Get a Better View

I have always liked heights. At the age of 3, I had to be rescued from my older cousin’s treehouse after scampering up into the older boys’ refuge when they vacated. I would spend part of my childhood in Colorado, climbing every rocky hillside I could. Later, I would be the only member of my construction crew that would sit in a swing dangling 100 feet above the ground to put a sprinkler pipe on a water tower. Why? Because the higher you climb, the more you can see.

We numbers nerds are a myopic bunch. We may have exchanged the green eye shades for a non-glare computer scene, but our focus is still much the same. We still sit up to the wee hours, staring unblinkingly at rows & columns of numbers. We bean counters also have a certain reverence for the calendar, dividing it up in neat little packages, making boring statistics more easily digested, like some shrink-wrapped, microwaveable, numeric Happy Meal. As I compiled this weekend’s numbers, I realized that it was the midyear point, the time to step back and climb up on some higher vantage point to see if I could make any sense of the numbers. Here’s what I can tell you.

We have an extremely close race on our hands this year. While our top three dogs all breeds have substantial leads on the rest of the field, virtually any dog in the top 15 could be in the top five by the end of the month. Our Number Four Dog All Breeds, the Kuvasz, GCH CH Szumeria’s Wildwood Silver Six Pence, trails the Number One Dog, the German Wirehaired Pointer, GCH CH Mt View’s Ripsnorter Silver Charm, by almost 19,000 points, but only leads the Number Eight Dog, the Wire Fox Terrier, GCH CH AfterAll Painting the Sky, by a little over 2,000.

It is not too late for a come-from-behind finish. I have written that the show season is front-loaded with several big shows in the first quarter. In fact, 11 of the 25 biggest shows are in the first three months of the year. However, the remaining 14 largest are in the second half of the season. While we have seen several weekends of 500-entry shows recently, there are lot of big numbers ahead. In fact, 11 of the top 25 biggest shows are slated for the next two months.

This weekend, the Channel City Kennel Club, the Santa Maria Kennel Club and the hometown Ventura County Dog Fanciers Association have drawn nearly 7,000 dogs to one of the prettiest venues in dogdom. In two weeks, the Houston Kennel Club, the Beaumont Kennel Club and the Galveston County Kennel Club will draw similar numbers to Houston, TX. The Spartanburg Kennel Club, the Hendersonville Kennel Club & the Greenville Kennel Club will do the same in Greenville, SC, a week later. The action will return to the West Coast in mid-August when the Olympic Kennel Club will draw almost 5,000 dogs to its two set on August 19 & 20 in Enumclaw, WA.

Finally, the real wild cards in this year’s race are the Space Coast Kennel Club of Palm Bay, the Brevard Kennel Club and the Central Florida Kennel Club, the warmups for the AKC’s big December dance in Orlando, FL, the AKC/Eukanuba National Championship. Last year’s return to Florida saw record numbers. I suspect that the numbers will get even larger now that AKC has expanded the space and the entry.

I am going to try to make it to as many of these contests as possible. I hope to see you there. Maybe we can find a high spot to hang out in. And that’s today’s Back Story.