Northeast Regional Beardie Specialty, Ladies' Dog Club
Best of Opposite Sex
It's hard to believe that six months have gone by since Dinah's last show. The last time she saw the inside of a ring was on her very first day as a special, on the Sunday of the Thanksgiving shows in Springfield.
The show season began quite a bit earlier in the year for me. I served as trophy chair for my local kennel club's shows, and stewarded for Vacationland (where the show chair really knows how to take good care of the stewarding staff). Dinah came along to Vacationland to act as my able assistant in the CGC tests, but she didn't show. She was less than impressed; she felt that if she came to a show, she should be able to show, thankyouverymuch. No crappy spectator stuff for this girlie.
Of course, I had to enter Dinah in the first-ever Northeast Regional Specialty (or whatever the heck we call it) at the Ladies' Dog Club show. The Specialty was a joint effort between the Bearded Collie Club of Maine and the Minuteman Bearded Collie Club, and it would have been impolitic as hell to not show my support by putting my girlie in. Besides, Wrentham is only a few miles from my hometown, and I couldn't just show up to my dad's house with my hands empty of visiting Beardies, could I?
Plus, I've always had a soft spot in my shriveled little heart for Ladies. 19 (eeek!) years ago, my very first Bearded Collie puppy went to Ladies for his very first show, and came in 4th in his class. Woohoo -- a ribbon! It was as though the little guy had just won at Westminster! I was so tickled that my baby Beardie boy had his very first placement there that I've been a touch sentimental about that show ever since. The rest of Merlin's story is short and sad, but that day still comes back to me with fuzzy golden edges.
Back to Ladies 2009: The weather gods smiled on us. Kathy the show chair, Debbie the hospitality chair, and Val the trophy chair all outdid themselves in making sure we had enough food, fun, and fellowship to make the weekend memorable. We even drew 5-point majors in both dogs and bitches! (This answers my agonized question of the past couple of years as to what we need to do to get majors in this region... throw a party!)
The show even brought out friends I haven't seen in ages. Rosie's mom Cindy brought her veteran girl Abbey for Veteran Sweeps. Lesley and Sue brought Cali and Jezebel, who were both still very much puppies when we last hung out at Thanksgiving. Michele (with Brock and Tart) even came up from PA and attended the show with Joanne and Jack (who is a very handsome young man!). Our friend Kandis was the Sweeps judge. Best of all... we got to stage a reunion of the fabulous all-star team of Auntie Kathy and Dinah Moe!
The Lovely One was pleased as anything to be there with her favorite boy (Traveler) and his kids Chester and Fiona. She's had weekly play dates with the Bramley/Avalon bunch since Val and I signed up for Tuesday morning Weight Watchers classes -- Dinah and Charlie come along for the ride and get to romp with Val's Beardies after each meeting. For her, the show was Old Home Week.
The puppies and veterans acquitted themselves well in Sweeps. Chester and Fiona looked wonderful, and did very well considering that this was only their second or third show. Barbara's Spirit ended up as Winners Bitch and getting the 5-point major. Barbara handled her in Bred-By, but Kathy handled her in Winners and won! Barbara was so thrilled that Kathy now gets to finish Spirit's championship. (She's also going to handle Barbara's new puppy Denbigh when he's old enough to start showing.)
There are some photos on the Web at the BCCME Web site, though all of us who took pictures are still slowly combing through hundreds of shots for the best ones. Come see what we have thus far.
I must admit that I'm liking this Best of Breed thing. Sure, you have fewer opportunities to compete in a given show since you're not showing in the classes, and there are really only two things you can win in breed competition, but if the entry is sufficiently large, the pace is much more leisurely. You can spend more time getting ready, and you're not on until last. Best of all, you don't have to care if there are majors at the show. You just go. Sure, you might get skunked more often since you're only competing in the breed ring for BOB and BOS, but the whole show experience is a lot more fun. If you're lucky enough to win BOB, the wait for Groups is usually long -- and thus more leisurely than you might like sometimes.
Kathy and the other handlers I know have always said that if the judge speaks to you while going over your dog, then you're doomed. When I saw our judge flash a big smile at Kathy and Dinah and say something, I honestly didn't know what to think. We've shown to judges who have obviously hated Dinah's type before, but they've never grinned at Kathy while doing it.
After the individual evaluations and the last go-round, the judge pulled out Roy, Dinah, and Traveler for her BOB finalists. Dinah couldn't have been more pleased -- she got to stand out there with two of her favorite boys! She shows best when she's happy, and the judge gave her Best Opposite to Roy.
Kathy told me later that the judge had REALLY liked Dinah, and that Dinah had come close to beating Roy for the breed. Roy's a magnificent dog with a high-powered handler and a big financial backing, so it's no small honor to come in second to him. Kathy also enjoys making Cliff (Roy's handler) sweat for BOB. The judge had remarked to Kathy, while going over Dinah, "I really like what I'm feeling here!" She went on to praise Dinah's structure and substance, and mentioned that Dinah did come within a hairsbreadth of getting Best of Breed. As much as I wish we could be on the other side of the hairsbreadth sometimes, you just can't hate that. Going Best Opposite at a Specialty, however small, is still a pretty good-sized win.
Of course, it's never official until I've texted Alan and emailed Gill and Jana. Jana replied that Buffy appeared to be starting labor. She had a hard road and an eventual C-section, but Buffy is now the proud and loving mum to two baby brownies, a boy and a girl. (The proud papa is Leo, Bendale Special Times, the gorgeous brownie who won Breed at Crufts.) Dinah is now an aunt!
We didn't fare as well with Dorothy Collier on Sunday -- she pretty much ignored everyone except Roy, but she deserves some props for putting up Lesley's girl Cali (who took the major on Sunday and went BOS to Roy over the bitch specials). Dinah wasn't as cheery that day as she had been on Saturday, and kept pulling on the collar and gagging herself for some reason. When Dinah's not into showing, she's Not Into Showing, and it does no good to complain.
Still, if we had to pick one day for Dinah to shine, we'd have picked Saturday anyway. Can't hate that.