Penn Ridge, New Clubs, and Insight from a GOAT

Penn Ridge, New Clubs, and Insight from a GOAT


For the second year in a row, the Penn Ridge Charitable Foundation fundraiser was held at the Meadow Event Park in Doswell, Virginia. The resort is the Birthplace of the great Secretariat, and the gala was held in the home of its former owner, Penny Chenery.

I have had the pleasure of serving as the DJ for this event every year since its inception and, in my humble opinion, this year’s event was one of the best. As usual, Charles Olvis and Liz Muthard, who also serve as the show chairs for the Penn Ridge KC show, put on another great event that was filled with great food, prizes, games, and entertainment.

New for this year was a live classic rock band from Georgia, “The Captain and Kids.” The six-man group entertained everyone with a great mix of classic rock that kept people dancing or simply enjoying the music while gambling at their favorite games.

Through the years, the Penn Ridge Charitable Foundation has donated over $320,000 to various canine charities, including Take the Lead and The George Ward Scholarship Fund as well as other organizations. The foundation is a great asset to our sport as it takes “giving back” to a new level.

The year-round planning and hard work that goes into this event is a tribute to both Charlie & Liz, and many others in the sport who understand the need for funding the many charitable groups that serve the needs of our two-legged and four-legged friends.


New Clubs in Tennessee

Two hard-working groups of volunteers have created new specialty clubs in the state of Tennessee. The Great Dane Club of Tennessee and the Volunteer Vizsla Club of Tennessee were recently approved to hold specialties by the AKC under the “Mentored Program.”

The Great Danes will hold their first specialty in conjunction with the Chattanooga Kennel Club all-breed show in September, while the Vizsla club will be holding its first specialty on November 4 in conjunction with the Tennessee Valley Kennel Club all-breed shows.

With so many clubs struggling, it is refreshing to see a group of veteran dog people team up with the newer exhibitors to establish these new clubs. If you are an exhibitor of Danes or Vizslas, please mark your calendars and support the new clubs’ efforts.


Insight from a GOAT

In the wide world of sports, people often talk about who they see as the GOAT (Greatest Of All Time) in any specific sport. I was recently reading my Buckeye Sports Bulletin which features a great deal of information on all sports of the Ohio State Buckeyes. The July 2022 (Vol. 41, No. 23) issue featured an interview with golf legend and Buckeye alumni, Jack Nicklaus.

As many know, Jack was a very successful golfer for many years and still holds the record for tournament Majors won. While some would say Tiger Woods, and others, Arnold Palmer or Ben Hogan, there is no question that Jack’s record speaks for itself. Here is a tidbit from the interview, which I think is relevant to all of us who compete in any type of competition:

BSB Interviewer: “The assertion that you played your sport well is perhaps something of an understatement. More than one expert has called you the greatest golfer of all time. How do you feel about that assessment?

Jack Nicklaus: “I’m probably not the most objective person to determine how good I was. I’ll let somebody else or some group determine that. I always felt like there was only one person I could control, and that was me. People always asked who was my toughest competitor, and I always said it was me. That’s because I could never control anybody else. All I could do was prepare myself the best I could and try to use that to the best of my ability when I played. I never minded getting beat if I had prepared properly. If I prepared, did what I thought was my best and somebody played better, fair enough. Shake the man’s hand and say ‘well done.’

Not everybody judges me as the greatest golfer who has ever played. Some would say it was Tiger (Woods), others might say it was (Ben) Hogan, others would say it was (Bobby) Jones. That’s OK. All I know is I tried to do everything within my ability to perform my best—and I think I could probably have been better.

But I also helped raise a family, had five kids and 22 grandkids. I’ve had successful business projects, I’ve enjoyed the company of a lot of friends, and there have been a lot of other things that I have enjoyed. Golf was a part of my life, but it wasn’t my whole life. And that, to me, was what was important.

Another quote from the interview: “I’m proud of the fact that God gave me the talent to play my sport well and use my sport for better things.

I never minded getting beat if I had prepared properly. If I prepared, did what I thought was my best and somebody played better, fair enough. Shake the man’s hand and say ‘well done.’


I think there are lessons for all of us in this brief portion of the interview. As Jack said, his preparation was the key to his success and he only had control over himself. How true is that as it relates to our sport? The one key trait that the superstar professionals seem to have in common is preparation. Professional athletes just don’t show up on game day and expect to win. They practice and prepare constantly. They study films and practice with the team, and the great ones practice even after the others have left the building. This is why they succeed.

Do you prepare for the ring? How often do you work with your dogs? Or do you just show up at the ring and think that you have the best dog and you should win? Are you your toughest competitor? When you lose, do you shake the winner’s hand and say congratulations?

Are you so absorbed in the game that it has become your whole life and it consumes you? Or do you have a balance in your life, filled with family, friends, and other interests? Successful people put in the work and the effort, but they also know the importance of balance in life.

Remember, even the “greats” do not win them all. The difference is that they are always well-prepared and put in the work on those things that are in their control. So, the next time you are in the ring, you need to remember that you can only do your best. And if the judge points to someone else, you need to congratulate the winner and go back and continue to work to improve so that, the next time out, it will hopefully be your hard work that pays off in the win column. You not only have to have talent, you also have to work hard to bring out the best of that talent.

Remember to become a GOAT.

  • Walter Sommerfelt of Lenoir City, TN has been involved in the sport of purebred dogs since acquiring his first Old English Sheepdog in 1972. He is a former professional handler as well as a breeder, and exhibitor of breeds in all seven groups, most notably Vizslas, OES, Pointers, Bearded Collies and Weimaraners. Judging since 1985 he is approved for All Sporting, Working, and Herding breeds and groups, Junior Showmanship and Best in Show and has had the honor of judging on four different continents. Mr. Sommerfelt has judged many of the most prestigious shows in the United States including the herding group at the 2014 Westminster Dog Show in New York City where he has judged on three separate occasions. Mr. Sommerfelt was the founder and chairman for the St. Jude Showcase of Dogs from 1993 until 2009, a unique event showcasing the world of purebred dogs. This special event was the largest collection of various dog events in one location, featuring an AKC all Breed Dog Show, AKC Obedience and Rally Trials, AKC Agility trials, (prior to AKC adding agility NADAC trials ) One of the largest Fly ball tournaments in the U.S.A., Herding and go to ground demonstrations, A main stage featuring performances by Canines from Television and the Movies, Freestyle, Demos by drug and various therapy dogs, A full room of booths for meet the breeds, over 50 AKC judges seminars annually, Lure coursing, A fun Zone for Children, and other dog related fun activities for the general public and their dogs. Over the years the event not only raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for the world-renowned St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, TN, but also raised awareness of the many activities for people with their dogs as well establishing a voice for dog people in the Memphis area with regard to legislation. Many aspects of today’s AKC Royal Canin show can be traced back to the St. Jude event. Along with Carol his wife of 36 years they have bred well over 90 AKC Champions including Group, Best in Show and Specialty Winners, dual Champions and multiple performance titled dogs. During the past 40 years Mr. Sommerfelt has been active in a number of dog clubs and is currently the President of the Tennessee Valley Kennel Club. He is recipient of the AKC outstanding Sportsmanship Award and is also a career agent and financial planning specialist with Nationwide Insurance. The Sommerfelts’ have two grown children, both former Junior Handlers and they are still active breeders and exhibitors of the Vizsla breed.

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