A new season and a rant
By this time next week I’ll be at a dog show! It has been a long time since October! I don’t really count OTDFA here in El Paso, that was more like a match since it was in my town and there was only a 250 dog entry. I did win a point one day but it wasn’t like going to a dog show.
We travel to Hobbs, NM next weekend for the 1st show of 2010 (for us anyway). The Babies will be in the puppy classes for the last time since they turn a year old on 2/28 and the Flea will be a year old on 2/15. Miss Frosty has already moved to the 12 – 18 class and after this show Bailey-bug will be shown out of the BBE class.
We don’t have as big an entry in Hobbs as we have had in the past. Unfortunately one of our favorite AZ clubs changed their dates to the same weekend so it made it impossible for me to go to both shows like I normally would. Our Cardi entries are down for both clubs. Same with the Griff entry, normally a pretty good one for Hobbs but they have moved the Midland, TX shows to the following weekend and there is a 4 day show so that is where they are going, little Sienna doesn’t have any competition but we will get some good practice any way.
So now I’m going to rant a bit about shows, clusters, pro handlers and who know what else, I’m in a mood today.
Before I start ranting I want to state that I KNOW what it takes to put on a show. I belong and work for clubs who put on events and I realize the challenges that are out there in getting any type of dog show put together but just because I know doesn’t mean I have agree or like it which is where the ranting comes into play.
In the SW we almost always have to travel. Those of us in who live in West TX, NM, CO and AZ don’t normally have the luxury of sleeping in our on homes on show weekends. AZ has more shows now in the Tucson/Phoenix area so they have a few more non travel options but if you aren’t in Tucson/Phoenix you have to travel. It seems to me that most show giving clubs are worrying about the pro handler and their schedule much more than the average owner handler. Example – multi day clusters, most O/H work for a living and every time they want to attend a weekday show it means vacation time. So clubs that cluster together mostly give the P/H a free pass for the weekday shows. Another example – stacking shows, the Hobbs/Midland shows are a good example. Hobbs has been the 1st weekend in February for a long time, Midland changed their dates to follow Hobbs. Who does that benefit, Pro Handlers who just pack up and go down the road for the next set of shows. O/H either have to go home and come back or pick which shows they want to attend or take more days off to attend. If they were spread out a little more, and not stacked up O/H would have the opportunity to attend more shows. The P/H are going to go anyway, their clients pay them to go to shows so why don’t clubs try and work with other regional clubs on dates that will get them the most entries?
I don’t have anything against Pro Handlers, I’ve used them and I would not want their job, it is hard work and most of them are excellent at what they do but our sport is moving away from the Dog part of the Dog Show. It seems to be all about the Show. Shows work to make it easier for Pros, they get better grooming/parking spaces, clubs think about what would be easier for them travel wise. Now that the AKC has made it easier for a P/H to get multi breeds when applying for a judges license than a B/O/H who is going to have the advantage in the ring? A retired P/H judge might lean towards a better presented dog instead of a better dog, that same judge might cut a P/H dog some slack because they know how hard the P/H work to make a living. The P/H may have the 2nd, 3rd or 4th best dog in the ring but because of grooming, presentation and reputation they may win that day.
So in the end what happens to our breeds? Do we as my friend recently said strive to breed better dogs or just strive to breed better than everyone elses dogs? Dogs that the P/H can take in and win with because they are better handled? All of us that belong to clubs need to take a step back and remember the roots of this sport, that we are trying to advance our breeds. It isn’t about money, power, prestige or even that big ole Red White and Blue ribbon, it is about dogs and it is time we put the Dog back into the Dog Show. Our clubs need to looks at what is best for the dogs and the future of the sport. If O/H who become the B/O/Hs get shut out who is going to breed dogs for the ring? Hunt Corp?
I realize not everyone who is a good breeder is a good showman but the dogs should be judged on the merits of the dog not the merits of the handling. I also have judged matches and sweeps and realize that there is very little time in the ring to sort out what is what in the ring. Who is at fault for that? We are! We that belong to AKC clubs have let it be more about the show than the dog. Our judges have 2 minutes a dog to evaluate their quality, the AKC makes the rules and those are the ones that have to be followed. So if “we” want something different “we” need to make our voices heard, talk to your clubs delegate about your position and let them know how you feel and if your delegate isn’t working for you boot them out, they serve at the pleasure of their clubs members. Same with shows, if you don’t like how they are doing things, DON’T GO, and send the show chair a nice note letting them know why you chose not to attend their event. Same thing, if you like an event then let them know you think they are doing a good job.
So now I’ve come full circle in my rant back to shows and clusters. I love dogs show, I like to show off my dogs, visit with my doggy friends and family and I really want to continue to do so but it is getting harder and harder as a B/O/H to go to the shows I want to go to because of the dates and or set ups of the shows. I can only hope that the future still holds something for Fanciers like me.
I’m done now if you read this far have a great day and yes I am still excited to be going to my 1st show of 2010 next weekend and I hope if you are going to a show you are excited too.