A Day At The Show

| April 1, 2011 | 4 Comments
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Kawai and Dawson At The 2010 AKC/Eukanuba Championships

Kawai and Dawson At The 2010 AKC/Eukanuba Championships

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Juniors Corner

Introduction (Toni Leitão)

When I first met Kawai she was just a little kid. Five years later a lot has changed. She is still just a kid through my aging eyes but she has grown into a fine young handler whose love for dogs is demonstrated every time she greets one of our dogs at a show. Kawai represents the future of our sport. She is being mentored by some of the finest handlers in the country like Tonya Struble of Rush Hill Golden Retrievers. It is such a pleasure to be around Kawai and her knowledge of the conformation ring is truly amazing given she is only thirteen. Kawai always reminds me that at the end of the day we go into the show ring for fun. Her happy-go-lucky attitude is quite infectious and always serves to calm my nerves before I enter the ring. So without further ado, Kawai is going to fill us in on one of her dog show days. Enjoy!

Getting Ready and Helping Out

When I wake up in the morning I feel this rush of adrenaline reminding me that it’s a Dog Show Day! Sometimes I’m happy and ready to go and sometimes I just don’t feel like getting up at all. But I love hanging out with my mom and friends! When we get to the show it’s always crazy trying to set everything up to groom dogs. And most of the time Labradors are on at 8:00 a.m. and so is Junior Showmanship. So, we always make sure to bring two tables to groom dogs so that we can have the dogs ready and up to the ring on time. When we get to the ring we get our number, see how many dogs are in front of us, and then we wait. Sometimes if we have more than two dogs in the same class we ask our friends to help us show them all. But most of the time we only have one or two dogs entered. Then we relax for a while until our next class. When breed competition comes we sometimes help our friends show their dogs because they have more than just one dog. However, we always lend a hand to other dog owners and the other dog owners always lend a hand back. Now, usually Junior Showmanship isn’t until noon, but most of the time it’s at 8:00 a.m.

So after Labradors we casually walk back to the setup and don’t have to rush to get back. When we get back, I usually start grooming my dog Dawson, my fluffy golden and my best buddy! After about 45 minutes of grooming, I pack up my ringside bag with bait (rollover or chicken), spray bottle filled with water, extra collar, and a drool rag! Once that’s all taken care of I head on up to the ring.

Junior Showmanship

Most of the time during show weekends, Junior Showmanship is usually in different rings each day. When I get to my ring, I get my number, see how many dogs are before my class, and then wait. While I’m waiting I usually talk to my friends. Because I’m thirteen, I am in the Open Intermediate class, which is the biggest class in Junior Showmanship. Each division of Junior Showmanship has a certain age group. Open Junior is ages 9-12 years, Open Intermediate is ages 12-15 years, and Open Senior is ages 15-18 years. There is also Novice Junior, Novice Intermediate, and Novice Senior. They have the same age groups as the Open classes, but to get into Open classes you have to get 3 wins in any novice class you are in.

In the Open Intermediate class there are anywhere from 10 – 25 kids. When the judge is ready for the next class the ring steward calls us in by our numbers and we go in and stack our dogs. Once everyone is in, the judge comes down the line and has a look at all of us. Sometimes a judge will move the bigger dogs in the front and keep the little dogs in the back; sometimes if the class is so big the judge may split the class into 2 different groups. When we all have gone around and come back, the judge will start with the individual stacking. Once the judge has finished going over the dog, the judge will have us do a pattern.

Some of the commonly used patterns they have us do would be a down and back, triangle, L, and or a T. The most common patterns that the judge uses would be the triangle and the down and back. After we have done our pattern and gone around to the end, we present our dog to the judge by free stacking them. Once the judge has Ok’d us, we go to the end of the line. After we get to the end of the line we wait until the last dog has gone, then we stack our dogs and wait to see what the judge’s results will be. Who will the judge place first, second, third, and fourth? If you win, you go back in for Best Junior. When you go back in for Best Junior you got to have your A game on and keep pushing to win. You really have to make the judge think hard about, “Who will be the winner?” Then if he picks you, you can scream, jump up and down, it doesn’t matter. All you know is that you won! If he doesn’t pick you then you go up to the winner and give your, “Congratulations.” Saying “Congratulations” is called having good sportsmanship. And when you walk out of the ring either win or lose, you should always be happy for others and have a smile on your face. Be proud of what you have accomplished. Even if you don’t win always be happy, because that’s what having fun is all about. After that I always take Dawson back to the setup and get him a nice drink of water. Once he’s done, I give him his breakfast, a big hug (for being a good boy), and then wait until it’s time to go home!

Category : Juniors Corner

About the Author ()

I am one of the founders and editor of Retriever Life. My passion is Labradors of all sizes and shapes but I am a big fan of all the retriever breeds.

Comments (4)

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  1. Lou says:

    great story.

  2. Mikey says:

    I’ve seen you in the ring and you always do a great job. Thank you for sharing your story. Keep up the good job.

  3. Shelah says:

    Excellent article on Jrs.

  4. Cindy says:

    Kawai, is a excellent JR handler and I love seeing her in the ring. keep up the good work

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