From the February 2019 Issue of ShowSight – Click to subscribe.
Brussels Griffon fanciers from all over the world travel to Louisville, Kentucky, in March to take part, in some way, in the National Specialty. Exhibitors come to exhibit, judges and owners come to learn, and fanciers come to admire the best of the best Brussels Griffons. There is something for everyone, not the least of which is the camaraderie that exists when we see our friends and colleagues that, in many cases, we only see once a year. The hospitality suite is usually teeming with Griff lovers reconnecting and enjoying the company of others who share the love of the Brussels Griffon.
The many activities planned for the specialty are literally crammed into four days, Monday, March 11, through Thursday, March 14, at the Crowne Plaza Hotel. The unsung heroes of this specialty are the small handful of members who arrive on Sunday to begin setting up the various venues. They set up the ring, arrange grooming areas, prepare hospitality, and arrange the meeting rooms that will be used for various functions throughout the week.
Monday features include the ABGA Board meeting and an Obedience/Rally “C” match overseen by the ABGA Performance Chair, Lew Olson. It is a great opportunity for the participating dogs to loosen up after travel and get used to the surroundings. Ms. Olson will give an informal presentation regarding Performance Events, training, etc. ringside. The hospitality suite, dubbed “Yappy Hour” opens at 5pm, so owners can also loosen up after their travels.
In the evening the ABGA Board convenes for their annual meeting, presided over by ABGA President Raul Peralta, of North Carolina. It is a mini-version of the General Meeting to be held on Thursday. Reports from various committees, new ideas, projects and directives are discussed. All members are welcome to observe, but few do so. They are just arriving, walking dogs, checking in and then head for Yappy hour to find old friends.
Tuesday and Wednesday are jam-packed with Obedience, Rally and seminars, including Judges Education with hands on. Those interested in attending Judges Ed, should email Lorene Vickers-Smith (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Anne Catterson (email@example.com). Associate (non-voting) members who desire to upgrade their membership, and those wanting to join ABGA and have voting privileges also attend this seminar, as it is a requirement for regular members. These individuals do not attend the hands-on portion, which is for judges only.
The highly-anticipated seminar, Form and Function: How to Assess Movement and Structure in Brussels Griffons, sponsored by the Health, Research and Breeder’s Education Committee, which is headed by Meg Prior, will be held at 4pm on Tuesday, in a yet-to-be-determined meeting room at the Crowne Plaza. Mr. James Moses is the presenter. Mr. Moses is a talented “dog man,” handler, breeder and judge. He will be using a Power Point presentation created by Dr. Carmen Battaglia, to discuss structure as it relates to proper gait and movement faults. Everyone is welcome but it is necessary to sign up at www.abga.club. The fee for non-members is $10.
Wednesday is the big day. The room will be festive, made colorful by the wares of some of our vendors, including the impressive artwork of Dayne Thomas and Dorothy Edge, both long-time ABGA members. All of the regular conformation classes of the National Specialty, as well as Owner-Handled, Jr. Showmanship, Stud Dog and Brood Bitch will be judged by ABGA member Darryl Vice. It all starts at 8am with Sweepstakes, to be judged by ABGA member Carole Ross. Some lucky raffle ticket buyer will win box seats with the perfect view of the rings, and even better, right next to the snacks! Donna Johnston, Show Chair, and Greg Smith, Show Secretary, are the driving forces that keep this event running smoothly, aided by the expertise of Henry Odum, ABGA Board of Governors. Box lunches are available for pre-order, so as not to miss any of the judging.
While it would seem that the whole week has been laid out herein, the big mysteries remain! What will the weather be? In the past it has run the gamut from blizzard, or torrential rains with flooding to beautiful, sunny 70 degrees, no coats required. And the most exciting mysteries—who will win? There are four major wins available for class animals, as reserve to the major gets a three pt. major. And what about Best of Breed? Will it be one of the big winners of ’18, or an exciting newcomer? Come to Louisville and find out!