs, I helped her groom the dogs. That was my job, OK? Didn’t take an awful lot of expertise to do that.”

And along came their championship dog: Manner Hill Molly Molly.

“I once said to somebody, they will take all the money you’ve ever earned and all the time you have to be involved in showing dogs,” Lafave said. 

In less than two weeks Lafave will head back to New York to call the only live televised dog show in the country. But, Carla will not be there.

“Both her doctor and I noticed she was having trouble with words,” said Lafave. 

It was Alzheimer’s disease.

“Hardest thing I ever did in my life,” Lafave said. 

In 2019, Carla died just days after their 50th wedding anniversary.

“And it was hard to go alone, you know? After all those years of going with her. But, I love doing the show. I love seeing the people there. I love working with the people,” said Lafave. 

He’s taking the road as it comes, and whether it be on a bike or among the dogs, he shared what keeps him going:

“Is people. My interest is in people.”

The folks he’ll meet around the corner. You can look for Lafave during the Westminster Dog Show when it starts Monday, May 8.