Interview with Shawne Imler – 2023 MCKC Junior Showmanship Judge
Can I describe my reaction to receiving an invitation to judge the Junior Showmanship Finals at the Montgomery County Kennel Club’s All-Terrier Show?
Shawne Imler: I was so honored when I was asked to judge Juniors at Montgomery. Not an assignment I take lightly. I have shown at Montgomery almost every year since I was a Junior. Some of these children were children of my colleagues and friends. I was honored that they entered under me. So proud of all of these kids.
The energy was fantastic. These young people work very hard, not only to present their dogs but also behind the scenes. I was very impressed with the presentation, down to the clothes they were wearing.
How did I prepare for this assignment? Any “day of” strategies?
Shawne Imler: Prepare… I prepared more for Juniors than I did for my Breed judging on Friday of Hatboro. I actually watched some videos to get some ideas. These kids are very talented. It is very difficult to break it down to just one winner.
Can I talk a bit about my typical process for judging Junior Showmanship?
Shawne Imler: I am very new at judging. This was my second assignment judging Juniors, but it was definitely important to know breed-specific handling and presentation.
Was there a heightened energy in my ring? Did I feel any energy from ringside?
Shawne Imler: The energy was fantastic. These young people work very hard, not only to present their dogs but also behind the scenes. I was very impressed with the presentation, down to the clothes they were wearing.
Did the Juniors in my ring seem especially focused? Any nerves on display?
Shawne Imler: This is a special win for these young people. There were definitely some nerves on display, but they kept it together and kept focus.
How evident was breed-specific presentation among the finalists?
Shawne Imler: Breed-specific presentation was on-point. And for me, it was one of the deciding factors in my finalist; down to showing the bite correctly.
With so much talent in my ring, how challenging was this assignment?
Shawne Imler: It was a very hard assignment. Looking for small details to discern the final winner is almost impossible. These kids are talented and more intense than some professionals.
Is there anything I’d like to say to this year’s Junior Handlers?
Shawne Imler: I was so honored to judge these young people. It was a very emotional assignment for me. I was so impressed with all of you!
Do I have any advice that I’d like to offer to my winning Junior?
Shawne Imler: There are two things I want to say to these young professionals. Remember the Number 1 Rule: It’s about the dogs. I should see your dog, not you. Next, if you know the proper breed presentation, do it; do not wait for the judge to tell you.
Based on this assignment, would I say that the future of the Terrier breeds is in capable hands?
Shawne Imler: I would say the future is super-bright with these young professionals. I’m looking forward to seeing them out-shining their mentors one day.