Last time we talked about the sort of “oops” trophies- the unusual, the less than ideal, etc. so now we have the great trophies.
Some of these trophies are great because of the event they represent. Polishing silver comes right below nail trims on an aggressive Chihuahua on my list of “fun things to do”. However, if that silver happened to be a big time trophy from Westminster I would be out buying special cloths and silver polish by the gallon.
In the meantime, most of us are thrilled to get a trophy from a breed specialty. High quality artwork seems to top the list of desired trophies. That could mean a beautiful print, etchwork or sculpture of some sort. My dogs have a growing collection of works by Jennifer Stewart – prints and a stunning hand painted vase for passing the VST at one National Specialty. For those who like the lighter side of things, a Mike McCartney piece would be a great trophy to bring home. A gift certificate for a custom portrait would also be a wonderful award.
Artwork does have the drawback of needing to be framed but most people cheerfully take on that cost. Of course, if your dogs are highly successful you may run out of wall space! Rotating photos and prints is always an option.
Useful items with the club logo are also high on my people’s lists. Embroidered crate or grooming table covers, towels for dogs or humans, tote bags. Karyn Cowdrey’s Wyld Creations provided beautiful embroidered items for the big Belgian Tervuren entry at the Louisville cluster. All of those items can be used but still proclaim your achievement.
Pottery and ceramic pieces are also wonderful trophies, especially if they can be used in “real life”. The piece might have your breed incorporated or it might simply represent your breed in some way – such as color. We were fortunate to win a couple of beautiful pieces by Carol Wolfram at our national in 2013. I admit we have not eaten off them or served anything on them yet but we could.
I have offered pottery for years at our local kennel club show for my breed, Belgian Tervuren. Art Baird of Acorn Pottery makes wonderful mugs, bowls, etc that can be put in the microwave or the dishwasher. I simply request “Terv color” and he delivers in rich mahogany tones with black or blue accents. I now get exhibitors calling ahead of time to request a bowl to finish off their set or whatever! People get a useful and beautiful award and I support a local craftsman. Win/win as far as I am concerned.
I don’t envy the artists asked to do trophies for a specialty however. What do you do when the breed has a number of colors or patterns? Do you try to incorporate all of them in your artwork? Do you go with the most popular colors? Silhouettes might work but a silhouetted Belgian Tervuren could be a Belgian Sheepdog. Sometimes an artist will do one piece of artwork for trophies and another for the specialty logo to go on things like t shirts.
In a breed like mine, there is a great deal of difference in appearance between dogs and bitches (or at least there should be :). So, what if you make the Best of Breed item with a dog and a bitch wins? I find bitch owners in general are still happy to take that trophy home. Dog owners aren’t always so happy when their dog goes Best of Opposite and ends up with a bitch trophy but most of them adjust. Maybe the BOS status bothers them more than the trophy itself!
Please share comments on photos on trophies that you absolutely love.