November 24, 2010

Experiences From Our First UKC Show

Just this past weekend Oliver and I attended an UKC (United Kennel Club) show. It was both Oliver and myself first ever UKC show and I was looking forward to it. I have to admit my (whole) first experience with an UKC has not been stellar.

Upon first spotting the upcoming event, I did some research and found it would be best to register your dog as soon as possible prior to attending a show. I did, I filled out the form to have Oliver registered with UKC. I even paid extra to have this application done within 10 business days so there would be ample time for me to mail in my entry form and a cheque. I don’t remember how much time had pasted when I received a letter from UKC asking me to send in photos of my dog. The breed stated ‘Belgium Shepard’. I emailed UKC with photos and asked that they correct the breed. I even attached another copy of Oliver’s application that clearly stated Oliver is indeed a Havanese. A short while afterwards, I received his registration papers in the mail and Oliver was listed as a ‘Belgium Shepard’. At this point, the show I wanted to attend was coming up fast and Oliver doesn’t have any more time to waste getting his registration certificate. They assured me, he would be able to use his current registration number and they would correct the breed. First hurdle was over, well, at least for now and until I receive his registration papers again.

With all the nonsense that happened with his registration number, I didn’t get to pre-enter Oliver. Therefore, I had to get up very early in the morning so I could leave by 6 AM in hopes of arriving at the show at 7:30 so I can enter Oliver on the day of the show. Hardly a soul was there at 7:30. I was able to enter Oliver for the two shows happening that day.

According to their mini-schedule they had online, the show should have started at 9am. Forty-five passed on by before the show got started. I had no idea which judges were in the show rings or when Havanese had to be in the ring. At first glance their handwritten schedule on two white boards was confusing and I couldn’t find the Havanese listed. When you approach the secretary’s area, that’s where I saw the correct judge and the number of Havanese listed. They were on the second half of the first show.

According to the mini schedule, the second show should have started about 11 am or a ½ after the first show ended. The first show didn’t end until sometime in the afternoon. Havanese were last again so that meant a whole lot of hanging around. I didn’t know if UKC did group wins or not so I didn’t know I could wait until you spot the groups being judged. That would have helped if I knew that during the first show.

As long as you waited for the group to happen, you could then somehow schedule your grooming time. With long hair breeds, there was no way you could just take your dog out of their crate and take them directly into a show ring. You have to brush that hair. Oliver wasn’t having a good hair day and it was noticeable. I did try to cover up my bad wash and blow dry job but it was very noticeable. Oh well. There is always tomorrow as the expression goes.

Going back to waiting around for groups to happen, that was one sure way to relax and watch in between your dog’s moment(s) in the ring. I even brought two books with me I borrowed from the public library, thinking I may want choices should I have some free time. I am very glad I brought some material to read. I was finding it hard to loose myself in my book because I was constantly being interrupted and then strained to hear what the ring steward was yelling about it. Keeping up with announcements was so much easier with the other ring steward who had a much lauder and clearer voice. All weekend, I really wish the other person would make announcements. Besides the catering booth, there was two vendors. Seriously, just two vendors. Mind you I purchased a lot from the one vendor because that just happened to be the ‘next time’ I saw them and had a list of items I wanted to get from them the ‘next time’ I meet up with them.

There wasn’t a lot of dogs at the show, a quarter of dogs I would normally see at any given small CKC show so the event so have moved quickly. The second show of the day didn’t start until 2pm and with Havanese being close to the last breeds being shown that day, I didn’t get to leave the building until about 6ish. After getting up at 5am in the morning and not being able to leave until 6pm, that all made a extremely long day for both Oliver and myself.

Many of the people were telling me how relaxed UKC shows are in comparison to CKC shows or AKC shows. In my opinion, I was finding my first ever UKC show to be very chaotic. I meet up with some other Havanese people who also were expressing similar complaints to mine about the show. They too had enough of this day and also wanted to go home. We were not having fun. I did seem to have fun showing my own dogs prior to this show. My two new friends were thinking the show was extremely disorganized and was moving along too slowly. At first I completely agreed with them but after some observations, I realized that the flow of the event was not completely due to the show being disorganized but rather was due to a whole lot of ‘lack of communication’. Everytime I was at the secretary desk at the show entering Oliver for another show that weekend, the secretary was completely organized. I seriously think communication between the people running the show and the exhibitors was the real problem.

The second day as promised did run smoother and faster. Again because the lack of communication was still there, me and another Havanese person almost missed our opportunity to show our Havanese in the ring because they didn’t stick to the pattern they were doing for the previous three shows that weekend. Again, lack of communication.

The nice thing about the second day was I was able to watch a lure coursing event where dogs run and chase a fast moving object around. The object is the fastest dog wins I guess but I didn’t look it up and I didn’t ask. I just enjoyed watching the dogs run around. I really enjoyed watching an Afghan hound run around with all her beautiful hair flowing about her. It was beautiful to watch her. She didn’t complete the course but she sure had fun running around and all who were there enjoyed watching her.

Oh yes, in addition to what people were saying in comparing UKC shows to CKC shows, they were saying how relaxed things were and how each other dogs’ could play with each other and how you would never see that at any CKC show. Ok, so you may not see that among handlers and their client dogs but I have often done that with my Havanese and my friends’ dog after dog shows. Why not, they are dogs and they too just want to have fun.

I think I covered everything about the weekend. Oh yeah, Oliver got a Group 3rd and a Group 1st placement in their companion group. Over all, having a double show at a ‘relaxed’ and (appeared to be) disorganized show made for a super long day. The first day, I didn’t have any fun. Second day, I really enjoyed watching the lure coursing event. With the wins Oliver gained so far, he almost has his UKC championship; I think Oliver and I will do this again just to earn the championship but end things there. I will also set up closer to the ring so I can hear the ring steward, and bring more reading material.

I ordered photos; photos are to come soon.

Secret Lives of Pretty In Pink Dogs

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