The Best Kinds of Dog Shows
Several years ago Betty-Anne Stenmark, Show Chairman for the Del Valle Dog Club, wrote a series of articles about how to run a dog show. The Del Valle shows in October each year include two full days of specialties preceding the all-breed shows and are one of those unique and wonderful dog show experiences. Betty-Anne acknowledges, as do all good show chairmen, that the people who work with her to put the event together are invaluable. We get many calls for reprints of the “How To Run a Dog Show” series and a book is planned for the future. Lots of clubs would like to know how to make their show or cluster an event that exhibitors eagerly anticipate and return to year after year.
The annual nominees for Show of the Year are great examples of show committees that have figured it out — Louisville, Palm Springs, Detroit, Bucks County, Chicago Wichita, Kan. — all shows you’d no doubt hear about if you did a survey of fanciers’ favorite dog shows. So much goes into putting on a truly great dog show — the show site, ample grooming convenient to the rings, a carefully selected judging panel, ease of getting in and out, food and other amenities available to exhibitors. What’s remarkable is that I think there’s one secret to being worthy of the Show of the Year title that hasn’t been revealed... until now.
Quite a few people will passionately tell you that the Montgomery County Kennel Club show is one of the best dog shows they attend all year. Most breeders, professional handlers and judges who say that have been in the sport for many, many years. Although this show is limited to Terriers only, many of the people who wouldn’t think of missing Montgomery County are not Terrier people. It is just a great event for dog people, start to finish. I’ve always found it a little hard to put my finger on exactly why so many people feel that way about Montgomery. There’s just something about it...
Each year after the Winkies™ are awarded in February we ask the winners to respond to a few questions that will help reveal why they were so honored. This year Jim McTernan, Show Chairman for Montgomery County since 2007, did so, and I think the primary “secret” he reveals about how to make a dog show special is astonishing... and yet obvious! You’ll enjoy reading what he has to say.
And although they will seldom take personal credit, there seems to always be one particular person at the helm who makes a great dog show work. Maybe part of their success is because people enjoy working with them. Almost everyone on a show committee is an unpaid volunteer, and to work that hard and that long, you have to enjoy the whole process. Great show chairmen don’t come along every day. I think Jim McTernan would like me to make note that from 1977 until 2006, the Show Chairman for Montgomery County was Dr. Josephine Deubler — who was also chair for Bucks County Kennel Club for many years, proving that indeed sometimes that one special person makes a big difference.
On to other items. It has now been widely reported that the AKC/Eukanuba show will move from Long Beach back to the East Coast in 2011, a shame from my perspective as it gave us a big important event on the West Coast. No doubt it will cost AKC far less to get its people to and from their show once it moves and perhaps that makes more sense.
Dogs in Review has received quite a number of additional letters from members of the Dalmatian Club of America, this time also in opposition to registering the controversial “backcross” dogs. Those letters are already available online at www.dogsinreview.com (under “Feature Stories” is the link to “Dalmatians at a Crossroads”) with a couple in this issue and more in the June issue.
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