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The clouds painted a grey, bleak backdrop across the show site of the Morris & Essex show. It was cool and overcast, the perfect weather for the ladies dressed in their favorite petticoats atop stunning dresses, all coordinated with a festive hat. Hair was slicked back for the men with a few top hats nestled upon the heads of proud owners and handlers.  After all, it was Morris & Essex, one of the most prestigious and formal shows of the year. No matter the results, one thing was certain: the spirit was high, and everyone was reveling in the Morris & Essex magic.

The show was delayed by 30 minutes, as competitors struggled to patiently wait their turn to enter and unload at the show grounds. With over 4,000 entries, the delay was no surprise to most!

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The contenders started the day off early with Best of Breed being awarded in hopes of continuing the magic into the evening groups. As at every show, the comradery amongst friends served as the overall ambiance, a sound that was music to any competitor’s ears. After all, they were all there for the same reason.

A few favorites started the day off winning the breed: Rubi the French Bulldog, piloted by handler Jodi Longmire (who won Reserve Best in Show just the day before), Rocket the Shih Tzu handled by Luke Ehricht, and the Boston Terrier Vinny, guided by Jorge Olivera. As in every competition, there were a few baffling moments as well: the stunned faces on the crowd provided answers as to the goings on in ring 1.

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Nevertheless, competitors carried high hopes for the remainder of the day and the weekend. The comradery never settled, and the magic never ended.

The evening competition began with the toy group. Peter Green awarded David Fitzpatrick’s Pekingese (GCH Pequest General Tso) a victorious Toy Group win, followed by the Pomeranian (GCH HiTimes What The Inferno), Toy Poodle (GCH North Well Vivian JP Rose Queen), and the Shih Tzu (GCH Hallmark Jolei Rocket Power).

Every handler in the ring  was dressed to the nines, and judges too. After all, it was an honor for them to judge at this prestigious show as well. The hustle and bustle continued as normal. Would Best In Show be judged in the dark again? Only time would tell as the groups continued.

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Mr. Klaus Anselm held the honors of judging the Working Group. He awarded the win to Doberman Pinscher Glory, (GCH Desperado’s Hallelujah CA CGC) followed by the Samoyed (GCH Pebbles Run Play It Again Ham), the Black Russian Terrier (GCH That’s What’s In A Name), and the Newfoundland (GCH Bear N Minds Code Of Honour).

Rubi (GCH Iacta Alea Est De La Bete) the French Bulldogwas awarded the win in the Non Sporting Group for the second day in a row, followed by the Boston (GCH Sabe’s Simply Invincible), Dalmatian (GCH Merry Go Round Coach Master), and Standard Poodle (GCH Gala Brighton Lakeridge Reflections Of Me). The judge, Mr. Johnny Shoemaker, took a brief second look at his final lineup before awarding his placements.

The fourth group in was the herding group. Elaine Paquette guided her Bouvier (GCH Stonepillar’s Steel Blu) to a group win. Linda Moore then placed the Sheltie (GCH Jesstar Nirvana), Border Collie (GCH Majestic Elite Clever Endeavor PT) and Old English Sheepdog (GCH Bugaboos Bop To The Top).

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The sun began to set as the fifth group entered the ring. The sporting group was full, not a single breed missing, or so it seemed. A steady drizzle broke through the clouds, casting a fresh shimmer upon the grass. Nevertheless, with umbrellas in one hand and a catalog in the other, the spectators and exhibitors never strayed from their spirit.

The German Shorthair Pointer (GCH VJK-MYST Garbonitas California Journey), handled by Valerie Atkinson, was given the group win by Karen Wilson. She also awarded placements to the Black Cocker (GCH Ashdown’s Time To Thrill), Weimaraner (GCH Docs Greyborn North Star Of Acadia), and the German Wirehair Pointer (GCH Mt Views Ripsnorter Silver Charm).

Darkness slowly crept upon the competition as the Hound group entered. What would a grand entrance be without the sultry sound of a bugle horn! This time it was the Black & Tan Coonhound Moses (GCH Bayaway Jersey Due Process Of Law) shown by Zach Helmer, who won the group. Following Moses was the Whippet (GCH Sporting Field’s Shameless), Saluki (GCH Aurora’s The Song And Dance Man), and Afghan Hound (GCH Jakar’s An Affair Most Wicked). The rain continued, dampening the air but never the spirit within the competitors.

Finally, it was time for the Terrier Group. Gabriel Rangel led the way with the Scottish Terrier (GCH Round Town Queen of Hearts of Maryscot), followed by Colored Bull Terrier (GCH Notorious Never Say Never), Westie (GCH Lotrando Sunshine Celebration), and the Border Terrier (GCH Meadowlake Dark Side Of The Moon). Mr. Desmond Murphy had the privilege to judge the group.

Best In Show was held under lights, as the seven competitors assembled in front of judge Dorothy Collier. One by one, she evaluated each of the seven dogs, sending them down and back and then one final lap around the ring. Upon the completion of her evaluation, it was time to choose the winner, to share the Morris & Essex magic and award another champion whose name would be forever in history books! Would this year’s winner be a Terrier, the largest group with an entry exceeding 1,200? Or would she choose the Shorthair, whose grace and poise accentuated “breed standard.”  

Before awarding the final placements of the day, Mr. Wayne Ferguson, President of the Morris & Essex Kennel Club, spoke a few words. He began by thanking the exhibitors for showing and attending this prestigious event. Mr Ferguson continued to share that the Morris & Essex 2015 was the second largest dog show in American history.

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Then it was Dorothy Collier’s turn. She was accompanied by club members who carried the silver trophies to be awarded to the winner. Ms. Collier also thanked the exhibitors for attending. She first awarded her Reserve Best In Show to the German Shorthair Pointer (GCH VJK-MYST Garbonitas California Journey). Best In Show was awarded to the Pekingese (GCH Pequest General Tso), whose handler David Fitzpatrick had won this prestigious award in 2010.

As the day faded away, few were left standing, witnessing a piece of history. Others brushed out dogs and packed away leads, while a select few packed the cars and headed to the next show. At the end of the day, it was all about the dogs, and at the end of the day only one can be crowned Best In Show, a living legend for all future Morris & Essex shows. The magic in the air subsided as the day ended. Tomorrow was another day, the countdown to the next Morris & Essex show.

Please view this Article in our November Digital Magazine for more images.