The organising committee under President Ante Lucin had a tough call to make …do we run the show or do we cancel? In the end, they elected to run the show and attracted about 1000 entries each day at their excellent venue close to the city centre of Split…itself a place worth visiting in its own right. Our feature here shows how the event fared being run and organised in such unusual circumstances. Ante Lucin writes: We knew when we made the announcement not to cancel the Split 2020 shows that the decision would be controversial.
And we knew it would have been just the same if we cancelled it! Many things changed from the moment we decided to go on till the show started. Certainly the biggest change was the number of new Covid cases in Croatia. When we decided to have the shows we almost didn’t have any, but closer to the shows the numbers started to go up which obviously made our work much more difficult and stressful.
And now, when all is finished, and we are now eight days with no registered cases among the judges, exhibitors and us organizers, we can be really happy about it all. I can certainly say it was the most stressful preparation time ever. Exhibitors were (understandably) trying to get the answers to the things that were uncertain for us too, and right up until the last moment if I can add. The show that is being normally organized and carefully planned for many months in advance this year was completely prepared in 20 days.
I must say, not many (including myself) believed this could finish well. But it did. It was a great show in every respect. We took care of all the safety measures and exhibitors were nicer and more supportive than ever … grateful that someone put on a show and so thankful to the judges and us organizers. From the original list of judges eleven unfortunately had to cancel.
So we found six new judges planning on a maximum entry of 800 dogs per day, but at the end we got almost a 1,000 and needed two extra judges. It was certainly a different Split, but still it was Split.
We were lucky that Croatia as a country lives mostly from the tourism and it left the borders open for all the EU citizens with the reservation of accommodation.
Exhibitors from some countries couldn’t come as their countries would not let them go back home without 14 days of the quarantine, but still we had dogs from 33 different countries.
Even if face masks are not obligatory in Croatia for the outdoor events, they were obligatory for the judges, ring stewards and exhibitors during the judging of the breed and in the main ring. We measured the temperature of every person entering the showground and they all had to sign a paper with their contact details. It was no surprise that the epidemiologist that came for an inspection on the first day had only compliments for our organization.
The finals were going on faster than usual so we ended every evening before 2 a.m., and traditionally on one of the days (Friday this year) we had heavy rain for an hour. But nothing could dampen our spirits and during the dancing on each of the nights in the main ring, even if everyone was wearing the face mask, you could feel the positive energy and the happiness that the shows were actually been held.
Unfortunately no one from the Our Dogs team could join us this year, Andrew Brace and Panda were unable to come, also our second photographer Boris Glukharev, but I am sure they will all join us again next year. This year is already very special and I hope soon all this will be over and we will go back to our normal lives, even if they say we will have to get used to the new normal.
For the first time in 40 years I had to take calming pills before the shows started as I could not deal with all the stress and uncertainty, but I should have known from the start that if anyone can do it - my team can do it. People I work with are heroes.
They are the best. And I am so proud of them. Split shows once again were a great success and they were one of the biggest and the most international shows organized after the start of the pandemic. We hope that our example will give hope to everyone who loves our sport and misses the shows because we managed to prove that hard work and great organization can lead to a successful and, most importantly, a safe show for everyone.
Thank you everyone for your support and I hope these specially made face masks with Split summer show’s logo will next year be just a nice memory for everyone.
LISBETH MACH, SWITZERLAND: SUPREME BIS JUDGE
Until its opening ceremony, nobody was entirely sure if one of the most popular dog shows in Europe could take place this year because Covid-19 had stopped dog shows in March and nobody knew if any shows could go ahead as planned until the end of the year.
Thanks to the tremendous efforts and the well-planned organization of Ante Lučin and his team, who elaborated a differentiated protection concept for the show, almost 1,000 exhibitors and their dogs could meet again for the first time after a long involuntary break.
All participants were highly motivated and thankful to have the opportunity to experience the show atmosphere again. I would like to express my gratitude to Ante Lučin and to all members of the organizing committee.
I should have given the SUPREME BIS to Ante for his incredible work. But the Superme BIS was in fact given to an excellent Petit Basset Vendéen, that found the way directly to my heart.
Even on the fourth day of the show, this top dog presented himself in excellent condition and I was fascinated by his delightful character and his charming behavior.
Also the other finalists for SUPREME BIS were top-class representatives of their breeds, but maybe not as energetic as the excellent Petit Basset Vendéen after a long show weekend.
The whole show was professionally organized and it was a pleasure for me to participate. I had the opportunity to judge beautiful dogs from all over Europe and the line-up in the ring of honour was a feast for the eyes.
The 2020 Split Summer Show will be unforgettable for all participants. I would like to say thank you to all those who have worked in the past weeks for their hard efforts and support in making this happen. They made the impossible possible.
Best in Show Winners
PETER FRIEDRICH BERCHTOLD, AUSTRIA: Judging dogs internationally for about 25 years, I was more than happy to be invited to Split Shows 2020. From the first Hello to Goodbye I could thoroughly enjoy the unique atmosphere of the 4 Night Shows as our host Ante Lucin and his team treated us like kings and queens. Everybody was aware of the given COVID-19 situation. The measurements to be taken were emphasised clearly beforehand and taken seriously by everybody to avoid any risk.
During the show I had some excellent specimens of their breeds in my rings especially in Gundogs as Group winners (Dachshund and German Shorthaired Pointer) as well as in Sighthounds with a stylish Saluki bitch going all the way to Junior Best and even Best in Show in the finals. Organization and sportsmanship were amazing, it was a real joy to be on the panel! To put it in a nutshell I guess that everybody is already very much looking forward to the Split Shows 2021!
DAVOR JAVOR, CROATIA The Split Summer Nights Shows were a success, no doubt about that; extremely challenging to organize from all aspects but the enthusiastic team succeeded and showed to the dog world that it was possible to organize dog shows in these tough times.
Special effort was put in not just from the organization but also from the exhibitors and judges.
At the end all together we made it!!! It was not easy to judge four nights with a mask on but safety is not negotiable, it is a must and we were all aware of it. I was really surprised with an entry of almost 1,000 dogs from 33 countries per night. That is a huge number in this situation.
There were many really nice dogs even if I think that the overall quality was a little bit lower than usual which was expected.
Anyway we have seen outstanding winners and spectacular finals. My deep respect and congratulations go to the organizers, exhibitors, journalists, judges and everybody involved.
I’m hoping and praying that nobody becomes affected with this terrible virus. We all love dogs and dog shows and it was so obvious how much we missed them. I hope that a vaccine will become available soon and that we will be back to normal, to good old normal!
And my final thought, Split shows showed us the direction how we have to work together for our sport and for purebred dogs. We are under attack from many sides but we are not aware of our strengths, we still don’t know how far we can go together, we must believe in success, stay united and we will win. Stay safe and see you somewhere!
OLIVER SIMON, CROATIA: I come back to Split Summer Shows every year and it’s something special to me. Good quality of dogs and excellent judges panel made me happy once more to be part of it. As always I expect only the best from Split Summer Shows and when I was thinking it couldn’t be better you find a way to make it even better than last years. In these pandemic times to find strength and wisdom must be very hard but you and your team manage it - so for that big congratulations. Hope that I come back next year!!!
STEFAN SINKO, SLOVENIA: When I received the invitation to join your project of the Thirteenth Edition of the Split 4 SUMMERNIGHT DOG SHOW 2020 I accepted it without hesitation despite the fact that we are still in the clinch of the Covid-19 Pandemic, which causes us many questions when it comes to organising any mass activity event in the open air anywhere in the world right now. It was a brave decision from the Committee to take on this huge responsibility.
Now after the event all I can say is you made the right decision, and with your enormous commitment proved that dog shows of this large scale are possible even in these conditions with precautionary measures.
To me it was a very nice surprise when I observed organisers, judges and exhibitors all respecting and fulfilling the safety measures,which ensured that the event was, as usual, a great success for all involved, resulting in many positive comments on the spot and after the event. Split has a special spot in my heart for many reasons, and as usual it was my obligation to help and assist as a judge even in these difficult times.
Personally I think that solidarity among dog lovers is an important part of our daily life with dogs and we should maintain this virtue! During 4 Split Summer Nights, we saw many wonderful dogs, excellent winners of top quality and I am sure we will meet some of them in the future at other important events in Europe.
A beautiful showground, excellent and efficient organisers, led by the one and only Ante Lucin and his team,with great sponsors, an excellent team of Judges all contributed to the success of this fabulous event which is exceptional and unique in the world of showing dogs. Please except my gratitude for the possibility of being part of it this year and my huge congratulations for the great success of it!
Scene at Spilt!