The Richmond Shows

What an amazing weekend.

Thursday night, I left the house with 3 dogs: Reza, Soleil and Rock. Left Joey to keep Selma company and "guard" the house while I was away. Rock needed one point to finish his Field Championship, and I wanted to knock that out before all the coursing clubs took their summer siestas and I would have to wait until the fall. I headed off to Powell, TN for the BGCC coursing trial, but was only going to stay for one day. I thought I would be sleeping in the old Civic that night with the dogs camped outside, but Chuck Boyd was generous enough to let me crash out on the couch of his RV. I appreciate the company and the air-conditioned sleeping arrangements, but the dogs still enjoyed a night under the stars...

The next day it was Rock vs. Reza in the open class, and to my surprise, Reza stayed with the bunny and only pulled up 1.5 times. She's still spooking when other dogs run up behind her, but I hope this is at least helping her: running with another pack-mate. Rock took his final Open point at the end of the day to become a Field Champion.

In addition to Rock's accomplishment, I was happy to run Whippets and Pharaohs as the lure op for the day. It was hot standing on top of Tommy's motorhome, but not hot enough to pass out and fall off of it. I got to finally meet Lynda and Jim Hicks who were up from Texas. What a pleasure! I feel we are on the same wavelength as far as structure and breeding is concerned, and it was great talking dogs with them. Lynda was throwing pedigree stuff at me which, like normal, went over my head without my wife there to catch it. As far as her stock and their structure is concerned, she has some magnificent dogs. Tucker is truly a beautiful little bitch, and I couldn't fault her on a single aspect; gorgeous movement as well. Lynda is very lucky, and my god, what a beautiful runner. She deserves to be the #1 AKC courser in the country and probably #1 conformation as well.

I left that afternoon before ribbons to get straight to Leon Wiley and Mark Langenfeld's house in Richmond, VA for the dog shows that weekend. I got in at about 11:00 PM that night and Selma with Joey at about 12. Mark and Leon were wonderful hosts for us as well as Sherry Licata and Anna Grechka. Their house is beautiful and dogs, Solo, Stormy and Tyson, were all wonderful.

At the show on Saturday, we found all of our crates squeezed together and 2 crates crammed into the middle of our setup on the wall, blocking the water fountains and doors we were careful not to obstruct, so that our grooming table was separated, constricted and useless. We alerted the superintendant, and the crates were moved out of our setup giving us a bit of grooming room. On top of that, all of the buckets from our crates were stolen sometime during the night. They were nice enough to leave the jugs of water. The building was barely air-conditioned, and you would sweat just standing there. I thought the show was going to be a nightmare.

Mrs. Keke Kahn was the judge on Saturday. She has fantastic ring demeanor and was very communicative and patient in the ring. She said great things about Soleil's shoulders and construction, but said that she needs better grooming! It was understandable as we'd just come from lure coursing, and although she didn't run in the trial, we did run her as a test dog. A bath was definitely in order that night, and I apoligized for and explained her post-coursing grooming, but we ended taking best of breed over 2 specials regardless! That was her second major out of the way and a huge relief to us. Half of what I wanted to accomplish that weekend in the shows was done. Unfortunately, Rock didn't fare so well on Saturday, only taking second in open. He showed well, but it just wasn't enough. Annie Camp's nice boy from Meadow Valley took the points.

Soleil ended up going to the group ring with, who we originally thought would be Mrs. Barbara Alderman, ended up being Mr. James G. Reynolds. Mr. Reynolds was also our judge for Sunday, so I was hoping to make a good impression. Not paying attention, we ate lunch with James Pollara, who we hadn't seen in a while, and almost missed our ring time when we saw a variety of hounds standing outside the group ring with only 5 minutes until ring time. I dashed and got Soleil out of her crate, and Selma brushed her out ringside after she had been laying about for the last hour. If Mrs. Kahn though she was a rumply mess... Soleil showed fairly well in the group ring, fidgeting a bit on the stack, but overall, a cute performance.

Saturday evening, there was an Afghan Hound match put on by the Richmond Afghan Hound Club. I thought it would be tacky to enter the breed winner from the day in the match, so instead I handled Hannah. She moved very well for me, but needs some ring training on the stack. Hannah did a beautiful job, and ended up taking Best Op Adult in Match.

Debbie Cromer pulled us aside and demo'd a finishing spray and a silk spray for us on Soleil's coat and gave us our assignment for the next day. We went home to a wonderful meal prepared by Mark, homemade spaghetti, and it was amazing. After reeling for a while at the day's win and unwinding with friends, we hit the sack.

The next morning, I bathed the kid-o, and Selma dried and brushed her out per Debbie's instructions to great effect: she looked like amazing. I've never seen her look so shiny or her hair feel so healthy. I took Rock into the ring on Sunday, and he did a magnificent job. He's such a reliable boy in the ring now and a pleasure to show. Having been awarded Winner's Dog, I checked off my other hopeful accomplishment for the weekend: Rock's second major. Now, both class dogs we're showing are majored out, and we can just find some close shows to knock out singles.

Figuring the old adage about judges not liking to give the same handler Winner's Dog and Winner's Bitch, I thought any shot I had with Soleil was sunk, but would still try for at least a reserve because the Richmond AHC had offered up some nice rosettes and breed prizes for the day. She took her class of three and went back in for Winner's. I usually have trouble smiling when in the ring as I'm very serious business in there, but I just can't help having a good time and enjoying myself when showing Soleil. She baits for her squeaky mouse and loves to play and jump on me. If it's not fun for them, it's not fun for me. She was exquisitely groomed, and I thought we might have a shot at Winner's until Mr. Reynolds pulled out the 9-12 puppy at the final lineup for an additional "around." Once the puppy landed though, he pointed at me again, and I could NOT believe my luck: another Winner's Bitch and a 2 point win.

I hurried out of the ring and made sure that Anna Grechka had Rock ready to take in for breed competition. I kept Soleil because I wanted to try to maximize her chances of getting a cross-over major for an additional point. With only a couple specials, the breed competition went quickly, and Soleil took Best of Winner's for the 3 points. Christine Pinkston took Best of Breed that day, and she ended up making the cut in group with Cammy showing fabulously.

We ended up winning two of Mimi Baker's prints. We kept the one Soleil won of a pretty black-masked red bitch (fitting), and Anna took the other print home for all her hard work that weekend. It was great seeing many of the Carolina AHC members there showing and many of the Virginians that I'm getting to know better being in the area now. We had a wonderful weekend, congratulations to everyone that won and want to thank everyone for their congratulations, their complements on our dogs and my handling and especially to Leon and Mark for having us for the weekend.