This is not the first or last time that I will be blogging about “the future of our sport.” Yes, I’m talking about our up-and-coming junior handlers, not only in conformation, but in performance sports as well.
At a recent event where I thought a lack of support for our younger fanciers was pretty obvious, I realized that this kind of slight probably happens more often than we all would like to think.
In brief, I believe that every single Best Junior Handler winner should at least be offered by the club, superintendent or show chairman the chance to have a presentation during the Groups or before Best in Show to highlight his or her special win and to support the future of our sport.
At a very large show I attended recently, I was on a mission to find out exactly when the presentation would be held, to guarantee that I wouldn’t miss out on being there to see it. Come to find out that there actually wouldn’t be a presentation, nor was the junior handler offered a chance to showcase the win.
I was completely baffled and took it upon myself to talk to the superintendent, who then directed me to the show chair who heard me out, and agreed that there was no reason they shouldn’t have a presentation. He then told me he would make sure it would happen. At that point I was relieved and happy to hear that the best junior would get a chance to showcase the win before the large crowd. Sadly, as the Groups proceeded, it became more apparent that the presentation would, in fact, not be happening.
Now, this is no one’s fault in particular, but I felt like I needed to share my story and suggest that the Best Junior Handler, or a parent, or judge, can always ask the club for a presentation during Group judging.
I reached out to a handful of junior handlers to find out exactly where things went wrong. I asked them this: “As a junior handler, have you been offered a presentation in the past or do you take it upon yourself to do so yourself?” I was not surprised to hear that the majority of juniors are not offered the presentation and, for the most part, they take it upon themselves to ask the judge if they would be able to do so. Also a few juniors mentioned that they never thought about asking the judge, nor have they ever seen a presentation for BJH! I couldn’t believe it.
On the upside, a few juniors mentioned that in the past they were offered not only a presentation, but they held the BJH ribbon until the official presentation. I think that’s how it should always be!
Sadly, sometimes one voice isn’t enough. So I’m writing this blog to be a voice for every junior and young fancier out there who deserves his or her chance in the spotlight!
As if you didn’t know … Dogs Freakin’ Rule.