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Thursday, 27 October 2011

Montgomery

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“Wait ‘til you get there…the Hatboro grounds are a sea of mud!” “They’re trying to move Devon to another site…last weekend everyone had to be towed out of the place...


Best in Show was Grand Champion Efbe's Goodspice Easy Money, owned by Margery Good, France Bergeron and Sandra Middlebrooks. This is the third time Margery has handled a Sealyham to BIS at Montgomery. Also pictured are the BIS judge from Australia Keith Lovell, Breed judge Geoff Corish (UK), ex President of the show, Walter Goodman - to whom the show was dedicated and a representative of Montgomery making the presentations. 

Wait ‘til you get there…the Hatboro grounds are a sea of mud!” “They’re trying to move Devon to another site…last weekend everyone had to be towed out of the place.” “They’ve rearranged all of the rings…it’s going to be awful!”  Dire predictions, not one of which came true on one of the most perfect dog show weekends I can remember.
 
 

Most of you know that, each year in early October, terrier enthusiasts (and dog folk in general) flock to Pennsylvania for the four day Montgomery extravaganza. What we refer to as “Montgomery weekend” (please, people, stop calling it “Monty”) is actually four champ shows in four days, with the famous all-terrier show taking place on the Sunday. My travelling companion Geoff Corish flew in to Boston on Monday, and recovered from his jet lag as I made arrangements to turn my classes over to my graduate assistant for a few days. We got on the road on Wednesday, making the five hour trip to New Jersey where we were staying for the two Hatboro shows.

We approached the grounds early on Thursday morning with more than a little apprehension, given the dire news we had heard about damage to the show grounds from several events that had taken place there during the preceding weeks. Far from being the disaster people had anticipated, the show had been reconfigured by show Chair Bob Black at the last minute. He cleverly moved the entire operation to the other side of the grounds, resulting in what most people felt was a more relaxed and workable layout than the one we were so accustomed to.

Best in Show on this first of four terrier-intensive days was the Irish Terrier Ch Kell’s Touch of Fleet Street, owned by British fancier Tony Barker who was at ringside to cheer his dog on. The dog was handled by R. C. Carusi and co-owned by Shari Carusi, both of whom have gone BIS at Montgomery, R.C. with an Irish and Shari with an Airedale. Terrier Group 2 also had British connections, with the red ribbon going to the Kerry G Ch Perrisblu Kennislain’s  Chelsey, owned by the Yingling family and Welshman Phil Davies, and handled to top honors in the UK last year by Geoff Corish. She is now in the very talented hands of Bill McFadden who handled the immortal Am & UK CH Torum’s Scarf Michael (aka “Mick”) to his many US wins, including two Bests at Montgomery, one from the classes before he was made up here.

We first saw Bill on Thursday and asked how Mick was doing and were reassured that, at the good age of 15, he was still going strong at Bill’s kennel in California. Sadly, Mick passed away only days later. He was an amazing dog, and I’m proud to say that I was involved in his career in one way or another from the time he was a youngster. I will never forget the experience of sharing his BIS win at Crufts with Geoff, Michael, Ron and Carol, and Carol and I often reminisce about our experience in NY when he won The Garden. I can’t imagine that we will see ever his equal.

Third place went to the top-winning Smooth Fox Terrier G Ch Slyfox Sneaks A Peek, cleverly named, I assume, for his black and white “split face” which is so popular with Smooth fanciers here. Fourth spot in this very strong group went to the Australian Terrier GCH. Abq San Isidro Christhill.  I’ve shivered in the cold at Hatboro, and been drenched with rain, but the only weather-related risk this year was a sunburn, as it was sunny and in the 80’s for both days.

The Irish and the Kerry traded places on the following day, with Chelsey in the top spot and the Irish in second. A new player stood in third this day, the Skye Ch Cragsmoor Buddy Goodman, owned by Carolyn Koch and Victor Malzoni, who also owns dogs in the UK Buddy is handled by Larry Cornelius, who went BIS at Crufts with the Tibetan Terrier Fabulous Willy. Fourth place went to the Sealyham G Ch Efbe’s Goodspice Easy Money, owned by handler Margery Good and Sandra Middlebrook. Margery  will be familiar to British fanciers as she also went Best In Show at Crufts with her Sealy “Charmin.” Charmin went BIS at Montgomery in 2008. Top spot on this day went to the winner of the Gundog/Sporting Group, the black American cocker Ch Casablanca’s Thrilling Seduction who, as of early Fall, was the top dog all-breeds in the US.

After two days at Hatboro, dedicated dog people make the long trek to the Devon show on Saturday. Many exhibitors and spectators choose this day to go sightseeing or shopping, so entries are often a bit lighter. The famous Amish country is just a short drive away, and many foreign visitors opt to take in the sights of this lost-in-time culture, with its horses and buggies, picturesque farms and lack of mod cons such as telephones and electricity. I wonder if people would support tourism in the area if they knew that it houses one of the largest concentrations of puppy farms in the U.S. Drive along the scenic byways with your windows rolled down and you can hear the muffled voices of hundreds of dogs coming from the large barns that are located well back from the road.

My old friend and Briard fancier Mike Greenberg has taken over the reins of Devon, and the show was much improved. As with Hatboro, the grounds had major drainage problems and Mike received a call on the preceding Monday telling him that the site was unusable. He made the long drive from his home in South Carolina to Pennsylvania, and reconfigured the entire show by the time the tent company arrived to set up. To those of us “old-timers” who have been showing at Devon for decades, the layout had a familiar look, as the show was arranged as it had been for many years, before motorhomes took precedence over grooming tents and rings. Most folks agreed that it was a success, and hopefully Mike will plan a similar arrangement next year. I continue to complain about the fact that Devon is the only show of the weekend without any accommodation for overseas visitors. What’s the big deal about a couple of coffee urns and a box of muffins? Both Hatboro and Montgomery offer hospitality throughout the day, and Devon is conspicuous by its absence.

Visitors from the British Isles seemed less numerous than in previous years, and I hesitate to list those I saw in case I offend by forgetting someone. I do, however, have to mention someone with whom I spent a good deal of time during the weekend, the very charming and funny Glen Tinsley, breeder of the wonderful Dandie Dinmont  Lemon Drizzle who went BIS at National Terrier with Geoff Corish handling. She was travelling with famous Canadian Dandie lady Mike McBeth, who was equally great company during the four days. Mike was scheduled to judge the terrier group on the Saturday, but was also pressed into service to do the Working dogs, subbing for fellow Canadian Jim Reynolds who had a family emergency.  Much to Geoff’s delight, Mike also gave the top spot in the terrier group to the Kerry, with second to the Wire Fox Terrier G Ch Steele Your Heart, who is sired by the legendary Ch Galsul Excellence, BIS at Montgomery in 1986 handled by transplanted Welshman Peter Green. Third went to the Skye, with fourth to the Irish. Although terriers tend to dominate the Best In Show lineups during Montgomery weekend, this year the top spot at Devon went to the Whippet Ch Starline’s Chanel, who is in the top ten all-breeds here.

Geoff and I have been travelling to Montgomery together for nearly 20 years, and he has judged at Hatboro on a number of occasions, but this was his first Montgomery assignment, so we arrived bright and early, even though Sealyhams were to start later in the morning. I think we’ve all gotten accustomed to the “new” site (new since 2005) and the weather was again warm and sunny. Some folks were grumbling that it was a bit too warm, but dog people have to have something to winge about! There were two innovations this year. The first was the very popular red tote bag sporting the Montgomery County Kennel Club logo.

Sealy breeder Patsy Wood and Norwich fancier Missy Wood were in charge of catalogs and totes, and both sold out early. Catalogs are priced at $20, and more than a few people were seen buying  ten of them to take home to friends. More controversial was the club’s decision to sell ringside chairs for Best In Show judging. For the sum of $200 (about 125 pounds), you could guarantee yourself a prime ringside spot and a souvenir folding chair. Many folks (including some club members) were upset by this change in tradition, and rumors circulated for weeks, morphing from “they’re selling some chairs at ringside,” to “everyone has to pay to watch Best In Show.” Of course, this was not the case. Glen, Mike and I enjoyed good seats under the tent and out of the sun for which we paid nothing. Geoff sat with a friend in “judge’s row.” A club member told me that, despite the rumors, the club intended to sell only about 25 seats, and, although chairs are always three and four deep at ringside, about half of the reserved front row seats were empty during the final judging.

Sealys are as thin on the ground here as they are in the UK, but Geoff had a good entry of 27, with exhibitors coming from as far away as California.  He ultimately sent the Sealy G Ch Efbe’s Goodspice Easy Money through to the Group ring.

Airedale fancier Keith Lovell made the trip from Australia to do Best In Show honours. After giving Best Brace to a pair of lovely Mini Schnauzers, he tackled the job of selecting the best of the best. We were all puzzled by his ring procedure, in which he originally short-listed 15 or 16 dogs, moved them, moved them again, and then called out several to line up in centre ring. If memory serves, he called out the Airedale first and the Kerry second. Spectators and handlers were obviously anticipating his finally pointing “one-two-three-four” when he pulled out more dogs and moved them again. And again. The dogs no longer under consideration were left in the ring in the late afternoon sun, pushed back against the ring ropes so that those still under consideration could move past them.

After what seemed like a lifetime, he pulled out the Sealyham and pointed to her for Best In Show, with the Wire handled by terrier specialist Gabriel Rangel in second place, and the Kerry in third. Fourth place on this day went to the Airedale, G Ch Brisline’s Goforit Energizer Bunny who is sired by the BIS winner from 2007, Ch Evermay’s High Performance. Both were handled by Jenny Wornall, very talented daughter of Woody Wornall who is a frequent visitor to Crufts. Needless to say, Geoff was over the moon that his Best of Breed winner had gone all the way.

This marked Margery Good’s fourth Montgomery Best, having won in 1979 with a Sealy and in 1987 with a Lakeland, in addition to Charmin’s 2008 win. Of course, it will take some doing to top Peter Green’s eight Montgomery wins! We drove home on Monday, chatting about people and dogs as we drove through four states to my farm in Connecticut –a truly memorable Montgomery. I can’t think of much to improve on, unless I can someday convince Geoff to learn how to drive on the right!

by Barbara Anderson Lounsbury


Montgomery County Kennel Club 2011
BEST IN SHOW by Keith Lovell

I have enjoyed the most wonderful year or so of anticipation after being invited to judge Best in Show at what may well be the premier Terrier Show in the world. However, I am sure that British Terrier must make a similar claim as might the Terrier Group at CRUFTS.  The experience lived up to that expectation.


I always make UK a stop and linking point when judging in Europe or USA’s East Coast and so on this occasion we made an around the World journey.  Thus we passed once again through the UK enjoying the comfort of the British Airlines lounge.  There is a dog person’s “Holey Grail” and for many it will be Crufts and for many others a World Show. For Terrier lovers our “holy grail” is MONTGOMERY COUNTY KENNEL CLUB!

Similarly the judging goal for the All round judge may well be Best in Show at Crufts or a World Show. For a Terrier Person it will be to judge a breed at Montgomery County. Nobody would dare to dream of judging Best in Show there. The list of Best in Show judges is awesome. People like Peter Green, Hans Lehtinan, Kari Jarvinen, Harry O’Donaghue, and Ferelith Somerfield  read like a who’s who of Terriers. For me to be awarded the appointment is unbelievable. Another internationally well known Australian judge to have been honoured in this way is David Roche (in 1989).

It is hard to think of Montgomery County Show in isolation as it is the fourth of four All Breed Shows. Yes, Montgomery is an all breed show but one that offers only classes for Terriers. For me it has been wonderful judging at Hatboro Show as a prelude to the big Terrier event. I have judged many times in the USA so this experience was not as daunting as it may have been. I do have history with Montgomery County Show. In 1979 I exhibited a borrowed Airedale and was placed third in both the class and sweepstakes. Placings that I felt were justified. In 1986 I returned to judge Airedales and awarded the breed to the wonderful Finlair Isis. I was there again in 1998 to see Virginia Latham-Smith award the Airedale breed to a veteran and promptly bought a grandson of the dog for success in Australia. I was back in 2003 to see a judge I very much admire, Hans Lehtinen, judge best in show.

It was great to get to judge Best Brace in Show prior to “the main event” as It allowed me to get into the flow of things and to see some lovely dogs and some skilled handling. It also enabled me to assess the ring, the sun and how best to serve the people in the “million dollar seats”. Perhaps I should digress; Mick Jagger and I were born in the same year. Mick and I are the only two people of our age that I can think of who can command $200 a seat for a performance. If I am wrong about that I am not wrong when I say that I know of no other dog judge that has done his stuff in front of people who paid $200 for a seat.

The Montgomery County Kennel Club offered a prime location and a seat to take home for such a contribution. The people who supported the club in this way are the backbone of our sport  in their generosity. I was so pleased to see a seat had been bought for  (the recently departed) Ric Chashoudian too. While he will never see another Montgomery his chair was as an alter for this great Terrier Man who had been involved in one way or another with more Montgomery County Kennel Club Shows than any other. A great Tribute to Rick Chashoudian. I note that he was also honoured by Peter Green at his usual after show luncheon and at the start of the show, before many of us had arrived there was a fitting tribute. Best Brace was a very superior pair of Miniature Schnauzers superbly presented and handled. The Bedlington pair in second were also excellent breed specimens that were visually a great pair. The Australian Terriers and Irish made up third and fourth.

Before the Best in Show judging the Montgomery County Kennel Club honoured their devoted elder statesman, Walter Goodman who became President of the club in 1979 and retiring as such this last year (the first year I visited the show).  The AKC President, Denis Sprung gave us all an insight into Walter’s many achievements. It was an honour just to be there for this presentation.

I was awestruck when I first saw the stunning line of Terriers enter the best in show ring. My first thought was of the outstanding job the breed judges had done to send me so many potential winners. I also thought of the many great dogs who this year did not progress through their breed. It pleased me that I did not however feel overwhelmed. Perhaps I could choose any and not be wrong. Perhaps this made it even harder for me. My first cut was the hardest as it meant choosing exhibits of the highest quality with my intention of paying them no more heed. This seemed so unfair for such good examples of their breeds.

However, I determined to have them all back where they deserved to be before making my final awards. I made only one more cut. In an effort to get the numbers down to a manageable level I almost cut two exhibits, the Welsh and the Norwich, either of whom would have made very worthy winners. This was indicative of the challenge from this point on. I have a dozen or so exhibits in the ring any of which I would be proud to award a best in show to. There are certain Terriers to spar or face up as this enables them to show requirements of the standard that are not possible in a statue…….’on tip toe of expectation…..alert at any movement…….as designated by the carriage of the ears and tail”. I chose to do so but also gave others equal time to extol their virtues.  I know that the Kerry and Soft Coat could also have spared but I have a historical preference not to.

As I became clear in my mind which exhibits were taking my fancy on this day I maneuvered them to the front of the line in an order from which I could easily direct them to the numbers that each and every one coveted. The numbers 1 to 4 were placed right to left in front of the million dollar seats and when I was certain I placed the front four dogs one to four from right to left. The most difficult question readers might ask me to answer is why one over two or three over four. Is it unfair to say more than that these are four great dogs among a ring full of great dogs. I can find little to criticise about any of the four and will not. The Sealyham, GCH Efbe’s  Goodspice Easy Money, excelled in all breed characteristics, moved like a dream and was at one with the handler.

She performed as a Terrier should when facing other dogs, had an excellent coat and like every dog in the ring was superbly presented. The Wire, GCH Steele Your Heart, was a picture. Perhaps the only reason it was second and not first (perhaps) is that I have seen other great wires that have left a more lasting impression. However, I am not sure of the age or experience of this dog and that ‘edge’ may still come. The Kerry  GCH Perrisblu Kennislain’s Chelsey, is so unlucky.

How can a bitch that is so good not win the show. It hurt somewhat as I love this breed and having judged the breed at the World Terrier Show in Stockholm in 2008 and doubt that I saw a better one. My only explanation is that the other two took my fancy on the day. And fourth is my own breed, Airedale GCH Brisline’s Goforit Energiser Bunny, and I know a good one when I see one. Congratulations winners, congratulations owners and breeders of every dog in the ring. I have a wonderful memory of having had my hands on the world’s best Terriers in 2011.

The members of Montgomery County Kennel Club number just 25. How marvelous that they can put on such an event. To Bruce Swartz and his team; thank you and congratulations.

To the Terrier people of USA;  WOW!

 

Read 2689 times Last modified on Monday, 12 September 2016

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