Mid-West Region Opportunity!
If you have a digital camera and know Who's Who at the shows,
TARHEEL DOG SHOWS,
days of “top dog” coverage at one of the nation’s most popular and
well organized Cluster shows, the Tarheel is a neighbor to AKC’s
Operations Offices, making it a perfect “politicking” venue.
by Andrews & Vandiver.
Spring Show where exhibitors and judges cluster to catch up with
gossip, new dogs, and old friends. Within walking distance of NC
State Veterinary University, close to AKC’s NC office, and only 500
feet from a monster Flea Market, the Tarheel shows are never boring!
The “other” American Kennel Club office came about after much debate
over the price of real estate in NY City. Common sense and tradition
finally compromised, resulting in “41 Mad Ave.” as the prestige
address and “Corporate Drive” as the working business location.
Terry Stacey, former AKC Field Rep who moved up to Exec. VP
and his lovely wife Jackie were very busy the first couple of
days. Bob Slay, also a former hander, then judge, who also
moved up the AKC ladder was equally busy throughout the circuit.
Although Bob appears stern and stiffly formal, don’t let that fool
you, he’s a great dog man who is as congenial as they come. Dr.
Harry Smith judged two Groups for Salisbury the first day.
Although he’s lost weight, he told me the cancer hasn’t metastasized
and he was feeling good. “Dr. Harry” makes you feel good about
showing, win or lose. Dennis McCoy was everywhere as
assistant cluster coordinator and even without his famous pink
socks, he is always epitome of perfect style and fashion.
Ken and Jackie Rayner were kept busy judging Groups
and I was reminded of how the years have flown by since Ken’s dad
had a wresting match with someone’s Mastiff on the Florida circuit.
The consummate handler, his bravery and quick action probably saved
a life that day. Roberta Campbell judged Terrier Group for
Durham and although everyone agreed she picked great dogs, what
impressed me was that she actually watched the dogs move. Not just
going through the motions as many judges do after a long day, she
genuinely observed them all the way around the ring. With a
different style, Warner Cespedes kept a close eye on the Toy
Group lineup as he waited for handlers to get their dog on the
table. It would be prudent to pay attention to one’s dog as you near
the front of the line instead of chatting as most of us are prone to
The tallest man on the show grounds was Jon Cole who did
several groups. Norm Patton is a less familiar face in this area but
he was very well supported. Don Jones could judge with his
eyes closed but he didn’t. Having judged the herding breeds, he gave
them only a cursory exam in Herding Group which was refreshingly
honest. Many judges tend to drag it out in Group but Dr. Jones
doesn’t need to impress anyone! We enjoyed watching Kathleen
Steen, another Georgian, do Working Group. Like Don Jones, she
wasted no motion in examination but was very thorough.
As mentioned, the cluster panel read like a Who’s Who with judges
like Bob and Jane Forsyth, Pat and Chuck
Trotter, and others we wish we had been able to chat with.
The Tarheel Cluster dropped from seven to five shows this year to
the relief of some and the chagrin of others. Linn Vandiver, SW
Region ShowShots reporter, drove all the way from Albuquerque, NM to
help cover the show but originally from the Eastern seaboard, she’s
been to the Tarheel many times. We both missed Joel Rosenblatt this
Traditional Tarheel weather is hard rain, cold weather, and bright
warm sunshine. This year was no exception – you bring winter and
summer wardrobe and of course, that future special because the rings
and atmosphere are so conducive to puppy training or polishing a new
champion. Unlike most venues nowadays, the Tar Heel clubs allow ring
practice and grateful exhibitors make sure the rings are left
unsoiled! The concrete floors may be a little hard on old knees but
there are no mats and the spacious rings are ideal for showing dogs.
There’s a good restaurant less than 100 feet from the front rings
and the clubs gave exhibitors tickets worth $3 off, a generous and
thoughtful gesture of appreciation. The dog bathing room is
especially appreciated by on-the-road handlers who make good use of
the facility. This year there was a gun show and we saw quite a few
dog show people going in and out of that building. Needless to say,
the ladies were doing the countdown to Saturday’s upscale flea
market which offers everything from ship-home furniture to fresh
vegetables and fudge vendors!
Some things are of course beyond the control of the Salisbury,
Durham, Alamance, Raleigh, and Fayetteville clubs. The showers have
moved and are not as nice as they once were. The plentiful paved
parking has been compromised by a landscape engineer who should be
fired by NC tax payers. Handicap spaces are greatly reduced and not
as accessible due to a walled off “grass garden.” More than twenty
five prime handler spaces along the main building wall and curb were
replaced by a useless planter bed and steeply sloped asphalt
“walkway” but still, it is better than most sites. There is ample
parking with water and sewer to the rear of the show building which,
while somewhat uphill, is still accessible without golf carts.
The site is safe and the police helpful and friendly. I miss tall
“Smitty” and didn’t get the name of the current officer or the
beautiful blonde lady who collects $25 per night for parking but I
will next year!
There are great breed seminars but we missed events like the “Old
Timers” competition. Bob and Jane Forsyth’s Moore County KC
offered a well supported match after BIS judging. We stopped at the
center aisle table to say hello to Jane and wound up entering two
TFT puppies. Linn thought it would be good for her baby puppy and
lo! she wound up winning Group Three under the lady who had won the
Toy Group with a beautiful Japanese Chin the day before. What fun!
let’s hear what the people have to say about the Tarheel circuit
because even though entries were down this year as they are
everywhere, the Westminster-caliber judging panel and a great venue
makes everyone is confident it will be “better next year.”
Gloria Johnson flew down from Michigan to show her Smooth
Chihuahua bitch Airwin Circus Sole’. “Dee Dee” stood out in a strong
Specials class; lovely head, expression, and self-stacking soundness
with great turn of stifle. She did some nice Group placements, which
was great for Gloria who has been showing and breeding less than
five years. Gloria proves that a really good owner-handled dog can
still win, including Best Of Breed at Westminster this year. We
asked Gloria what she liked best about the Tarheel Cluster shows.
“The show itself, it’s very easy to get in and get out and the ring
setup is great and lots of chairs. I mean, a lot of the shows you go
to there’s no chairs. It’s nice that they do that here.”
do you like least? “I guess there really isn’t anything I don’t
like, (laughing) they have good food and everything.
Sometimes they get a little overboard with rules but for so many
people, they have to have a lot of rules. I really like it here.”
It wouldn’t be the Tarheel without Fran and Hal Keyes,
but this year Hal was unable to come so it was just Fran and their
daughter Haley. As we chatted with Fran, I couldn’t stop admiring
Haley’s glamorous white Standard Poodle at ringside. Hal and Fran
have handled just about every breed over the years but Fran’s
special breed is the Schipperke. When asked what she liked best
about the show site, Fran unconsciously spritzed the glistening
Schip and replied, “I think it’s the opportunity to bring a young
dog down here where there’s big rings, great footing, and you’re in
here so many days they really get trained. That’s what I like about
asked ‘What do you like least?” her answer was typical, “I
haven’t found anything that I can say ‘least’ about. I like the
food, the people, and the show grounds.” I nodded towards
Haley Keyes and asked Fran how she had been doing. Instantly the
proud mom, Fran replied “She’s doing great with the dog of
course, but Haley is now President of the International Professional
Groomers Organization which tests and certifies professional
groomers at a higher level. She also judged in Atlanta.” Good
hands, good eye, and skill with all breeds – it must be genetic.
David Rich not only got everyone parked, he found time the
next day to tell us about procuring Black Russian Terriers from
Russia. His most recent trip would make a comedy-drama movie script.
We missed a photo op as he was so busy grooming, showing, or like
CJ Favre, helping people out on the show grounds. When a violent
storm suddenly attacked motor home awnings, David and CJ saved the
day and a whole lot more. Like Bert Halsey, these are the quiet,
capable, generous professionals who, all across the country make
showing dogs easier and safer for everyone. Thanks guys.
And special thanks to Pat Babuin, the lady in charge of the
whole event who replaced Wilma Hunter. It surely makes Wilma
proud to see this circuit continue to grow and prosper under Pat’s
And one last note about making things work. If you need on-site RV
repair, I can vouch for Jeff DeView who fixed several things
on my brand new trailer! He is a true professional with all the
parts and tools to do the job right. His mobile number is
When ShowShots photographer Linn Vandiver and I returned to our
Group ring seats, we were next to one of the largest dogs on the
grounds and surely, the most well behaved. The Irish Wolfhound lay
on his quilt like a good natured king enjoying his court.
Somershoe is a gifted “big breed” handler and I marveled at Ch.
Dun Myrica Speaker Of Eagle all week. Lina was my mentor but I must
say, that Wolfhound is one of the soundest giants ever whelped or
Marie is the best “big dog” handler I’ve ever seen. He moved
magnificently and stopped dead sound, day after day, winning a
rousing Best In Show on Saturday.
Speaking of Lina, there was a big, masculine, super sound fawn Dane
that won at least one Group, maybe more. Sorry I didn’t get the info
on him and we missed a good photo op.
Sue Whaley was everywhere, helping people get properly set up
Tuesday night and Wednesday morning. Knowing she is a moving force
behind one of the most popular cluster events on the East Coast, I
asked Sue what she likes best about the Tarheel? “I like the
convenience of showing the dogs, that they have a bathing facility,
the parking is wonderful. That’s what I like best about the show.”
do you like least? “I don’t really like anything least about the
show!” And she meant it. We moved south from Maryland before
there were cluster shows approved so I asked Sue if the Blue Crab
Cluster was as great as I’ve heard. “I’m sure it is. It is the
last Friday in June, June 26th this year. Southern Maryland starts
with Potomac all-Hound breeds on Thursday, then the all breed shows
start on Friday and Saturday, presented by Southern Maryland Kennel
Club. Sunday and Monday are the Rock Creek Kennel Club All breed
shows. There are all kinds of seminars that we participate in, we
have a live band Saturday night, and the crab feast with all kinds
of fresh seafood. We have volleyball for the young participants for
“Take The Lead”. It’s all on www.so.mdkc.com”
We caught up with Heidi Huber at the Group ring. She was
socializing “Sparkey” a Miniature Wirehaired Dachshund who
definitely liked the show but we asked Heidi what she liked best
about this show site. “I like the parking, I also like the
grooming setup, and the fact that there’s bathing tables and tubs in
here. And I really like how the rings are set up, they’re very big
which, when you have a dog that can move, it gives them ample room
to do so.”
What do you like least? “I really don’t know if there’s
anything I don’t like. We come every year to this show. I honestly
don’t know what I can tell you I don’t like.” She struggled for
an answer, then said “Maybe, the only thing, when it comes to the
grooming, I’d like to see everybody be able to get in at the same
time whether they are a professional handler or not. I can’t think
of anything else and that’s just Knit picking.”
Herr did some nice winning with her 15” Beagle, Ch. Quijote De
La Plaza Grunauer she handles for Linda Cranford. He is a red so not
quite as “flashy” but you can’t miss that rock-solid topline and
strong type. I think she said they bought him from Argentina, I was
so enchanted by the dog, I might be wrong but they had seen him at a
show here in the States. We asked Carol what she likes best about
the Tarheel. “The show grounds provide a nice venue for an inside
show. Generally it’s very well climate controlled. The rings are
spacious, there’s plenty of parking outside. A number of spots with
full hookups for the RVs. (smiling thoughtfully) The people
are very dog friendly in the area. They have a restaurant that
provides full meals for breakfast and lunch which is nice to see.
They have quite a number of vendors here. A lot to like about this
What do you like least? “The hard floors! After a week on these
floors your knees are feeling it. But not much we can do about that.
It’d be nice if we didn’t have so much rain this year.”
Jo Ann Charnik handles many breeds but her specialty is the
Akita. Linn and I were sitting at the group ring when Jo Ann brought
over the most luscious bitch puppy I’ve seen in years. The breed has
improved tremendously since we dominated the rings with Sachmo,
BigSon, and Widow-Maker. It was easy back then but nowadays, there
are so many outstanding Akitas, the judges must be as pleased as
they are pressed for decisions!
believe Jo Ann told us the puppy is sired by Ch. CR-Wicca’s Platinum
Sensation which she and Carla Burke own but I was so
entranced by the puppy herself, I could be wrong. At about 5 months,
she has so much bone I would be worried were it not for her absolute
soundness, including the short hocks with turn of stifle that has
always been a little hard to find in the breed. Heads are hugely
improved but even so, this puppy’s headpiece stands out in every
aspect. It was such a treat to get my hands on an Akita of that
quality that I forgot to ask Jo Ann what she most likes about the
Pat Hastings has intrigued me since she and husband Bob
(deceased) first began sharing
their experience in picking dogs with the most potential for
both the breed and the ring. Even though they are from
the NW, every once in a while we would run into Bob in Group
rings at eastern shows. That usually meant one spot “taken” but
watching him work was a learning experience in itself. The NC clubs present a
rich palette of seminars so I thought sure could attend her Puppy
Puzzle seminar but she laughed and said they only asked her to judge,
not do the seminar. Let’s hope the cluster committee will get her
back to do one of those seminars!
judged three days; Herding Group for Durham KC, Terriers and
Working breeds for Raleigh KC, and Working Group for
Fayetteville KC on Sunday. We asked Pat what she liked best about
judging at the Tarheel cluster site. “This is the first time I’ve
been to this site and it is a great site. It’s got really good
flooring except for the ring I was in today (she laughed aloud)
somebody painted over a spot in my ring and the painted spot was
slick as could be. The clubs have been absolutely wonderful. It’s a
great facility, we’re in a wonderful hotel, they are taking great
care of us and I REALLY have seen some nice dogs today.”
When I commented that it was too bad she wasn’t doing one of her
seminars here, Pat said “I just came home from doing four
seminars in New Zealand and so I wouldn’t have had time to work it
in anyway. I do about 20 – 25 seminars a year so I’m really busy
with them. Actually, I do three different seminars, one is just a
three-four hours that I do at National Specialties, and then I do a
full day one which includes the puppy evaluation stuff and the
basics of structure but from a very different view point.
“You know BJ, we learned from an engineer who’s never owned an
animal in his life. It was quite an education. I also do one that’s
that’s questions and answers, anything they want to get into. And
then I do another one called “Structure and Action”. It’s about how
structure affects performance. And the agility people are really
getting into that one.
“It’s made me nuts my whole life in dogs to have a breeder
say ‘this one’s not good enough for the show ring, I’ll just do
obedience…’ but now it even makes me crazier to hear an agility
person say ‘I don’t want a show dog, I want a pet.’ No they don’t!
Performance people need the best dog they can get their hands on
because the more structural issues you have, the more susceptible
you are to injuries. The faster a dog breaks down, the more it
affects the temperament and the less quality of life they have as
“I believe very strongly that this sport should be about the dogs
and not about our egos.”
What more can anyone say? We thank everyone who helped take you to
Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole.
- Roger Caras
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