Today’s “Shows Closing” from Best In Show Daily includes just one event that closes within the next two weeks, and that is the 2013 iteration of the Westminster Kennel Club dog show. This closing is on a Friday instead of the usual Wednesday closing we’re accustomed to.
For a number of years Westminster’s entries closed the same day they opened, often within mere moments of the first entry being accepted. For 2013, of course, for the first time in decades, several aspects of the show have changed. First, instead of being limited to just champions, as it has been since 1992, this year’s show is open to class dogs as well. Second, for the first time since 1968, some of the judging will take place in a location other than Madison Square Garden IV, located in Manhattan on Seventh Avenue between 31st and 33rd Streets. Daytime judging – that is, all of the breed judging and Junior Showmanship preliminaries – will take place in 2013 at Piers 92 and 94, located at the West Side Highway and W. 55th Street, with Junior Showmanship finals, Group and Best in Show judging at the Garden in the evenings.
Fanciers should note that the Piers 92/94 location is by no means a low rent district. Events such as New York Fashion Week, New York International Bridal Week and the Architectural Digest Home Design event take place there, to name just a few.
Entries at Westminster have been limited for many years, as demand to be seen on the green carpet far outweighed the space available inside the Garden. This year, however, the limit is increased to the highest number ever, from 2,500 – established in 1941 – to 3,200 dogs. There are restrictions, however, on which dogs can be entered.
The top five champions in each breed or variety, based on dogs defeated at the breed level, from January 1, 2012, through October 31, 2012, are invited to enter, as are all National Specialty Best of Breed winners from that same time period. After that, other champions can enter, as can class animals that have at least one major win under their belts. Entries opened on November 16, 2012.
With the move to the Piers comes a return to traditional Westminster benching, with raised plywood platforms and signs marking where the breeds are located, which I think is terrific, since it helps spectators locate their favorite breeds more easily. Dogs must be on the bench at the Piers each day no later than 11:30.
Wondering how everyone is going to travel from the Piers to the Garden? Worry not. Westminster will provide buses from the three most popular hotels for dog folks around the Garden (the Hotel Penn, New Yorker and Affinia) to the west side. Buses that can carry dogs will start running at 5:30 a.m. – you can certainly tell that a dog person made that call! – and will run every half hour. The last bus that will accept dogs going to the Piers runs at 11 a.m., since all dogs have to be on the bench by 11:30.
Buses for spectators only will run from 11 a.m., on the half hour, until 2:30 p.m. Promptly at 3 p.m., buses for Best of Breed/Variety winners, their equipment and their people will leave the Piers and go to the Garden. The premium list says that, of course, winners will have priority on these buses and “additional passengers are subject to space availability.” You might think about just taking a cab back to your hotel when you leave the Piers in the afternoon.
All Best of Breed/Variety winners have to be on their benches in Madison Square Garden by 5 p.m.
Here’s my favorite part of what Westminster is doing to ease the pain of having to traipse all over Manhattan to show your dogs at the Garden, at least for the winners. Inside Madison Square Garden, the club will have a benching space, no doubt beautifully draped in purple and gold, for each breed’s winner. Each benching space will also include an appropriately sized grooming table, so that all exhibitors and handlers have to do is bring their dogs, their grooming tools and themselves. It’s a nice touch, but if you’re fortunate to be a winner, don’t try to sneak out with that table… it belongs to the club.
Other Odds and Ends
BISD will have many more reports on what will be happening in New York before February, but consider today a few additional things related to Westminster. If you want to advertise in the show catalog, the deadline is December 21, 2012. Details are on page 10 in the premium list.
Benching requests must be in by December 7, the same day entries officially close, at 3 p.m., and the premium list includes a form on page 18.
If you’re driving into Manhattan, there is daytime parking at Pier 92, but the premium list says for only 300 cars. There is “limited parking” on level one of Pier 92 for box trucks under 26 feet and large vans, and additional parking is available for all types of vehicles in the surrounding areas.
As regards tickets to get into the show at the Piers and at the Garden, several different options are available, all explained on the WKC website, including a “Go Anywhere Ticket” that will get you into the Piers for two days and reserve a seat for you at the Garden both evenings. The cost is $160.
It’s exciting to be thinking about the Garden! But we have the final shows of the year, the nail-biting Top Dog race and Christmas to get through yet, so be sure to get your entries and benching requests in, reserve your seats, and we’ll have more about the Garden for you after the holidays.