The 2010 Southland Seiger UCI shows and our adventures there.
blowing coat everywhere...literally coming out in chunks...oh boy...and off we
go to four UCI shows!
They were held at in Chino, CA. It's lovely, with its own private lake, surrounded by hills, etc., and in many ways ideal, but the $10.00 parking fee was more than a bit steep, and not just in my opinion. Additionally the parking itself was a bit dicey; evidently the show-giving club hadn't communicated clearly enough with the park itself that MUCH more than a few token parking spaces would be needed, and the park staff had also rented out an adjacent area to a large private family reunion.
About an hour into the show, a truck with two rangers shows up and announces that all the exhibitors in half of the parking lot had to move to a dirt area across the park or be towed, that the family reunion would be getting that entire paved lot.
All hell broke loose.
I felt badly for the rangers, who were just trying to do their job, but the whole thing was tremendously unfair to the exhibitors who had paid that rather steep fee, and who came in good faith expecting parking. It was interesting to watch the interplay between the concerned parties, and it was finally resolved to everyone's satisfaction, with the park allowing the family reunion to park its cars adjacent to its actual area, and the show exhibitors allowed to stay in that part of the lot. I wasn't affected at all, as I had parked on the other end of the lot, but I was glad it resolved.
Unfortunately, the following day saw the same adjacent area rented out to yet
another private function. This time the park staff were way ahead of the game,
ensuring that the entire section of parking was roped off in advance for the
other function, Keeping the show exhibitors out and leaving us with a
small area and of course, the dirt lot across the way, back near the
perimeter fencing and riding trails. Again, I was lucky to get a spot in the
actual paved lot so I didn't have to hike in triple digit heat with my white
dog, through dirt, hauling all our stuff. Hopefully by next year the club
will have ironed out these details, moved the show to a cooler time of year, or
better yet, found a site where people aren't charged a parking fee on top of
what is already a pretty steep entry fee.
The heat down there was absolutely crippling and well into the triple-digit range. As the mercury climbed swiftly and sharply, I was VERY grateful for the literal gallons of water, ice, etc that we had on hand. It was also humid, probably as a result of the lake being right there. It is a very pretty show-site, much nicer than the usual utilitarian, dusty Fairgrounds one finds dog shows being held at, but the time of year needs to be Fall or Spring, to avoid that crushing, dangerous heat. A number of exhibitors with Giant and pug-nosed breeds were forced to leave due to the heat, and I left right after the 4th show's Sam judging, not staying for the Bred-By Working Group, because of the weather. I was told by one of the folks working the club's table that these shows MAY be held in the Fall next time, which would greatly add to the experience in a positive way.
UCI shows are interesting, very different from what we are used to in AKC, with the politics and big bucks influences being nonexistent. Dogs are judged against the standard for their breed, not each other or against who has the biggest hired gun on the north end of the lead with the biggest ad budget and campaign budget.
Some VERY nice Sammies showed up, and it was nice to know that every one of those dogs, all of whom were good representatives of our breed, had an equal shot at being rewarded for their accurate representation of our breed's standard. The environment was a LOT more fun and relaxed than at AKC shows, and everyone setting up close to each other, hanging out, eating lunch together, sharing equipment and good fellowship, unencumbered by any politics.
I was the only owner-handler, but the owners of the other dogs were all present, and we all had fun together, including their handlers, enjoying our dogs and one another's company. The vibe was unlike anything I have ever experienced, with the sportsmanship and support being exemplary and genuine. It was a wonderful cross-section of fine Sammies, and I was like a kid in a candy store:-)
Each dog gets a written point-by-point critique against the standard, and an assigned rating. UCI is a German dog club that has shows throughout Europe, as well as licensed shows in parts of Asia, and South America. IABCA is the representative of UCI here in the US.
Puppies do not compete with adults at any level; they only compete with other puppies at, say, the Best Puppy in Breed, Group, and Show levels. The requirements for puppy/youth Titles are different than that of the adult dog titles. Once the puppy is an adult, s/he can come back and compete for the adult title.
I think this is a very good system. In my opinion, puppies and adults are apples and oranges and shouldn't be compared to one another. Puppies shouldn't look or act like miniature adults; they should look and act like the babies they are, and be judged on their merits on the day as puppies. Then if they hold together as adults, they come back and compete as adults.
While there is a lot that AKC could learn from this system, the organization can take a page on organization from AKC. Because each dog receives a written critique from the judge, the judging takes much longer than it does in AKC. Also, each exhibitor checks in not at ringside, but at a table at the entry to the show grounds, and picks up a folder with several certificates inside, each bearing their dog's information. These certificates will eventually be used to affix placement stickers (BOB, Groups, etc) and be signed by the judge attesting to the fact that the dog was shown on that day, examined and found worthy by that judge. There is also an armband inside, which is used for all the shows that weekend. At the end of your dog's judging, the judge adds his/her written critique to the folder, along with the orange card showing the rating. The V-1 Excellent rating is necessary for the championship points.
These folders are then taken to the appropriate ring, and handed to the steward, who then arranges for and adds all the critique forms and "orange cards" which will contain the judge's signature and the dog's overall rating for that show. The stewards are kept VERY busy with all this paperwork, and do an incredible job of keeping it all straight. I never saw a single mistake or hitch in the process of keeping paperwork in order and hats-off to the hardworking stewards for their efforts!
The only fly in the ointment were the two women who were stewarding at two of the rings who were shouting and screaming so loudly for the various breeds to assemble on deck at ringside that it scared several dogs, some quite badly. In addition, there was skeet and target shooting going on elsewhere in the park and the relentless staccato "pop-pop-pop-pop" of gunshot had a number of our dogs upset.
This organization needs to take a page from the AKC book and keep to a more standardized, predictable judging schedule, and require that exhibitors be ready for judging, as opposed to having stewards shouting and bellowing all day long at the top of their lungs in order to get people to the appropriate ring. It's not fair to judges, exhibitors, dogs or stewards. It can't be good for their voices, and it also detracts from what is otherwise a very pleasurable show experience. One young man, the son of one of the stewards, thought the terrified dogs and upset owners was pretty amusing and was snickering as one dog was spinning around on her lead in a panic, terrified by the ring steward who had just screamed for an entry to assemble on deck, just mere feet from the poor animal's ears. After telling said exhibitors that they "better watch who you talk about" because one of these stewards was his mother, turned to a friend of his, smiled, then bellowed as loudly as he could for the guy to pick up his folder. This is a definite detraction from the otherwise excellent experience, and one that this organization should work on.
Poppy did well, following in her father's pawprints and earning her UCI International Championship with V-1 ratings and good, in-depth critiques each day. Some comments included "proper size", "good standoff, harsh coat", "Head wedge-shaped and good proportions, with correct almond, dark eyes", "well angulated shoulders and well-bent stifles, nicely balanced", "moves and stands with nice level topline", "excellent presentation", "clean coming/going and excellent sidegait", etc. There were a few things we needed to work on, and it was great to actually see that in writing, as opposed to being forced to guess at 'what is this judge looking for, besides handlers and big-bucks and their friends?" These judges put it all in writing, and you KNOW what they are thinking, and why, and where you can improve.
Poppy was shown by me as a bred-by exhibitor, complete with me huffing and puffing along after her, and even my struggles to run didn't seem to hold her back too badly. I took a LOT of Motrin over the weekend, and that helped quite a bit! My Chiropractor mentioned that it is going to take several sessions to fix what I did to myself, but it was SO much fun that it was totally worth every step!
Poppy also took two Bred by Group 2's and a Bred By Group 1, which was a real thrill; it was so much fun to get out there and do that well, in such an incredible field of beautiful BBE Adults, some of whom were AKC Champions and Specials in their respective breeds; I was very proud of Poppy!
I left right after our competition was over on the 4th day as I had to get home; the heat was just crushing and the AC in my car had picked then to die, with no fix until today, Monday, so we had no AC. I bought three bags of ice and opened two and spread them in Poppy's crate and dumped two handfuls in her water bucket. She laid right down on her bed of ice and snoozed all the way home, and I stuck the third bag behind my back, rolled down the windows, and our AC was the old "4/65"....4 windows down, 65 mph...lol.
Upon getting home, I got a call from a VERY thrilled Linda Chellel, informing that her beautiful 15 month old New Zealand Import, Narnia, (AKA Silvertips B Witch B Wicked) went BEST PUPPY IN SHOW! Congrats to Narnia, Linda, and Jude McCormick, her breeder in NZ :-)
All in all, a fun, if hot and occasionally bumpy weekend. New UCI Int.Ch. Alta's Moonlight Becomes You, (Poppy) is currently sprawled out on top of her favorite AC vent, and who can blame her?