Photos by Kayla Bertagnolli

For most who attended the Del Valle shows in Pleasanton, Calif., weekend before last, the reviews have been mixed. The chat around the show was that while it’s great and all of the big dogs come out, which make the wins more worthwhile, the site itself is just so big that it’s not only hard to navigate, but it can take 15-plus minutes to get to your ring and by the end of five days, your body just can’t do it anymore.

For me, I agree with these mixed feelings. But this show is only once a year, and it’s not that bad. If it were, no one would show up, right? For anyone who doesn’t know how big it actually is, there are two buildings: one for grooming and rings, and one with only rings. Altogether, there are 53 rings, yes, 53! The good news is that for the majority of breeds they stay in the same ring for the four all-breed days, but the bad news is that if you have two breeds running simultaneously in rings 4 and 47, you’d better find someone to lend you a helping hand!

All of that aside, I was pleasantly surprised by how much fun I had and how many great moments I have to share with my DFR readers!

Let’s start off with my favorite candid of the weekend…

The Basenji ‘Winston,’ GCh. Jasiri-Sakuri Win Tin Tin, in the Hound Group right when the sun started to go down on Thursday.

Up until this moment, I was struggling with the lighting in the Group ring, but I was lucky enough to capture this picture-perfect moment.

Another great sight was the Best in Show winner on Monday, the Bulldog, GCh. Itsa Brix. In the Best in Show lineup with this guy were many of today’s top dogs who flew in just for the Monday show. But the one that caught not only the judge’s eye, but the crowd’s as well, was ‘Brix’! Definitely a standout of the weekend!

GCh. Itsa Brix in the Best in Show Ring Monday.

Lastly one of the coolest, goose-bumpy moments of the whole weekend was watching the Grand Juniors event. In a nutshell, each class winner from the all-breed shows, along with the Best Junior Handler from each of the specialties held on Saturday, were judged in a Top 20 setting with three judges. Based on the scores, one winner was chosen. What made it special for me is that Junior Showmanship is so close to my heart, and I could really see how much they all wanted it! I’m not trying to cut the details short, but I’ll be writing a whole DFR dedicated to this great event. So, keep your eye out for that one!

The winner and very talented Grand Best Junior Handler was KayCee Klang.

Miss KayCee Klang, the 2012 Harvest Moon Junior Classic Grand Best Junior Handler.

I think that about wraps up the Del Valle Mania of 2012, but like always, I would love for you to share your stories that I may have missed below!

One more thing: don’t forget. . . Dogs Freakin’ Rule.