I seldom even think about covering a single show in Fancy That, unless of course it’s one of the iconic events on our calendars such as Montgomery County, AKC/Eukanuba or Westminster. However, a few weeks ago the show chair for the Pioneer Valley KC, Linda Gagnon, wrote to ask me to consider giving some coverage to that show, held this past Saturday, August 3, in Greenfield, Mass.

Pioneer Valley is one of, as far as I can tell, the very few self-superintended shows being held today. This year the summer show was preceded by the Irish Red and White Setter Association National Specialty held at the same grounds on Friday.

Vizsla GCh. Cinnabar’s Sasco Finale was Best in Show at the 38th summer show hosted by the Pioneer Valley Kennel Club. Photo by Christine Freitag.

Pioneer Valley also holds a spring show, in West Springfield, Mass., where more than four dozen shows are held each year, but as Linda said of the summer show, “We cherish our small traditional show and hope to keep it going.” Pioneer Valley’s companion show for the summer date is hosted by the Cheshire Kennel Club and takes place about 40 miles to the north in Keene, N.H.

Of course, 30 years ago almost every show was held in the “home territory” of the club that hosted it, and exhibitors packed up each day and drove to the next show site in the next club’s home territory. Since the 1980s, however, exhibitors have become accustomed to clubs clustering several shows at one location. Clubs that attempt to maintain a single, standalone event have sometimes been forced to fold when entries declined to the point that it was no longer financially feasible to continue. Indeed, Linda wrote to us to encourage us to promote “the small, old-fashioned…show, which describes our show exactly, as well as some others – some still around and some, regrettably, not.” Pioneer Valley hopes to avoid joining those clubs that have stopped holding the “small, old-fashioned” shows.

Saturday’s show was the 38th summer show for Pioneer Valley. The club’s first event, according to Linda, was held at the Greenfield Community College and, with the exception of just a couple of years, has remained at that site.

Frank Washabaugh judged Best in Show, and, from an entry of 775, the victor, after winning the Sporting Group under Lisa Warren, was Vizsla GCh. Cinnabar’s Sasco Finale. Bred and owned by Katherine Stookey and Susan Potocik, ‘Geri’ was handled to the win by Cliff Steele. Geri’s been handled on previous occasions by Adam Bernardin, Stacy Snyder-Threlfall and others, and was already a multiple Group winner and a Specialty Best in Show winner, now adding the ultimate all-breed accomplishment to his record. His dam, Ch. Cinnabar’s Annie Only, was also a specialty winner, and his sire, Arsla and Auburn’s Sunny Boy, is a dual champion with a Master Hunter title.

In the Hound Group, Christopher Neilson’s winner was Black and Tan Coonhound Ch. Southchase’s Wilbert Roy, handled by Alessandra Folz for owners Joseph and Janet Lobb of Ontario, Canada. Bred by Stan Bielowicz, ‘W.R.’ just started his specials career in July, and won a Group and Reserve BIS his second weekend out.

I knew Southchase sounded familiar when I saw this dog’s name, and a little research reminded me why. Back in the late 1990s, Ch. Southchase’s Warrior Princess was among the country’s top Hounds for several years. ‘Xena’ became the top-winning Black and Tan Coonhound of all time when she won 25 Best in Shows and 115 Groups, handled by Victor Capone. Bred and owned by Stan Bielowicz and Lynda Webb and co-owned by Diane Biechler, she was also the national specialty winner in 2000 from a record entry of 70. Xena’s son, Ch. Southchase’s It Happened One Night, was a multiple Best in Show winner in 2006 and 2007 handled by breeder/owner Lynda Webb, and is W.R.’s grandsire.

Alberto Berrios’s Working Group winner was Saint Bernard GCh. Jamelle’s Aristocrat V Elba, Number 1 Saint and Number 14 Working dog through June with three BIS wins and nine Group Firsts. Bred by Michele and Jack Mulligan and owned by Linda and Edward Baker, ‘Aristocrat’ is handled by Melody Salmi. He is the son of Ch. Aksala’s Arie, the Number 1 Saint in 2004 and 2005 and the 2004 national specialty winner. ‘Arie’ won an amazing 51 specialties during his career, as well as four all-breed Best in Shows. Not only is he among the top, if not the top, specialty winner of any breed, statistically his record in the all-breed arena is truly remarkable; he won two Best in Shows from six Group Firsts in 2004, and two more BIS from just four Group wins in 2005, an almost unheard of ratio of BIS to Group wins. He was bred and owned by Steve and Raina Lewis, and also owned by Linda and Edward Baker.

In the Terrier Group, David Kirkland found as his winner the breeder/owner-handled Smooth Fox Terrier Ch. Bluestone Mirror Mirror. Bred and owned by Liz Tobin and Joe Vaudo and handled by Liz, the 2-year-old bitch is many generations of Liz and Joe’s breeding. This bitch’s pedigree, in fact, goes right back to one of their best known Smooths, ‘Witchy,’ Ch. Pennfox Trackway’s Wicked Brew, Best in Show at Montgomery County in 2005 after being one of the country’s top Smooths and a multiple BIS winner several years in the early 2000s. The beautiful Witchy celebrated her 17th birthday with Liz and Joe on July 4 this year, and photos of her eating her birthday cake were enjoyed by all on Facebook.

Terry Berrios’ Toy Group winner, and on to Reserve BIS, was Miniature Pinscher Ch. Kimro N Spivas Super Trooper, breeder/owner-handled by Kim Pastella-Calvacca. Co-bred and co-owned by Robin Greenslade, Howard Schwell and Joan Spiva, ‘Trooper’ is the latest in several generations of top-winning Min Pins from the Calvacca/Greenslade/Schwell team. Trooper’s sire ‘Major,’ Ch. Kimro’s Soldier Boy, was the Number 1 Min Pin in 2008 and 2009 with more than 80 Group wins and multiple Best in Shows, and was Best Bred-by-Exhibitor in Show at AKC/Eukanuba in 2010. Major’s sire, ‘Sarge,’ Ch. Kimro’s Toy Soldier, was Number 1 Min Pin in 2006 and 2007 – and he was only a year old in January of 2006! Major’s dam, Ch. Kimro’s Maid in Manhattan, won five Groups in 2005. Her sire, Ch. Kimro’s Rocket Man, was a BIS winner, as was Sarge’s sire, Ch. Kimro’s Space Cowboy V Edgewind, Number 1 in the breed in 2004. Wow! What a family dynasty Kim, Robin and Howard have created together.

In the Non-Sporting Group, judge Albert Bianchi’s winner was Dalmatian GCh. Canal-Side’s Imperator. ‘Barnsby,’ bred and owned by Pauline and Helene Masachi and co-owned by Dana Battistoni, Bertha Little and Joan Eversole, is owner-handled by Jeff Langevin. Through June the pair won five Group Firsts for a comfortable spot in the breed’s top five in all-breed rankings. Barnsby is a grandson of the 2008, 2009 and 2011 top Dal sire, Ch. Nspird Hollywood Legend. I know he’s done much for the breed as a sire, but one of my favorite things about ‘Andy’ is that in addition to earning his bronze grand championship, breeder/owner-handled by Carrie Jordan, and siring more than 30 champions, he also earned a lure-coursing title. He wins in the show ring, produces in the whelping box and has fun out on the coursing field. What more could you ask for?

Christopher Neilson also judged the Herding Group, awarding first to Border Collie GCh. Lucky For You Gangster, handled by Mike Reed for owner Stephanie McLoughlin. I believe this was the first Group win for ‘Frank,’ who was imported from Hungary and appears to have been shown on a very limited basis over the past year. Kristof Benyi’s Hungarian Lucky For You kennel produced the first Border Collie to win a BIS in Hungary, multi-Ch. Lucky For You Babyface, the first multiple Best in Show-winning Border Collie in Hungary, Lucky For You Broadway, and the first Hungarian Border Collie to become an American champion, Am. Ch. Lucky For You Beautiful Eve, who was owned and handled by Debbie Butt.

That wraps it up for the results from Pioneer Valley KC. Hopefully we can continue to support these clubs that hold standalone shows and want to retain their individuality. The convenience of the big clusters is inarguable, but isn’t it nice to go to a show and later be able to remember which club hosted it?