Conversation with Vicki Seiler-Cushman – 2023 WKC Dog Show Junior Showmanship Judge

Vicki Seiler-Cushman - 2023 WKC Dog Show Junior Showmanship Judge


Interview with Vicki Seiler-Cushman – 2023 WKC Dog Show Junior Showmanship Judge

Can you describe your reaction to receiving an invitation to judge the Junior Showmanship Finals at Westminster?

Vicki Seiler-Cushman: When I received the letter, I was just elated. It is such an important assignment that means so much to me and the young, talented girls and boys in our sport. Bravo to the Westminster Kennel Club for holding this very prestigious competition for our Juniors.


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

Vicki Seiler-Cushman: I went to the production meeting where I learned that my timing needed to be “on point.” I stood in the center of the ring during the meeting and imagined the children coming in and the strategy of judging them.


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

Vicki Seiler-Cushman: I like to see the connection between the dog and the Junior; if they have a natural hand with their stacking/handling and if the breed-specific procedure is followed.


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

Vicki Seiler-Cushman: Everyone loves the Juniors and how important they are to our sport. They had lots of cheering and support.


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

Vicki Seiler-Cushman: Some were very focused, and others, I believe, might have been nervous.


How evident was breed-specific presentation among the finalists?

Vicki Seiler-Cushman: Excellent! I believe that it is very important to show your dog and not try to be generic; stick to the breed presentation.


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

Vicki Seiler-Cushman: All of the children were excellent. They could not get to this level without being at the top of their game, and they did not disappoint. All are very talented.


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

Vicki Seiler-Cushman: They were all superior in my eyes. I would encourage them to continue to learn, love what you do, spread knowledge with other Juniors on your breed, and continue to educate yourself on breeding dogs; and go to college.


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

Vicki Seiler-Cushman: He is a kind, talented young man. I think he is doing very well. Keep up your good soul.


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

Vicki Seiler-Cushman: Yes, I am so incredibly proud of these children.

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