Beautiful One Day, Perfect the Next.
By Keith Lovell
Only a Terrier family would have imagined that after the World Show in Oporto an even more exciting show was only two weeks (and 11 hours by 747 400) away in California. That of course was some years ago. Shortly on my way to the World Show in Stockholm I will again visit and judge Great Western Terrier Assocaition and Beverly Hills and this time Long Beach K.C.
Let me reflect on the past as I dream of my next trip to judge Bevely Hills and Great Western for the fourth time. More about this year later but now allow me to share the great past with you all..
Having read a Dog News article by Marjorie Hanson and Christel Murdock prior to publication (as a proofreader) my expectations of Great Western were high and rewarded. No time however for Disney or The Queen Mary etc unless staying over for Long Beach and Shoreline. No time because the Great Western Terrier Show, Breed Specialties and Kennel Club of Beverly Hills provided one of the best dog weekends ever. I wonder if a new name for this club could be the Great Weather Terrier Show as indeed the weather was fantastic from the moment I left the plane in LA to the moment I again entered the aircraft to return to Australia.
This weekend typified what dog showing is about. Not just the pure art of breeding and then testing great dogs under judges from different states and countries. It is also about people and parties and fun tempered by discussions on breed type, talk of great shows, critiquing judging and of course comparing exhibits in the ring today with those of yesterday. It is also about the people. Dog People and Dog People People. I certainly enjoyed time with both over this great weekend.
David Merriam was one of the first people I met in the Judges’ reception tent on Friday morning. I was not surprised to find the Chairman of the American Kennel Club a warm man generous with his time. Dr Josephine Daubler was there with her life long friend Lil Schwartz. Mathew Stander who was also at the World Show was as excited as a new exhibiter as his magnificent Airedale did so well. Such a stunning bitch. Dog world doyens like Ric Chashoudian, Peter Green, Wood Wornall, Jean Heath, Birgit Cody, Margaret Young Renihan etc but the one who stood out for me this weekend was June Dutcher. June has been at the forefront of Airedales for many, many years and is a successful exhibiter, breeder, artist and author. June has served in most positions on the Airedale Terrier Club of America. June attended the Airedale Club of Southern California social event after the judging on Friday night where a very significant portion of her wonderful collection was auctioned. It was a reminder of the comradeship and goodwill in our sport to see a standing round of applause for this grand lady.
On the day Trish and I arrived at the judges’ hotel (really lovely) the showgrounds were already a buzz with the breed judges seminars. Reports suggested that this was a most successful day at a beautiful venue. I was to see it for myself in the morning when I arrived to judge the Irish Terrier Club of Southern California Specialty. I marvelled at the organisation that must have been behind so stunning a view. Beyond a more than adequate and well-disciplined car park were acres of tenting and well spaced judging rings. I heard later that Jack and Karen Smith work on this throughout the year between shows and that Jack had hardly left the site for the whole week as the set up took place under his guidance. Concessions, toilets, handlers tents and the remarkable carts used all weekend for moving judges, committee, exhibiters and even dogs, evidenced the thoughtfulness of the organisers who clearly were striving to present the most wonderful of shows. Perhaps they achieved it. I certainly vote that way. It was evident to me that Great Western and Beverly Hills cooperate very successfully. The result shows the value of cooperation and good will.
Both Friday and Saturday shows were a veritable feast of great dogs attending their breed specialty be it local or national. I was privileged to personally judge many great dogs. The Irish Terrier breed impressed me; the Australian Terriers were fantastic with at least four absolutely fabulous exhibits. Both Norfolk and Norwich Terriers excited me and compared to the breed in my country they are amazing. I had the very great joy of large numbers of Smooth Fox Terriers. The breed has never impressed me as much in the USA as it did this time. The heads were exceptional right down the line. Unfortunately for me as a judge and probably all judges who love terriers, I could not see them all. I pretty much kept away from the best in show ring on Friday and Saturday. I was later able to see all the results in the daily newsletter that Jack Smith and Lydia Castagna put out. On Sunday at Beverly Hills when I had my catalogue to mark and a great seat under shade I was astounded by the quality of some of the breed winners competing for what is probably the strongest terrier group at an all breeds show in the country. It was a remarkable job for the terrier judge Paul Thomann to select four in the time allowed but that is exactly what he did. He chose the Kerry Blue Terrier first followed by the Scottie, the Skye and the Sealyham. What an honour to win in such company. For me seeing the Kerry for the first time was a great joy. (I couldn’t help noting many contrasts with the Kerry who was number two at the World show.) A joy too, to see him moved at a pace that permitted us to see his beautiful correct movement. So many other great dogs had to miss out on the numbers. My own breeds the Airedale, Welsh Terrier and, until recently, Irish Terriers and Smooth Fox Terrier were represented in the line up in the most exceptional way. (What I would give to bring any one of them home.)
Beverly Hills is an all breeds show and one must look beyond the terriers when being invited to write a report on the weekend. This was my third time judging Beverly Hills and previously I had seen a superb Wire Fox Terrier, and a wonderful Toy Poodle win the major award. Seven stunning dogs decorated the Best in Show ring and nobody was surprised to see the Kerry Blue make it three Best in Shows in three days. Champion Torums Scarf Michael was a standout as winners so often are. His balance and style and his gracious movement caught every eye and by the applause it was clearly a very well accepted win.
According to Jack Smith in his GWTA News, this weekend is the beginning of an amazing week of over 100 events with entries of some 12000 exhibits. It involves Beverly Hills, Shoreline and Long Beach Kennel Clubs and over 50 other group or breed clubs. The full story will emerge in the week ahead when the final result, all the successes and the stories people tell will end the tale for another year.
I commenced this report commenting on our sport being about dogs and the people who appreciate them. For me the report must end on a note about the people. Whether fellow judges, stewards and club committee members, whether exhibiters, handlers or photographers, whether AKC Field Officers or Show Superintendent staff or whether hotel staff or drivers of carts I found 100% good will cooperation and friendliness. After the weekend of shows I relaxed with my wonderful friend and Great Western Vice President, Marjorie Hansen, who arranged a sailing experience on San Diego Bay for Trish and I with some of her wonderful friends from the shows. What more can you say other than the Great Western Terrier Club and Kennel Club of Beverly Hills weekend was both an outstanding success.