DIGITAL ISSUES

Menu toggle icon.
Menu toggle icon.

Dr. Adam Stafford King – 2023 Junior Showmanship Finals Judge

Dr. Adam Stafford King

 

Interview with Dr. Adam Stafford King – 2023 Junior Showmanship Finals Judge

Can you describe your reaction to receiving an invitation to judge the Junior Showmanship Finals at the AKC National Championship Presented by Royal Canin?

It was truly an honor to be asked to judge the Junior Showmanship Finals at the AKC National Championship Presented by Royal Canin. I was fortunate to have judged the preliminaries in 2015, and I’m a former Junior Handler myself.

 

How did you prepare for this assignment? Any “day of” strategies?

There was no preparation needed for the assignment, and my strategy was to look for the handler who highlighted their dog’s strengths in a quiet way.

 

Can you talk a bit about your typical process for judging Junior Showmanship?

I generally run my ring similar to how I run a Breed ring, as that is how I can evaluate handling skills. I watch for ease and efficiency of setting up their dogs as well as their ability to maneuver their dog around the ring.

 

The handlers were all focused on their dogs, and I didn’t see any evidence of nerves. They all did a remarkable job.

 

Was there a heightened energy in your ring? Did you feel the energy of the spectators?

As this was the culmination of an entire year’s work, there was much excitement in and around the ring. I was glad to see the hearty support for each of the handlers in the ring.

 

Did the Juniors in your ring seem especially focused? Any nerves on display?

The handlers were all focused on their dogs, and I didn’t see any evidence of nerves. They all did a remarkable job.

 

How evident was breed-specific presentation among the finalists?

Each handler displayed appropriate handling of their breeds.

 

With so much talent in your ring, how challenging was this assignment?

It wasn’t challenging, it was exhilarating. One of the most enjoyable assignments I’ve ever had.

 

Is there anything you’d like to say to the Juniors who made it to the Finals this year?

As I told them on the day, they all did a truly beautiful job, and they should be proud of themselves.

 

Do you have any advice that you’d like to offer to your winning Junior?

No, she seems to be doing quite well as it is!

 

Based on this assignment, would you say that the future of the sport is in capable hands?

I don’t believe that I can assess the future of the sport based on the handling skills of Juniors. While they were all supremely talented, for the sport to have a future we need more than new handlers. We need new breeders creating the breeding programs that will produce the next generation of winners, and new judges bringing different experiences and interpretations, to continue to maintain the sport we all love.