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The average dog show enthusiasts are used to less than perfect hotels, but almost always expect more from a national. While often a step-up, most of time you are left with either a nice room, a big ring or a decent place to potty your dog. It’s very rare that you get everything you want. Unless, of course, you are lucky enough to end up at the Embassy Suites in Loveland, Colorado. Not only did you sleep in a spacious two-room suite, but each morning you were greeted with a complimentary made-to-order omelet breakfast and a manager’s reception each night with hors d’oeuvres and drinks. Oh, and did I mention the ballroom was huge with plenty or room to host 500+ Ridgeback entries along with owners, breeders and specators. One could feel the love instantly.
Every event was meticulously planned with themes and fun for all. The Top Twenty-Five – Colorado Gold Rush was beautifully decorated with all the stars and glitz we come to expect. A full-color catalog, beautiful full-length ribbons and a lighted star entrance into the ring was just the start. There was also a Colorado “OLD” Rush – Over 50 Handler Event that left everyone laughing and applauding for their favorite costumed team as well as standing ovations for the handler most proficient at taking a shot of whiskey before their down and back.
Between all the fun and frills, the regular show must go on. In spite of the psychedelic orange and yellow carpet and the corresponding striped walls in the grand ballroom, the ring was spacious and allowed all the spectators to watch and enjoy.
First was the sweepstakes judging, officiated by Ridgeback breeder Erin Coogan. With 57 veterans and 110 puppies, it became clear that the school teacher from Taylorsville, Utah, knew how to run an organized and smooth ring. Don’t let the teacher stature scare you, however, as judge Coogans’ kind hand on a dog was apparent at all times. At one point there was an obviously overwhelmed puppy having a tough time. Without hesitation, as the puppy hesitated, Coogan leaned over and began hugging, petting and talking to her. The puppy immediately sat down, looked up adoringly at the judge as the petting and loving continued. By the end of the class this young puppy was standing tall and proud. It is times like these that bring a smile to my face and warmth in my heart. If only all judges would take such care and patience with young, insecure puppies.
My heart continued to stay warm as the veteran classes took center stage. The gray faces, the wagging tails and the love of their owners and handlers is one of my favorite classes at a national. The smile on the judges’ face said it all … unconditional.
The next day would start the regular classes, officiated by Paula Nykiel of Washington, MO. With a supersized entry of 66 class dogs, 109 class bitches, 84 non-regular and 162 breed exhibits, there was no room for error. I thoroughly enjoyed Mrs. Nykiels’ ring procedure. She was professional, proficient and went above and beyond the required exam. Each dog, in every class, was afforded the opportunity to do the down-and-back as well as go-round more than once.
It is always exciting to watch a judge and listen to spectators try and guess what the judge is looking for. “Definitely the down-and-back,” says one. “No, most definitely the go-around,” says another. “Oh, no, no, it’s definitely the stack,” firmly states another. I chuckled most of the time as I was sure her lines-ups were based on the standard. I mean, isn’t that what the judge is supposed to do?
After two-days of judging, it was time for Best of Breed. Arguably, the most anticipated day of the week. It is always exciting to see some of the nations top dogs as well as some that you have only seen on social media. As each group came in, initial exams were completed and cuts made, until the final standing was less than twenty. There were families of dogs, both young and old. Professionals, owners and breeders alike, were all in the running for the ribbons. But alas, there can only be one who claims the top prize. This year, it would be Rugby, MBIS MRBIS MBISS GCHP Diablo’s Back Alley Brawler, CGC, ROM, bred and owned by Nancy Faville, co-bred by K&S McNary, co-owned with Helle Rasmussen and Rebecca McMilton and beautifully presented by Elizabeth Jordan Nelson.
Congratulations to all the winners and kudos to Show Chair, Nancy Faville, and her entire committee, for putting on a well-organized and smooth-running specialty.
Next year … Ohio or Bust!
2018 Rhodesian Ridgeback Club of the United States
87th National Specialty
September 30 – October 6, 2018
JUDGE PAULA NYKIEL
BEST OF BREED
GCHP DIABLO’S BACK ALLEY BRAWLER, CGC
WINNERS BITCH/BEST OF WINNERS/AWARD OF MERIT
AZIZA’S CASINO ROYALE BY PRECIDIO
BEST OF OPPOSITE SEX
GCHB DC COUNTY LINE’S SCOTLAND YARD, SC CA
GCHS HIGHLAND RIM SUGAR MAN OF PRESIDO
SELECT BITCH/AWARD OF MERIT/TOP 25 WINNER
GCHS CH NASHIRA’S JUST BEAT M ALL
AWARDS OF MERIT
GCHG MYSTIKO & ADILI’S UNSTOPPABLE REIGN, CGC
GCH LANE’S OOH LALA
CH KIMANI’S AIRES APPARENT
CH CRUSADER’S YOU HAD ME AT HELLO TO GADICO
GCHB LIONLAMB’S DARK HORSE, CA
GCHG CELTIC LORE’S PERFECT STORM, JC
GCH KIMANI’S FOXHILL SOUTHERN GENTLEMAN
GCHP CH KIMANI’S INDELIBLE IMPRESSION, JC
WINNERS DOG/AWARD OF MERIT
IMARI’S GIFT FROM BEYOND
CH KIMANI’S SOMETHING SPECTACULAR, JC
SWEEPSTAKES/STUD DOG/ BROOD BITCH
JUDGE ERIN COOGAN
BEST IN PUPPY SWEEPSTAKES
ROKISHOALS I CAUGHT YOUR EYE
BEST IN JUNIOR SWEEPSTAKES
CH FRELAND’S A RUNNER’S DREAM
BEST IN VETERAN SWEEPSTAKES
GCHS KODA’S MIGHTY MAN OF VALOR, RN SC OJP NAJ
GCHB CH JUBA LEE ENJOYS HOW THE RACE IS RUN, CD BN RI SC CGC TKN
GCH DC IVORYMOON’S DESTINATION UNKNOWN, RN MC
AGILITY HIGH IN TRIAL – STANDARD
JENNA – FC NORTHSTAR'S FOOTPRINTS IN GOLD, VCD1 BN RN MC MX MXB MXJ MJB
AGILITY HIGH IN TRIAL – PREFERRED
GCHS CH JUBA LEE'S ALL AROUND TALK, BN RN NJP NFP CGCA
OBEDIENCE HIGH IN TRIAL – OPEN & UTILITY
TC WHEATRIDGE SOLOIST O’KAHLU, UDX6 OGM
OBEDIENCE HIGH IN TRIAL – REGULAR
WHEATRIDGE I’M ALL ABOUT THE BASS, CDX JC
LURE COUSING – BEST IN FIELD
MBIF DC U-CH AZIZE’S WARRIOR PRINCESS AT MENDOCINO, SC LCM
BEST IN TRIATHLON
TC WHEATRIDGE SOLOIST O’KAHLU, UDX6 OGM SC CGC VCX