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Lessons Learned

I spent a good portion of my life working with the military and approach everything I do as a mission with goals to be achieved. As I travel back home from Kalamazoo, MI, I look back over the last five days at the Western Michigan Apple Blossom Cluster and ponder what was accomplished.

My mission this year is to visit dog shows in as many parts of the U.S. as I can and talk with as many fanciers as I can. My goals are to:

  • See dogs that I have written about, meet dogs that I have yet to write about, and talk to their breeders, owners & handlers
  • Get input on what people want to read about on Dog Show Poop and The Back Story,
  • Listen to what people think about our sport.

Many of the dogs I saw in Kalamazoo I have seen elsewhere, including three of our current Top Twenty, the German Wirehaired Pointer, GCH CH Mt View’s Ripsnorter Silver Charm; the Kuvasz, GCH CH Szumeria’s Wildwood Silver Six Pence; and the German Shepherd Dog, GCH CH Babheim’s Captain Crunch.

GCH CH Nagyalma Unforgettable Too

However, I did see a few dogs that I had not seen before, though I had heard the names of a couple of them. You can go to dozens of shows and not see a Komondor, much less one that is a genuine contender for a Best In Show. In Kalamazoo I got to see GCH CH Nagyalma Unforgettable Too in three of the BIS rings after he took three of five rounds with the Kuvasz, the Number Three Dog All Breeds.

GCH CH Hallmark Jolei Bells will Be Ringing

Another dog that did even better was the Shih Tzu, GCH CH Hallmark Jolei Bells Will Be Ringing, who took four Toy Groups and one BIS. Willie was shown by his breeders/owners Luke & Diane Ehricht, the 2008 AKC Toy Breeders of the Year.

GCH CH J'Cobe Broxden Hampton Court Detroit Tiger

One dog even managed to make it to the BIS ring from the Bred By Exhibitor class, but then the Smooth Fox Terrier, J’Cobe Broxden Hampton Court Detroit Tiger, is a repeat breeding of Phil & Amy Booth’s 2010 Number One Dog All Breeds, GCH CH J’Cobe Kemosabe Vigilante Justice. You can bet we will be seeing more of this precocious 11-month-old.

Probably the major thing I learned is what you can do if you get five separate clubs pooling their resources and working together. I have nothing but kudos for the members of the Pontiac Kennel Club, the Holland Michigan Kennel Club, the Kalamazoo Kennel Club, the Grand Rapids Kennel Club & the Greater Muskegon Kennel Club. They have taken their individual clubs from barely making it to hosting one of the largest events on the show calendar. Well done. And that’s Today’s Back Story.

Written by

Billy Wheeler has been attending dog shows as a spectator and exhibitor for over 40 years. Billy is the man behind the popular Dog Show Poop. He is a retired management consultant who has advised multiple organizations affiliated with the AKC and the Cat Fanciers Association on business management, long range planning, customer service, and legislative matters. After 25 years of living in the big cities of New York, San Francisco, and Washington, DC, he now resides in his hometown of Memphis TN with his wife, Brenda, her Toy Poodle and his Cairn, Scottie, & IG. When he is not blogging, Billy can be found in the kitchen cooking, and listening to opera.

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