June 1 - 3, 2023

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20th Annual
June 1 - June 3, 2023
Welcome to the Registration Site
for the 2023 BRAT Convention

This is a full-service registration site that allows each individual or family to make one single reservation.

You will be able to:
  • Register and pay for the convention
  • Purchase convention meals
ALERTS! Very Important: 
  • Please be sure to order ALL items including all of your meals for each person in your party before you finalize your order.
  • Meals must be ordered by May 19.
Additional convention souvenir items are available at CafePress. NOTE: Ladies t-shirts, hoodies and sweatshirts run small.

All convention events, including the Thursday night reception, luncheons, Friday night buffet dinner and Fun Night, and Saturday night banquet will be held at the hotel.


The hotel is the Crowne Plaza in downtown Knoxville, TN. It is a very pet-friendly hotel. Dogs will be allowed in the meeting rooms and there are a lot of grassy areas surrounding the hotel to take your dogs walking. Please pick up after your dogs.

The hotel is conveniently located 15 minutes from the McGhee Tyson Airport.  For those flying into the Knoxville airport, the airport code is TYS. The hotel does not have a shuttle service to and from the airport.

Please carefully read the detailed information below about hotel reservations. 
Convention registration entitles you to attend all BRAT activities on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. Meals are additional costs and can be purchased during the registration process; this site will walk you through the process. We ask that all attendees register on this site, including those who are not staying at the hotel. Each paid registrant/family receives a free embroidered convention tote bag full of goodies.

The Convention is open to all BRAT volunteers, adopters, potential adopters, and BRAT friends. We will provide name badges upon checking in. Your name badge is very important and is your ticket to everything; you will find your meal tickets inside your name badge pocket. Please wear name badges at all times — it helps people get to know each other!

IMPORTANT reminders before you proceed:

You will be making a single reservation for an individual or family.
  • Be sure to order all items you’d like (including all meals for each person in your party) before you finalize your registration.
This event closed for registrations on 6/3/2023 4:20 PM

On Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday before you check into the hotel, stop by the Pet Safe Downtown Dog Park if you wish to let your dogs have a good run. This is the closest dog park to the hotel. It is an off-leash park and is a five minute walk away.  It is located at 200 S. Central Street, Knoxville, TN 37902.  Knoxville Parks and Recreation welcomes dogs (leashed at City Parks, greenways, and trails unless otherwise posted). Per City Ordinance, all dogs must always be on a leash (except in off-leash dog parks) and dog owners are required to pick up their dog's waste. Be sure to bring your vaccination records.

Check-in at the hotel starts at 3:00 p.m.

On Thursday evening have dinner on your own, but be sure to save room for a complimentary dessert courtesy of BRAT. After dinner, come to Salon C at the hotel with your dogs for the reception and early dog registration. Pick up your BRAT welcome bags and name badges. Each family group is entitled to one free welcome bag, not one per person. Enjoy some socializing and have lots of fun! Meet everyone and their dogs and put faces to names that you only know through Facebook and emails. Renew friendships with BRAT people you have met before. A reminder, all dogs should be on leash and under control (unless crated or in X-Pens) while in the hotel, Salon C meeting room, and Summit Ballroom. This will prevent escapes or unfriendly encounters with reactive dogs.

Friday morning and afternoon will be filled with informative seminars, lunch, Basenji contests, and activities. Afterwards there will be an informal buffet dinner at the hotel, followed by a trip to the dog park (weather permitting). We will come back to the hotel for special fun night activities. The fun continues on Saturday with more great presentations, lunch, and the raffle and silent auction in the afternoon.  We will wrap up on Saturday evening with a banquet, awards, the live auction, and more fun! Generally, the festivities on Saturday night conclude about 10:30 p.m. Sunday hotel check-out is recommended to begin your journey home. Check out time is 12:00 p.m on the day of departure.

Throughout Friday's and Saturday’s lunches and dinners there will be door prize drawings for those who order their meals through the registration site.


BRAT Convention Schedule June 1 – 3

Thursday Evening, June 1

7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.
Meet and Greet.  Early dog registration.   
Salon C
Dogs and people welcome.   Complimentary desserts.

Friday, June 2
8:00 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. Registration – Summit Ballroom
8:30 a.m. to 8:45 a.m. Welcome and Housekeeping – Debbi Johnson, Dawn Bond-Atkinson & Allen Atkinson
8:45 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. Attendee Introductions
10:00 a.m. to 10:15 a.m. BREAK
10:15 a.m. to 11:45 Rally/Obedience - Fun Activities with your Dog – Nancy Grant
11:45 a.m. to Noon BREAK
Noon to 1:00 p.m. Lunch – Salon C
1:00 p.m. to 1:30 History of the Basenji and other interesting B-Facts – Faith Atkinson
1:30 p.m. to 2:45 p.m. Pet First Aid & CPR – Kaylea Schauer
2:45 p.m. to 3:15 p.m. Walking a Dog through BRAT – panel of Board Members
3:15 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Fostering – The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly – Dean Sigler
4:00 p.m. to 4:15 p.m. BREAK
4:15 p.m. to 5:15 p.m.     
5:15 p.m. to 5:30  
Contests!!! Costume Contest, Best Baroo, Most Freckles, Best Trick, etc.
5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. BUFFET DINNER – Salon C
6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Dog Park (weather permitting)  or Free Time On Your own
8:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.
Hang out and socialize 
Sniffing Contests – Andrea McNair    Rally/Obedience – Nancy Grant
Share your Rescue stores – Summit Ballroom

Saturday, June 3
8:00 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. Registration –  Summit Ballroom
8:30 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. Attendee Introductions
9:00 a.m. to 9:15 a.m. Memorial slideshow
9:15 a.m.  to 9:30 a.m. BREAK
9:30 a.m. to 11:15 a.m. Pawsitively Artistic and More (Painting with your Basenji) – Kaylea Schauer
11:15 a.m. to 11:45 p.m. Making Your Own Treats – Pat Dukes
11:45 p.m. to 12:00 p.m. BREAK
12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. LUNCH – Salon C
1:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. Emergency VS. Non-Emergency Care/ Seizures in Dogs  – Kristin Marshall
2:30 p.m. to 3:15 p.m. Introducing a Dog into a New Home/ Dog Body Language – Michele Griffin
3:15 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. BREAK and Last Chance for Raffle tickets!!!
3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Raffle ticket drawing
4:30 p.m. to 4:45 p.m. Last chance to bid on Silent Auction items!!!
4:45 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. FREE TIME
5:30 p.m. to 5:45 p.m. Pick up and pay for silent auction items
5:45 p.m. to 6:15 p.m. Social Hour – Summit Ballroom/Salon C
6:15 p.m. to 7:15 p.m.          7:15 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. BANQUET – Salon C                                                                                  BREAK
7:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. Presentation of Awards and Live Auction – Summit Ballroom


Dogs are welcome at all events. There is access to grassy areas around the hotel. Please be sure to pick up after your dogs and use the outside trash cans for poop bags. Dogs, with the exception of Service Dogs, are not allowed in the Hotel Restaurants. Dogs will be allowed in Salon C for our Thursday Night Meet and Greet and the Summit Ballroom for all other events/activities. 

We will provide yellow ribbons at registration to be attached to the leashes of reactive dogs or those who should not be petted without permission. 

There will be room available for your personal crates and x-pens inside the Summit Ballroom and they can remain set up throughout the convention. Please let us know in advance if you will be bringing crates/x-pens.  Plastic will be provided to place under all crates. Dogs must be crated or otherwise contained away from eating areas in the room during meals. Dogs cannot stay in meeting rooms overnight.


The fantastic raffle, silent, and live auctions are always a highlight of convention weekend. We appreciate and need your donations! If you plan to bring a donated item, please let us know about it early, if possible. Email us with your item description (and a photo) ahead of time to Dawn Atkinson at

You may also mail donations in advance to:
% Dawn Atkinson
3311 Central Valley Road
Murfreesboro, TN 37129

Be sure to include a note with your name, snail mail and email addresses, and a list of the items you are donating.

As always, we plan to have a special memorial page in our convention program and a memorial slideshow shown during the convention. If you are interested in including any of your beloved Basenjis or honorary basenjis who have crossed the Rainbow Bridge, please contact Faith Atkinson at BRaTphotos@outlook.com  before May 10th. A donation of any amount is welcome, but not required. Go to https://www.basenjirescue.org/donations to donateA photo is required to be in the Memorial Slide Show.  We have posted detailed instructions on how to submit your photos and information on BRAT's FB Convention group page.
Temperatures in early June in Knoxville, Tennessee average from a high of 86 to a low of 63 degrees. The average relative humidity is 72%. It's definitely on the warmer side during June, but it's a good idea to bring an extra layer just in case. Cool, comfortable clothing is recommended for all events including the banquet, which will be casual. Because hotel meeting rooms can be chilly, consider bringing a jacket or sweater — same for evenings in Knoxville. It may be rainy during the month of June so be sure to bring along a waterproof jacket to stay dry.

Crowne Plaza Knoxville
401 W. Summit Hill
Knoxville, TN 37902

(865) 522-2600

The Hotel is pet-friendly, of course. Our dogs are welcome in all of our meeting spaces.

We will start set up for the convention space on Wednesday, May 31 so if you can come early to help, we would love to have you arrive early.  We will even give you a complimentary lunch on Wednesday and Thursday if you help us set up.  A number of us will be checking in on Tuesday, May 30.

The dates in the contracted room block allow for arrival/check in starting on Tuesday, May 30 with departure/check out on June 4.

NOTE! Please read carefully:
Please do not use the link given in a previous email to book your room. You will need to call the hotel and ask to speak to Jamie Julius, the sales manager. We do still have rooms available at this moment. Don't delay in booking your room.
The hotel's reservation manager, Jamie Julius, is available Mon – Fri, 830a – 430p, at 865-522-2600.
When you speak to Mr. Julius, tell him you are with BRAT, then tell him your arrival and departure dates and he will tell you which room styles are still available.
We have three types of rooms in our block of 160 rooms:
2 Queen beds for $149, plus tax
1 Queen and a sofa bed for $173, plus tax
1 King for $178, plus tax
Some of these types are already fully booked depending on when you plan to check in.  To get a room at all, you may have to select the higher rate room, i.e. $173 for a Queen and sofa bed or $178 for the King room, rather than $149 for 2 Queens at $149.
These rates will work until 30 days prior to the first arrival date of May 30, 2023. So to get our negotiated rates, you MUST book your room prior to April 30.  That cut-off mark is the day that the unreserved rooms of the block will drop from the group’s inventory. After that day, there is no guarantee that the rate would be available.

After the cut-off date, attendees would need to contact the hotel, directly, to make a reservation into the block.  You probably won't get the lower negotiated rates.
Parking charge is $10 self-parking daily.
We negotiated our room rate so that the $35 pet deposit is included in the room rates.

For the guests who will not have a dog with them, please advise the front desk when checking in; the room rate will be discounted by $10 per night.

Check-in is 3:00 pm. Check-out is 12:00 pm.
If you reserve through Expedia or other online hotel reservation services, you will NOT get the discounted rate and special concessions and BRAT will not get credit for the room for our guaranteed room nights. 

ALERT! Very Important: These rooms will be available at this rate only until APRIL 30, 2023, so don't wait, make your reservations today!

If you experience any problems with the reservation process after speaking with Mr. Julius, please contact Debbi Johnson at bratinc@gmail.com.


Group rate includes a negotiated pet fee waived in full. It is normally $35 per day.
  • Recently renovated hotel
  • Pet-friendly
  • Spacious guestrooms with plush bedding
  • Non-smoking rooms
  • Handicapped accessible rooms
  • Mini-refrigerator, microwave, and coffeemaker with coffee in each suite
  • A work area
  • Self-parking for $10 a day
  • Complimentary high speed internet access
  • Mahogany's Restaurant and Bar offers breakfast, lunch and dinner and is open from 7:00 am to 9:00 pm.  Dogs are not allowed. 
  • Room Service is also available
  • Heated indoor lap pool
  • 2 Story State-of-the-Art Fitness Center open 24/7
  • Onsite Business service center open 24 hours
The hotel is pet friendly. Find details on their policies below. 
  • We have negotiated with the hotel to waive the regular pet fee of $35 per day. This is a big savings for our attendees!
  • Dogs must be crated when alone in individual hotel rooms.
  • Plastic will be provided in welcome bags. Please place it under all crates in your hotel room and in our meeting rooms.
  • Plastic will also need to be placed under x-pens.
  • Additional plastic is available in the meeting room.
  • Doggie poop bags will be provided by BRAT at the registration table.
  • Please clean up after dogs in all areas of the hotel, inside and out.
  • Leashes required in all public areas.
  • Dogs are allowed in the meeting rooms at all times.
  • Dogs are not allowed in the restaurant, gym, or pool area.
  • There are disposal cans available around the outside areas.
  • Please be sensitive to the fact that not all hotel guests are with BRAT and some may not like dogs. (Yes, it is true, there are people who don't like dogs. Maybe they haven't met a Basenji!)
We hope everyone who attends the convention will be able to stay at the hotel. It is a great opportunity to hang out and socialize with fellow Basenji lovers and their dogs in between the convention events. In addition, it helps BRAT put on the convention. The hotel provides the meeting space at a reduced fee and discounts the room rate in exchange for our agreement guaranteeing that we meet our room block. If we do not have as many rooms rented at the hotel as we guaranteed, we have to pay even more for the meeting rooms as a penalty. The same is true for the meals for the event — we are committed to a guaranteed minimum amount of meals. If we don't meet the minimums for food and beverages, we still have to pay the guaranteed amount. As a result, we negotiated the room block, rate, and food as shrewdly as we could for the benefit of our attendees and BRAT.

RV PARKS AND CAMPING  (Thank you, Dean!)

For those coming in travel trailers or recreational vehicles, there are a number of places to stay. RV parks fill up quickly, so reservations should be made as soon as possible.

Soaring Eagle Campground                                      30 minutes to hotel
3152 Buttermilk Road W
Lenoir City, TN 37771
From pictures, appears to be a beautiful park. Pet friendly and Secluded.
South Lake RV Park                                                    10 Minute to hotel
3730 Maryville Pike
Knoxville, TN 37920
From Pictures and description, appears to be a beautiful park, Pet Friendly

The Pet Safe Downtown Dog Park is the closest dog park to the hotel.  It is an off-leash park and is a five minute walk away.  It is located at 200 S. Central Street, Knoxville, TN 37902.  Knoxville Parks and Recreation welcomes dogs (leashed at City Parks, greenways, and trails unless otherwise posted).  Per City Ordinance, all dogs must always be on a leash (except in off-leash dog parks) and dog owners are required to pick up their dog's waste. Be sure to bring your vaccination records.
For the sake of all dogs and people, dogs must be up to date on vaccinations including rabies and free of worms and fleas. Dogs (and children) must be accompanied by adults at all times. 

Before you leave home, be sure to bring your dogs
’ appropriate tags, licenses, and paperwork — not just for the dog park  but in case you have to produce them for any reason!

UT Veterinary Medical Center (on UT Campus) (7 minutes from hotel)                           
2407 River Drive
Knoxville, TN 37996
Monday-Sunday 8am-10pm

Knoxville Pet Emergency Clinic (4 minutes from hotel)                                              
1819 Ailor Ave
Knoxville, TN 37921
Monday to Sunday 7pm-7am

We look forward to some great meals together! Due to many factors beyond our control and the higher cost of living in the area, meal prices are slightly more this year. The Crowne Plaza is a major hotel, so costs are higher. BRAT always tries to keep prices as reasonable as possible. The Crowne Plaza adds on a 20% service charge fee in addition to sales tax; the price shown for all meals includes these tips, taxes and fees. Yes, we know you can go to McDonald's or other fast food places for less. But outside food is not allowed in the meeting rooms, so think of the great company you will miss if you leave us to eat! 100% of meal prices collected go directly to hotel.

BRAT makes no profit on meal charges. 

You will order your meals through this registration site. Meals may be ordered now through May 19, 2023. Please select your meals before completing your registration. You will not be able to return to this page once you complete your registration.

We encourage you to attend all the meals to meet others, develop networking contacts, and discuss all the information you'll be receiving. It is a time of sharing and fellowship 
— with a fresh, plated or boxed, individually- served meal or buffet.
There are four additional incentives to join us for both lunches and dinners as each will feature a door prize drawing for those who purchased meals and are in attendance.
ALERT! Very Important: It is very important that you eat the specific lunch or dinner that you ordered. Meals must be ordered in advance through this registration site. Please place your meal card on the table for each pre-ordered lunch or dinner to facilitate meal service. Pre-ordered/pre-paid lunch, dinner buffet, and banquet tickets will be in your ID badge pocket. Please be sure to bring your tickets with you to all meals.

Remember, you can use the $35 daily savings from the regular pet fee to use towards the meals.

Friday Lunch $22

Choice of one:
  • Traditional Cobb Salad - Smoked Turkey, Cheddar Cheese, Avocado, Tomato, Hard Boiled Egg and Sweet Corn served over Garden Greens
  • Deli Baguette - Baguette Roll with Shaved Ham, Smoked Turkey, Salami, Provolone and Cheddar Cheeses, Red Onion, Bibb Lettuce and Tomato served with Southern Potato Salad
  • Grilled Vegetable Wrap - Tortilla with Grilled Squash and Mushrooms, Lettuce, Cucumber, served with Southern Potato Salad
Lunches include Iced Tea with Lemon, Regular and Decaffeinated Coffee and Double Chocolate Layer Cake or Tennessee Cheesecake with Strawberry Sauce.

Tax, service charge, and tip are included in the price.

Friday Evening Tennessee Barbeque Buffet $33

No need to choose; all selections will be on the buffet table. Yum!
  • Mixed Field Greens with Assorted Toppings
  • Assorted Dressings
  • Creamy Cole Slaw
  • Southern Potato Salad
  • Hickory Smoked Pork Ribs
  • Sweet Barbeque Sauce
  • Roasted Chicken
  • Fried Catfish Filets with Hushpuppies and Tarter Sauce
  • Petite Corn on the Cobb
  • Country Style Green Beans with Bacon and Onion
  • Molasses Baked Beans
  • Seasonal Fruit Cobbler with Ice Cream or
  • Strawberry Shortcake
  • Beverage
Tax, service charge, and tip are included in the price.

Saturday Lunch $22

Choice of one:
  • Grilled Chicken Salad - Marinated Chicken Strips served over Garden Greens with Tomato, Cucumber, Hard Boiled Egg and Mild Blue Cheese served with a choice of Vinaigrette or Buttermilk Ranch Dressing
  • Croissant Club Sandwich - Shaved Smoked Turkey, Swiss Cheese, Bacon, Mayonaise, Lettuce and Tomato served with Italian Pasta Salad
  • Moroccan Chickpea Stew over Cous Cous
Lunches include Iced Tea with Lemon, Regular and Decaffeinated Coffee and Southern Pecan Pie or Red Velvet Layer Cake.

Tax, service charge, and tip are included in the price.

Saturday Evening Banquet $43

Choice of one:
  • Tennessee Grilled Salmon brushed with a Marinade of Jack Daniels, Brown Sugar and Honey
  • Tuscan Breast of Chicken in a Sauce of Artichoke Hearts, Fresh Herbs and Sun Dried Tomatoes on a nest of chef's Choice of Pasta
  • Portobella Mushroom Strudel - Braised Portabella Mushrooms, Roasted Zucchini, Feta Cheese and Cous Cous wrapped in Flaky Pastry, Tomato Coulis
  • All plated dinners include iced tea with lemon, regular coffee or decaffeinated coffee
  • Warm rolls with butter
  • Garden Salad with Spring Greens, English Cucumbers and Grape Tomatoes with Ranch Dressing
  • Italian Tiramisu or Caramel Sea Salt Cheesecake
  Tax, service charge, and tip are included in the price.

Important dates you need to put on your calendar!

ALERT! Very Important:
 Do not wait to register for the hotel rooms! We have only one block of rooms reserved and rooms fill up very quickly.

May 10, 2023 - Submissions for Memorial Slideshow deadline

May 19, 2023  Meal ordering deadline 

April 30, 2023
Crowne Plaza room rate reservations deadline


Below is a list of local activities you are sure to enjoy.

Make your way to the Knoxville Zoo, home to over 800 animals from all over the world, and then head to Market Square where you can browse the shops and grab a bite to eat. If you're visiting on a Wednesday or Saturday, visit the Farmer's Market. These are just some of the fun things to do near Crowne Plaza Knoxville Downtown University.

Art enthusiasts can visit the Knoxville Museum of Art and explore exhibits featuring historical and contemporary pieces from the East Tennessee region. Later, check out the vibrant Historic Old City, which is filled with art galleries, shops, coffee houses, and breweries.

If you want to stay active during your visit to Knoxville, make sure to visit Knoxville's Urban Wilderness. Featuring over 50 miles of trails, pristine lakes, quarries, and historic sites dating back to the Civil War era, there are countless opportunities to go hiking, biking, swimming, and paddling. Those feeling a bit more adventurous can even go zip-lining or rock climbing.

Travel back in time when you visit the Museum of East Tennessee History. Explore the museum's signature exhibit, Voices of the Land: The People of East Tennessee, which explores three centuries of life in the East Tennessee region. Visitors will observe original artifacts and hear first-person accounts of what life was like throughout the years.


Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Daily pass: $5
Weekly pass: $15
Cades Cove is free
Adult Daily: $89 (tax not included)
Adult 2 Day : $109 (ages 10-61)
Downtown Gatlinburg
Downtown Sevierville
Forbidden caverns: Tennessee is home to the most caves in the US with over 8,000 registered.  Forbidden caverns is set apart because it has multiple grottos and clear water streams running thru.  The tours are less than $20.
Sky High Air Tours
134 Air Museum Way
Sevierville, TN 37862

Tanger Outlets
1645 Parkway
Sevierville, TN 37860

Apple Barn Cider Mill and General Store
220 Apple Valley Road
Sevierville, TN 37862

White Water Rafting
3555 Wheat Way
Hartford, TN 37753

Rocky Top Mountain Coaster
2940 Veterans Blvd.
Pigeon Forge, TN 37863

Fire Fox Mountain Adventure Park
3757 Thomas Lane
Sevierville, TN 37876

Historic Knoxville self-guided walking tour
301 South Gay Street
Knoxville, TN 37982

There are several Waterfalls to hike near Knoxville, to look at them and decide which one is for you, the website is:  www.tnstateparks.com
REMINDER:  If youre bringing the canines, don't forget your clean up bags!


Questions will be answered by our convention organizer, Debbi Johnson, at bratinc@gmail.com. If you don't receive a quick response from Debbi, please contact Michael Robinson at mwrobinson3@att.net. 

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