The Horde and I returned home from the 2010 CWCCA National Specialty yesterday afternoon. The national is something of a double-edged sword. You plan and prepare for it for months, you leave for it with you and your dogs looking really good, but when you get home you are all trashed out. That's why you start planning for the next one almost as soon as you are home - you need that much time to recover :)
Monday and Tuesday were agility. The weather was less than spectacular on Monday - rain, wind and chilly temps. Of course, most Cardigans like that kind of weather - even if their owners don't. Neither Moira or Conner's runs were successful that day but we had fun and it gave us all a chance to sort of settle into a routine and get to know the show site. Tuesday the weather improved. The storms of the previous day blew through and we were graced with sunshine and slightly warmer temps. The wind remained though. Both dogs had very nice runs - again without Q'ing - but I was really pleased with the improvement I saw; especially in Moira's runs. As I predicted, she's much happier running in outdoor venues. We also got to spend time with Becky Dean and Moira's half-sister, Drew. That will be another post though let's just say that Pu Head has company in the "Strange Dog" department :)
Wednesday morning we were all up early so Sam could get ready to go into the conformation ring as an 11-year-old plus veteran in sweepstakes. Handled by our good friend Mandy Bossi, Sam snagged the 3rd place ribbon in that class from breeder judge Doris Slaboda. The two dogs ahead of him are heavy hitters in the breed - having been specialed in their day and even garnering group placements - so I was really pleased and surprised by Sam being in the ribbons. I took Sam back to the photographer for his win picture - something I don't typically do because I am AWFUL at hand-stacking him. Fortunately, the judge and some other exhibitors helped me get him stacked. When it comes in, if neither of us looks too awful, I'll post it. I will say that Sam was his usual self in that he tried to destroy the greenery set up around the photo station with his wagging tail. We're lucky there were any flowers left on the lily plant that was closest to his tail.
Wednesday night Understanding House Mate and I had dinner in Gettysburg at a wonderful restaurant called Dobbin House Tavern. If you ever find yourself in Gettysburg, I highly recommend it. I know it was good because at that point I was so tired it's a miracle I even remember eating.
Thursday was another early morning and, thankfully, our last in Gettysburg. Sam was again entered in the 11-year-old plus veteran dogs regular class. By this time we were all looking a little rough around the edges but Sam showed well (handled this time by Karen Lyons) and pulled off another 3rd place finish - behind the same two dogs from sweeps. The judge this morning was Marieann Gladstone - another breeder judge and the chair of the Judges' Education committee. Judges' Education is the group that is responsible for producing materials to help licensed judges and prospective judges learn about our breed. They also mentor prospective judges ringside at shows. A National Specialty draws a lot of prospective judges because they have to attend a specialty within a set period of time prior to applying for a license to judge the breed.
You might have noticed that I indicated the two judges who gave Sam placements are breeder judges. For those not familiar with the dog show world, getting placements under breeder judges is highly desirable because they are expected to be experts on the standard for the breed since it is their breed of choice. You also might have wondered about Sam being entered in what sounds like the same class twice. Wednesday was sweepstakes. In dog shows, you have can have "sweeps" and regular classes. Sweeps are only held at supported or specialty shows. They are typically judged by a breeder judge but, the judge does not have to be licensed and winning sweeps doesn't earn the dog any points toward a breed championship. Regular classes either earn points toward a breed championship or, get you a ticket into the best of breed class. One of these days I'll try to write a coherent post on how all that works. It can get a little convoluted.
So today we are all home and still on vacation. There's a Dawg Yacht to unload, laundry to be done, blogs to be remodeled and launched (more later), an agility trial tomorrow to prepare for and I might even find some time to nap in the sun today. It's good to be home.
11 hours ago