In 2009 when Bob Bartos made the trip from his home in the Pacific Northwest to the East Coast for the Montgomery County Kennel Club all-Terrier show, it was just one of many times he had been to the legendary all-Terrier show. There was nothing much unusual about this trip, except that it was his first time back in more than two decades, and he was 96 years old. On June 23, 2013, Bob celebrated his 100th birthday.
For many years in the mid-20th century, Bob had attended Montgomery County as a competitor, showing mostly Scotties, and reported in an interview with Darle Heck for Terrier Type magazine’s May/June 2010 issue, “there were many times during the years he was competing that people were not so happy to see him at ringside.” But in 2009 Bob was at the show as an honored guest of the Scottish Terrier Club of America. Club members consider him a treasure of the Scottie world, and indeed he is best remembered for handling the 1967 Westminster Best in Show winner, Scottie Ch. Bardene Bingo. On that day in Pennsylvania, Bob enjoyed watching the Scottie judging and talking with some of the people he had known back in his days in the sport, and the day ended perfectly when he watched Amelia and Dan Musser’s Scottie, Ch. Roundtown Mercedes of Maryscot, handled by Gabriel Rangel, go Best in Show.
The Early Days
Bob was born in 1913 in St. Paul, Minn. His family had pets, but the first dog of his own was a German Shepherd that he bought for $125 during the height of the breed’s popularity in the 1920s. At that time Bob was working as a ladies shoe salesman. In 1933 he met and married his wife, Jane, and the two were married for 74 years, until Jane’s death in 2007. They had three children, and today Bob enjoys five generations of the Bartos family.
Bob had attended his first dog show in 1924, and he remembered watching Wire Fox Terriers and being very interested in the breed, so when he and Jane decided they’d like to show dogs they went looking for a good Wire. But as it turned out, after seeing a good litter of Scotties they bought a bitch that they named Scotsmuir Enterprise, and Bob and Jane began to breed under the Scotsmuir prefix.
Bob learned to groom and show dogs simply by watching his competitors and working hard. In those days many of the top Terrier men showed Scotties, and those who set the example for him included the likes of Phil Prentice, Percy Roberts and John Murphy. Dog shows were benched in those days, and exhibitors and handlers typically spent the entire day at the dog show, preparing their dogs, competing and then talking about and looking at dogs. That’s how Bob got his education in dogs.
Bob and Jane became completely immersed in the dog world when he became the manager for the Deephaven Scottie kennel. Over the years that followed, he managed several kennels, sometimes more than one at a time, and was involved with Cockers, Beagles, Wires, Sealyhams, Schnauzers and Poodles, in addition to the Scotties. But it was the scrappy little black dogs that really stole his heart.
In 1947 he was asked to manage the Carnation Farm Kennels in Washington state, where he oversaw E.H. Stuart’s kennel of more than 300 show and field trial dogs. It was there that he became involved with the Scottie that would put his name in the record books.
Third Time’s a Charm
Throughout the 1950s Bob showed many dogs for Carnation Farms, including several top Scotties. He also established a line of field trial Labrador Retrievers for Carnation, and the farm often served as the site for retriever trials.
In 1961 Tony and Miriam “Buffy” Stamm imported the Scottie Eng. Ch. Bardene Boy Blue to the U.S. to incorporate into their Anstamm breeding program. Shortly thereafter Bob imported Ch. Bardene Bingo for Carnation Farms. In 1965 the Stamms brought over the Bingo son, Ch. Bardene Bobby Dazzler, and Scottie fanciers all over the country took advantage of the imports and used them in their own breeding programs. Today Mrs. Stamm says that “within five years, 75 percent of all Scottie champions were descended from one or more of the ‘Three Bs.’” The Bardene dogs had a lasting influence on the breed in America, helping to transform the Scottish Terrier into the breed it is today.
Bingo burst onto the show scene upon arriving from Britain, winning two Best in Shows from the classes. Bob had high hopes going into Westminster in 1965 with his 3 year old. Indeed, it may have been a big dream, but if he could go Best in Show at the Garden he could finish Bingo with three Bests from the classes. But it was not to be. Bingo was Best of Opposite Sex to the favorite, Ch. Carmichaels Fanfare. ‘Mamie’ was handled by John Murphy for Mr. and Mrs. Charles Stalter, and she went on to win Best in Show, her 32nd such win.
The following year Bingo didn’t even get a look in the breed ring, and with Mamie retired, one of her kennelmates, again handled by Johnny Murphy, was the winner. But when Bob saw the lineup of judges for the 1967 show, he thought it looked promising for his charge. So once again they made the trek from Carnation, Wash., to New York City. The third time was indeed the charm, and Bingo was Best in Show under the man who had served as an example to Bob, Percy Roberts.
When Bob went to Montgomery in 2009, it just so happened that a Scottie was then taking the country by storm. For the first time in 25 years it seemed that a little ebony Scottish lass would be Top Terrier, and perhaps even more. In 1982, ’83 and ’84, the Scottie bitch Ch. Braeburn’s Close Encounter was campaigned by George Ward to Number 1 Terrier, and Top Dog among all breeds in 1983. Owned by Sonnie and Alan Novick, ‘Shannon’ won more than 200 Best in Shows during her six-year career. Not until 2009 did another Scottie so capture the hearts of America’s judges and fanciers, and in addition to Top Terrier, ‘Sadie’ would become Top Dog all breeds that year.
Back to the Future
But back in Blue Bell, Pa., Sadie’s handler, Gabriel Rangel, was just concentrating on winning that day with the Mussers’ Scottie. Gabriel had experienced success with many Terriers, but never before with a Scottie, and Bob had shared key insights with him about how to manage the bold, spirited, little breed. “Mr. Bartos explained to me that you have to let them think everything is their idea,” Gabriel says. It was a lesson well learned, as Sadie became one of the most willing and dynamic little show dogs of the modern era.
Bob enjoyed seeing her win the Scottie National Specialty that day, and then go on to go Best in Show under Peter Green, whom Bob had watched in the ring back in the 1960s, when Peter arrived from Wales as a young man.
And three times would become a charm at Westminster for this Scottie too. Her first trip to the Garden was in 2008, when she was Best of Breed under Peter Green. Sadie was at an early juncture in her career, and Gabriel has said that all of the lights and noise distracted her from a perfect performance. There was also the fact that her competition in the Group that year under judge Betty-Anne Stenmark was the 2007 Number 1 Terrier, Sealyham Ch. Efbe’s Hidalgo at Goodspice. ‘Charmin’ won the Group in New York in 2008 and Sadie settled for second, and they finished the year in the Terrier Group rankings in the same order.
The following year, in addition to his Best in Show assignment at Montgomery, Peter Green judged the Group at Westminster, and Sadie was his choice there as well. But the veteran Sussex Spaniel, Ch. Clussexx Three D Grinchy Glee, captured the day and won the Best in Show under Sari-Brewster Tietjen. Following her year as 2009 Top Dog all breeds, naturally her team wanted her to go to the Garden in February, and indeed 2010 proved to be her year. She was Group First for the second time, this win under Loraine Boutwell, and went on to Best in Show under Elliott Weiss.
Bob Bartos was no doubt pleased as he watched Sadie and Gabriel win Westminster from his home in Washington. Today, although he doesn’t attend many dog shows, Bob stays in touch with some of his friends in the sport, and the Scottie community still considers him among their most valuable treasures. Happy 100th Birthday, Bob, from all of us at Best In Show Daily.