ALAC Specialty Week
Thursday and Friday, October 13-14
Thursday and Friday were great days for us. I don't mean to indicate that we walked away with lots of points and huge prizes, but the judges appreciated my dogs and that made me feel great. Many other spectators and exhibitors positively commented on them also—always an ego boost!
Early Thursday morning I spent money at ALAC's Ways and Means table buying a logo sweatshirt and a set of pewter Lhasa wind chimes. I was pretty sure I had room in the suitcase for both.
Other vendors included one who sold lovely Tibetan jewelry (I apologize for not recalling her name); Fran Strayer, who was selling beautiful Lhasa Apso note cards (I have so many of them mounted and framed and hanging on my walls or sitting on end tables. They are almost too cute to write on! If any of you are interested in the note cards, let me know, and I'll send you Fran's contact information); and Susan Giles with her array of Pawmarks items—brushes, combs, bands, water bottle holders, decorative items, crate pads and more! http://www.pawmarks.com/ is the website.
When the judging began, I enjoyed mentoring a judge who had come to the specialty to watch the Lhasas and to participate in Friday's Judges Education Seminar. She was knowledgeable, perceptive, and inquisitive about the Lhasa. She asked very good questions and kept me on my toes throughout the morning.
Diane stopped by again to chat and say good-bye before she and Leanne left for home. Her visit was short but very much appreciated as she has a great sense of humor and a joy of life that makes being with her fun.
Ms. Barbara Wood was the judge for Thursday's ALAC Midwest Regional Specialty. Walker was my first dog to be shown. He "won" the Veteran's class easily! (I say "won" and "easily" because once again he was the only veteran dog there.) Anyway, that win meant that he was eligible to participate in the Best of Breed competition. I had a dilemma…Raven had been moved up to Best of Breed, but unlike Tuesday, that meant I had two of them in the Breed competition. Unable to clone myself, I called on Karen for help.
All the Breed competitors had to go into the ring together for armband checks. Karen took Raven in and I took Walker. Then the bitch specials, the veteran (Walker), and Winners Dog and Winners Bitch were dismissed while the dog specials were judged. (Note to non-dog show readers: A "special" is a champion who is competing for Best of Breed.) After the dogs were judged and Ms. Wood made her cut, it was the bitch specials' turn to be judged. I took Raven in and was pleased when she made the cut. But now we had a problem! Which dog, Walker or Raven, should I show? I made a snap decision not to change armbands and gave Karen the nod to show Walker. I was nervous because never in his 9 years had anyone but me shown him. Well, you would not know that because he showed like a dream for Karen. We were both surprised and relieved. I thought there would be problems because in the line up Walker was at the end of the male specials and Raven was at the beginning of the bitch specials, meaning that she and I were in line right behind Walker and Karen. Neither dog seemed to care. They both showed their hearts out and I was so very pleased when Walker, the oldest champion in the ring, was singled out for the Select Dog Award and Raven, the youngest champion in the ring, was chosen for the Select Bitch Award! There were 25 champions entered that day. Raven's placement gave her 5 more points toward her Grand Championship. She now has 7 and needs 25, so I imagine I'll be showing her next year, trying to earn those other grand champion points.
Following the judging and the photos, which I will share with you once I get them, we all rushed to get our dogs' headfalls put up and then hurried back to our rooms to potty and feed the dogs so we could get to the annual meeting on time. Many important issues were slated for discussion. It was a bittersweet meeting for me because it was my last as the club's Vice President, a position I've held since 2004. However, I was nominated for a Board of Directors position and was elected to that position, so I'm happy to serve ALAC for another 3 years.
After the meeting, we again rushed to change clothes and don attire that had a southwestern flare so we could attend the annual awards banquet. I chose an outfit of brown and turquoise. The banquet food was expensive and rather blah, as food at these kinds of banquets tends to be. (Dessert was cheesecake and it was delicious!) But food is not the main reason we attend! The highlight of the banquet for me is always the Awards Slide Show. However, before the slide show began, our President Barbara Schwartz announced the winner of ALAC's first Member of the Year Award. She called my name! I was proud and humbled to receive such an honor. In addition to the plaque, I received an AKC medallion that was presented to me on a very special set of Mardi Gras beads chosen by LaVonne, Karen, and Jan. The plaque sits in a place of honor in my office. The beads hang from my rearview mirror, a reminder at least four times daily of the honor given me and of my friends' crazy sense of humor!
|Now hanging from my mirror|
Back to the Award Slide Show: Phyllis Misite once again outdid herself by compiling photos members sent to her of their 2010 champions and setting the slide show to music. My 2010 champions featured in the show were Zach, Ch. Joyslyn MLS Dakota Playboy at Heart, and Mira, Ch. Karlyn Joyslyn Who's the Fairest. Ch. Joyslyn Miss Cheevy-us, owned by Karen Schlais, was featured for earning her Register of Merit (Dam) Award.
The Awards Banquet ended with an auction unsurpassed in its hilarity as auctioneer Marsha Susag attempted to cajole members into bidding higher and higher on many beautiful items. She was successful! Everyone had a great time and a lot of laughs, and money was raised for the club. I basically sat on my hands the entire time, afraid that any movement would result in Marsha telling me I'd just bid $100 on something! LOL!!!
I honestly do not remember anything else about Thursday night except getting back to our room and changing into comfortable clothes. I was so tired that I fell asleep in the middle of a conversation with Marsha – and I only know that because she teased me about it the next day. Other evidence that I was wiped out: Marsha made caramel popcorn in the microwave and I slept through the popping, the aroma, and the eating! Unheard of!!!
Friday morning involved more rushing. The Judges Education Seminar and the ALAC Mentor training began at 7:30. I was involved with both. Members of ALAC who were interested in finding out more about our mentor program were invited to listen to the seminar presentation with the three judges who attended. When the PowerPoint presentation ended, and the judges were involved in the hands-on portion of the seminar, I went over the mentor guidelines with the interested members.
Suddenly, we all realized it was after 9:30 and that the judging started at 10:00! I sped down the hall to potty Raven and Walker and get them loaded on the cart to take to the ballroom. I spent the rest of the morning in the grooming area of the ballroom getting them groomed and ready to show while watching the judging. Friday's judge was Ms. Betty Leininger. I happened to glance at the judging schedule at one point and my heart leaped. I assumed (you know what they say about assuming…) that the veteran class would be judged at 1:00 as it had been on Thursday. Oh no…it was on the morning schedule following the Winners Bitch judging! Fortunately, Walker was close enough to being ready that the timing was not an issue for us; however, the owners of the other male veteran were under the same assumption as I and were in a panic since they bathed and had just begun to dry their dog! Some quick rescheduling was done, and we were able to show the veterans after lunch.
Walker had competition in the Veteran's class for the first time that week, and I was so excited when he won! Once again he and Raven would compete with 31 others entered in the Best of Breed competition. Although Karen and I had a strategy worked out, we did not need it since Raven did not make the cut. Walker showed his heart out though and was awarded one of the coveted Awards of Merit. When Walker's photo was being taken, the judge commented to me that she liked my bitch (Raven) but that she (Raven) was too small for her (the judge).
I'm including this photo of our rosettes for my friend Rebecca, who loves rosettes! The two light blue and white ones on the left are the Select Dog and Select Bitch rosettes. The small pink and green one and the two larger pink ones are the Veteran's class rosettes. The picture does not do justice to the beautiful black and turquoise rosette Walker received for being in the Top 20 competition. What you cannot see well is his name on it. The large turquoise rosette was Friday's Award of Merit rosette.
Now, back to the saga: Photos taken, it was time to pack up our grooming area, get back to the room and start packing clothing, dog supplies, and all the other "stuff" we'd gathered during the week, in preparation for leaving Saturday morning. I hung the rosettes from hangers in the garment bag to keep them from getting too wrinkled and then started sorting things that went in the suitcase, overnight bag, grooming tote, etc. I reluctantly turned down an invitation to dinner, thinking that if I took time to relax I'd never get the packing done. Later, LaVonne convinced me to take a break and to go to dinner with her, Jan, and Karen. As I looked at the piles and piles of things to be packed I wondered if I should go, but I finally decided some food, good conversation, and laughter was what I needed.
Evidently I was starving because when the waitress returned to our table to refill drinks, she looked at my empty plate and the nearly-full plates of my friends and commented, "Wow, you ate fast!"
After dinner, we arranged a time to meet by the van in the parking lot to begin the ordeal of packing the van for the trip home. We managed to get everything packed on Friday night except the dogs, their ex-pens, ourselves, and our overnight bags. Everything fit even more tightly because we were all taking home extra items, especially Jan! She'd been very lucky at Friday's raffle and won three huge baskets of goodies, including two lovely pieces of large pottery and an array of #1 All Systems grooming products. LaVonne took home some Green Bay Packers items from the raffle and won wine in the silent auction. Jan's winning streak continued as she came away with some lovely jewelry from the silent auction. Jan's an excellent packer and evidently good at jigsaw puzzles because somehow on Saturday morning her van-loading plan came together and all our things fit—barely!
Kudos to all who played a part in making the 2011 Specialty such a success. If I start a list, I am sure to omit someone, so I hesitate to do it. However, I want to mention Linda Jarrett, Show Chair; Sandy Devlin, Hospitality and Trophy Chair; Fran Kanipe, Obedience and Rally Chair; and Mary Jane Orrie, Advertising Chair. They, their friends in the area from other breed clubs, and a multitude of ALAC member volunteers all pitched in as needed and worked hard to make the 2011 National Specialty week fun and successful.
By the way, if you could not be there and want some idea of what happened, do not despair! Larry Bruton filmed Wednesday's ALAC Futurity and Friday's ALAC National Specialty. DVD's are available for $20 (Futurity) and $35 (Specialty) or both for $50. Prices include shipping. Larry is donating 10% to ALAC. To order contact Larry Bruton, 5406 SW Woods Court, Portland, OR 97221.
The story and photos from the trip home are yet to come.
Life is good when you have a Lhasa to love you!