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A First Time for Everything

As you probably already know, one of the biggest Terrier shows of the year – the Great Western Terrier Association of Southern California – was held recently in Long Beach, Calif. But what you didn’t know is that this was my first time attending the big event.

Well, there has to be a first time for everything, right?

I asked myself if there was a “real” reason for never going before this year. The answer is simple: I’ve never had a Terrier to show there, and neither have any of the all-breed handlers I’ve assisted.

So now I find myself thinking about what it would be like to show a Terrier at Great Western someday.

With the really big shows, you always hear stories about what it will be like and what to expect. People talk about the exciting things that have happened in past years, and these stories kind of put this preconceived notion in your head.

So going into the weekend, I decided to put all that aside and make some raw observations of my own. I wanted to experience the show from the other side – the other side being not only that I’d never been before, but also that I’m a Hound girl.

So, first things first.

Everyone was right about the location! Honestly, it’s the best spot for a show I have ever been to. It’s right on the water, and the setup was phenomenal. Not to mention the Queen Mary right behind us – not too shabby!

In one respect, this show is perfect. It’s not so big that you have to run around like crazy to get to a ring in a far, far away land. You can turn around, look at all the rings and see exactly what’s going on, which is nice for a change.

But one thing did make me think I could go with or without the location: the actual ring sizes. They could definitely be bigger for the larger entries and for the bigger breeds that would make good use of a large ring.

This show is also known for a big turnout with the best of the best showing up to compete. From my end, the entries seemed decent-to-large for the most part, with only a handful of extra-large entries. The top entry for the weekend was the Miniature Schnauzer, with 80 dogs entered on Saturday.

I didn’t see many top Terrier people from the East Coast, but many of the best Terriers were definitely in the rings. Although I expected to see a few more unfamiliar faces from the other coast, many people traveled halfway around the world to show their dogs, and even just to watch.

I have to be honest, before the weekend started I felt nervous and out of my comfort zone. For me, Terriers are not my core Group. They’re not even my secondary Group. In any case, those nerves quickly went away when I pulled out my camera.

I got some great shots of the weekend that you can see on our home page and on Facebook.

Overall, I was so pleased with my first experience at Great Western, and I’m glad to say that I’d love to attend again next year. So what do you say? See you next year? I hope so!

We already know Dogs Freakin’ Rule, but on this weekend, Terriers Freakin’ Ruled!

Written by

Kayla Bertagnolli is a 23-year-old from Ogden, UT, who's been involved in the dog show world her whole life. A former junior handler who learned about breeding Beagles from her mother Leah, she assisted several professional handlers and is currently working to become a Junior Showmanship judge. Kayla is passionate about photography and writes the twice-weekly blog, DFR. She plans to continue breeding and showing, and expects to stay involved in dogs "for life!"
  • T Dilworth July 26, 2012 at 7:57 PM

    Kayla, not a big name terrier person but I did come in from the East Coast for my first time at the show. It was a beautiful show, nice to meet you and you took some really great shots. See you next year and may be we both will have a terrier to show. Good Luck

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