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Sunday, September 29, 2013 was a perfect day for the outdoor dog show put on by the Old Dominion Kennel Club. It was sunny and warm but not hot and there had been no rain so the grounds were dry. Dogs and exhibitors were comfortable preparing, waiting and showing and spectators and judges could see every dog to best advantage.

In Standard Schnauzers (my primary breed), there was a *”Specialty” show and **”Sweepstakes” hosted by our local Potomac Valley Standard Schnauzer Club, so there were many schnauzers present and many prizes offered, making the event fun and exciting for the largest number of exhibiting teams.

My long-time friend and mentor in Standard Schnauzers, Patricia White, and I were preparing and/or showing five dogs, so we were grateful for the help of friends, Cindy Millard, Destiney Houck, Joel Labuda, Pam Minnich, and Michelle Bell.

First thing in the morning, even before the Standard Schnauzers, I had a young borzoi to show — it was his first show weekend and he did a good job of getting oriented to what was expected of him, though he didn’t win.

Frodo Wins Best Senior Puppy and Best in Sweepstakes

Standard Schnauzer Gaiting

Frodo Wins Best in Sweepstakes, Winners Dog and Best of Winners

Next began the several hours of grooming, ring preparation and showing that took us from 9:30 to past noon. Frodo, my young male, and his sister, Carly, had turned one year old the week before the show so they competed in the Sweepstakes. Frodo won Best Senior Puppy and then Best in Sweepstakes — an auspicious start! Then more grooming and preparing, getting the adult dogs ready to go in the ring. All weekend we had been seeing very nice dogs compete and we knew we had our work cut out for us. Pat breeds wonderful dogs that are beautiful and have a great temperament as well, but she’s not the only one.

The “classes” are the place where dogs that are not yet Champions compete to win points toward their championships. We had Frodo, his sister Carly, and our friend Cindy’s girl, Bebe entered in the classes; they all did really well! Each of the three won their classes and got to compete for the ‘Winners” ribbons and championship points. In the end, the two girls didn’t win but Frodo did! He gained a four-point Major win towards his championship at his first AKC show weekend.

Best of Breed Competition

The grooming never stops at a Specialty where so many dogs are being shown, so no sitting on laurels. It was back to work getting ready for the Best of Breed (BOB) Competition. This competition is for dogs and bitches who are already champions. As well as the prestige of beating so many other competitive dogs, the BOB winner gets to compete later in the Working Group and that winner goes on to Best in Show.

Pat and I had Frodo and Carly’s parents, Julie and Sam, to prepare now, and Frodo had to be kept nice as he’d earned another trip in the ring from his Winners performance. In the end, neither Julie nor Sam won but they did “make the cut” when the judge winnowed down the field to a more manageable number. Frodo, however, won Best of Winners, meaning he was judged to be better than the female who had also earned points toward her championship that day, another feather in his cap!

A Magical Day

Dominion Kennel Club Awards

Frodo Surveys his Awards

There are certain “magical” show days and wins which come to us sooner or later as we show dogs. Taking a young dog out to his first show weekend, a Specialty, winning the Sweepstakes, and then winning Major points toward his championship over twenty other competitors while so many of your friends and supporters are watching and cheering is certainly one of those “magical” days!

Special Thank You’s

I want to thank everyone who helped out at our setup, of course, but I also want to give special thanks to the volunteers who make dogs shows and Specialties possible. Dog clubs like the Warrenton and Old Dominion Kennel Clubs and the Potomac Valley Standard Schnauzer Club are organized and run by volunteer effort. The day never would have been possible without the help of these dedicated volunteers; they must never be forgotten — thank you!

One special thank you: the PVSSC gives a special trophy to the Best of Winners in memory to one of us who died a number of years ago in a car crash leaving our specialty. Every year, the Rosemary Rodgers memorial trophy is cared for and replicas made for the winner until the original is retired. Its continuance requires a lot of work and dedication from the club member responsible for it (most recently Gail Pfeiffer). It is a beautiful trophy that I will honor and display proudly, thank you!

* Specialty: A showcase of a specific breed hosted by by a breed club, including puppies and adults, Champions and non-Champions. They are often held in conjunction with all-breed shows and are judged only by AKC licensed judges. There are regional Specialties and National Specialties.

**Sweepstakes: An honorary showcase of young dogs (under 18 months) and veteran dogs (aged 7 years and over). Often judged by a breed specialist, enthusiast, or breeder, placing well in the “Sweeps” can be a real feather in the cap of the dogs who win. Sweeps winners might be real up-and-comers or older dogs who have retained their merit as they age.