As long as I can remember the show of Gent has always been a one day show, unique in its concept, interesting for the visitor who can see all the breeds on one day, but not that interesting for everyone. Like the stand holders, they only have one day to make enough return to pay for the stand money. And now judges can be invited to work on two days, thus reducing the number of them, the costs to invite and host them and less risk if they seem not that popular for a few breeds. Less space is needed, less halls to be heated, less parking required, etc. There are without a doubt more advantages than disadvantages to spread a show over two days. Gent was also a two yearly show. I wonder if that will change in the nearby future. Would be nice as Gent is popular and has enough potential to do it. This was Gent’s 45 edition and probably the start of a new era. Unfortunately, the honorary president, Mr.Pierre Verborgh, could not enjoy the results of the changes he agreed upon as he died less than 3 weeks before the show.
Very few clubs have such nice halls, so much space and accommodation. Flanders Expo is so large that very big rings can be made and still there is plenty of space around to move, place cages and commercial stands. There was an explicit prohibition to place tables and benches around the rings and that helped a lot. This should be the case on all shows. It is a show and the public that pays a rather huge entry fee has a right to optimal viewing conditions. Some rings were too big for breeds like the Chihuahua’s and other toy breeds and the main ring was huge too, good to move around but if you were on the wrong side of the ring and the dogs were lined up on the opposite site, it became difficult to have a good look on them. But this is not really a complaint of course, just something to adjust next time. Who doesn’t love to show his dog floating in the ring and showing his qualities to the judge, and what judge would not be pleased seeing them moving around in optimal conditions, preventing them to make mistakes in their judgments.
2008 was still the best ever year with regard to entries, when they passed the 2000 with 70 more. Last edition, two years ago, the number had dropped down to 1758 but this year there was a significant increase again to 1951 dogs. The dogs represented no less than 16 nationalities, including 75 dogs (!)from the United Kingdom, and a few from Denmark, Poland, Russia, Spain and Czech Republik, Sweden, Hungary and even three from Israel and also three from the United States. The 20 judges included 9 from Belgium. The rest represented 9 nationalities. They were all pleased with the high quality of our ring stewards. They are very efficient since there are courses organized to train them. Besides that Belgium has a tradition of teaching 4 languages in school which is a big help for the judges from abroad.
In general all judges were able to work in a relaxed tempo as none of them was overloaded. One exception was Mr.Ranea Munill Francisco from Spain. He had Retrievers to judge on Saturday and that resulted in 93 entries for him. On Sunday he finished the day after having judged 92 dogs, including 23 Swiss White Shepherds. Both days together turned him into the best scoring judge of the show. Mrs.Monica Kuriate-Okarmus came from Poland to find 43 Cavalier King Charles Spaniels in her ring on Sunday. She had a total of 71 dogs on Saturday and 63 on Sunday.
Mr.Mariano Di Chicco from Italy had popular breeds, 54 Cane Corsos on Saturday, and 29 American Staffordshires plus 35 Staffordshire Bull Terriers on Sunday. His weekend score was 118 dogs. Mr.Philippe Fortemps from Belgium judged on Saturday only. He had 101 Spaniels in his ring. From the United Kingdom Gent welcomed Mr.Robin Saerle to judge 36 Bulldogs on Saturday and 75 dogs, including 50 Border Collies on Sunday. Mr. and Mrs. Beare crossed the channel from Ireland . Mrs Berry Beare finished the third best scoring judge. Saturday was her busiest day when she had 39 Chinese Cresteds and 37 Chihuahuas to go over. Her weekend finished after 130 dogs passed her ring. Her husband Andrew Beare had the honor to judge Best In Show.
After a relatively relaxing Saturday he had 101 entries to examine on Sunday. This big number was thanks to 28 Dalmatians and 39 Rhodesian Ridgebacks. And after 165 dogs he was not finished yet as the 10 Group winners were lined up for him around 6 o’ clock for the BIS judging. His 3rd BIS was a Dalmatian that he judged earlier that day. It was a Swedish import “Solbo’s Lalicia”, a 5 year old bitch that was entered in Open Class. Lalicia was bred by Radojicic and is owned by Van Mol- Van Den Bosch Paul from Belgium. Her group judge was Mrs. Liliane De Ridder- Onghena , who was a Dalmatian breeder herself. Out of 28 Newfoundlanders Mr.Patrich Galvin from the UK chose Mr.Didier Haeck’s Champion “New Angels Kisstheboy” to be BOB. Mr.Gustaaf Van Den Bosch from Belgium made him BOG. That was on Saturday. His return was worth it as he finished ResBIS. Kisstheboy is a 3 year old male, entered in Champion Class and bred and owned by Mr.Didier Haeck. Mr. Beare chose a BOB that was judged on Saturday by his own wife. She judged the 18 Whippets and picked out an Intermediate Class dog “Nelson of Gentle Mind”, a dog bred by Demmerling-Bartusch from Germany, two years ago. The dog is owned by Mr.Dominique Delabelle who won several BIS and is succesfull breeder himself. Mrs.Kitty Sjong from Denmark recognized his qualities too and made him BOG.
I wonder how many forthcoming editions it will take before this show will be organized every year. It would be nice as this is certainly one of our better shows in Belgium and a show that has the best potentials to grow into one of the biggest too.