Newsletter - Volume 2. Issue 12
Many Shows - Too Few Shows
Are there really too many shows? Are there really too few shows? The answer to both these questions is YES.
For the purists in our sport the claim is too many shows means fewer dogs in competition and that reduces the requirements for a championship and the quality of our champions. This is very doubtful since we would still have the same dogs in competition whether the entries are larger or smaller.
However, on the other side of the coin, having fewer shows would undoubtedly mean larger entries and place many clubs in much better financial status. Many clubs today with shrinking entries are having difficulty in making ends meet. Entries are shrinking together with diminishing registrations and it all shows up on the bottom line of financial statements of the AKC, the clubs, superintendents and everyone else connected to the business of dog shows.
There ARE some answers to this dilemma. Believe it or not, back-to-back shows in whatever form make for larger entries and they make it easier on clubs. Once a year, one set of judges and expenses and the bottom line begins to look much better with only half as much effort for the second show. Superintending prices are made lower due to one trip to the show site instead of two single trips for the year. Another solution is more cluster shows. They increase entries and reduce costs of judges, facilities, etc. Almost all clusters are successful in achieving those ends.
One of the very large problems we have today is there are too many clubs chasing too few dogs. The 200-mile area limit, because of super highways and ease of travel, is not restrictive enough to protect clubs from competition. However, to make a change at this late date would cause a great uproar. It would be very unfair to inform certain clubs they would have to change their show dates. Wow! I cant even begin to imagine the outcry this would precipitate. There are answers and the problems can be resolved, but it will take leadership and cooperation from the AKC Board, the clubs and all others concerned to bring about a satisfactory conclusion.
At MB-F we are very much aware of the too many shows/too few dogs problem. We are collecting data and preparing computer programs to help alleviate this problem. Within the next several weeks we hope to have enough data, with programs for clubs, to enable them to forecast the size of entries relative to the time of year and the competition they will face on any given weekend.
Heres a sample: In 1997 there were 1,553,669 entries in conformation classes at 1295 all-breed shows. Simplistically, if you divide the number of entries by the number of shows you arrive at an average of 1246 entries per show. In some areas of the country entries are larger and in others they are smaller than this average, probably based on local population figures. We also know that certain areas have larger purebred dog populations.
We know, from experience, the Northeast, the Mid-West, California and the Southern Tier of states are the main centers for dog shows. We can further divide these areas, using our mail files, into total dogs available to any zip code and further use those figures to estimate the number of dogs available as possible entries from any distance we specify.
This is how decisions can be made regarding clusters and back-to-back shows. It stands to reason that two shows now in competition can increase both their entries by joining forces on the same weekend and drawing entries from a larger base. The same logic applies to back-to-back shows in lesser-populated areas.
We hope to reap many other benefits for all concerned from working on this database. Superintendents can help lower costs in many instances, which in turn relates to more income to clubs and stable entry fees to exhibitors. As we have found in the past, each new development we are able to apply to our systems and to the dog business as a whole, always leads to more and better things in the Sport of Dog Shows.
As to the problem of too FEW shows it is very real.
We depend upon new blood coming into our sport each year. Without it we shall wither and die. The anti-dog groups will perpetuate their drives and we, in our smug cocoons, will stand by with indifference and watch it happen. We will not have enough of a voice to make a difference.
We have to create interest in local clubs and shows with matches or licensed small shows which the public will find to be fun and easy to reach. When real interest is attained new exhibitors will travel longer distances.
All this begins with registrations. The American Kennel Club should immediately begin sending to every applicant the local club secretaries addresses and introductory material about local clubs with the mailing of every registration form. Matching club zip codes to applicant zip codes is a simple step in this direction. Computers are wonderful machines if they are programmed to help make worthwhile things happen.
Clubs should start membership campaigns. The AKC should notify clubs of newly registered dogs and owners in their areas. The clubs should contact those individuals directly. Clubs should offer free tickets for newcomers to attend their shows and their meetings. They should send premium lists and invitations to dog owners to join their clubs. Superintendents help by furnishing posters and supplies offered by sponsors, etc. Clubs should provide the newcomers with the proper information regarding responsible ownership. They should make information on their training and handling classes available to all newcomers.
There is no end to what can be done if we work together as teams of dog lovers interested in our sport. We must always be optimistically planning for the future and forgetting the wrongs of the past while learning from them.
If the leaders at AKC, all dog clubs, all judges, all superintendents, all handlers, all exhibitors and all dog publications begin working together to improve the sport rather than following their own political ambitions it will happen. If not, we will enter the new millennia with the same old problems, the same old politics and a dying sport.
WAKE UP! Start now to make the changes necessary to improve the problems of our past and our present or it will be too late. The year 2000 is the day after tomorrow and resting on our laurels is a step backward. Its a proven adage that in any endeavor, If you are not moving forward you are surely falling behind.
Good in Our Small World
There have been many times during the course of interviews for publications or TV that I am invariably asked about the amount of travel undertaken in the performance of my job. Many past years have seen me gone 34 or more weekends out of the year - that means working in the office from Monday to Friday and travelling from Friday to Monday those weeks.
The next question is about the wonderful sites we see at the places we visit. What we usually see is the highway from the airport to the show site and the road from the show site to the motel and then the reverse once the show is over.
While we work many seven-day weeks and 12 to 14 hour days there is nothing quite like knowing there isnt a city across this country that we can go where someone does not know us individually or by MB-F association. We continually use that Isnt it a small world? phrase in a meaningful way.
The beginning of October brought about another incident. Those regular readers of the MB-F Newsletter and my longtime friends know I am now into my second term on the Board of Directors of the NC State Veterinary Medical Foundation. Ive been very active with the Vet School for a number of years, as has MB-F. One of the things we do, as many of you know, is an endowed scholarship.
About four years ago the terrific idea came about to have a luncheon where the donors of scholarships and the recipients of those scholarships could have a social time together - to meet, to learn about each other, to experience first-hand the value of both the scholarship and the student and to enjoy fellowship with each other. The luncheon is held on the grounds of NC State, adjacent to the Vet School, at the Faculty Club in early October.
This year our scholarship was awarded to a young woman. She has wanted to be a veterinarian since she was about seven or eight years old. Realizing the difficulties in getting accepted into Veterinary School she applied during her junior year of undergraduate school. She was accepted! What a feat to accomplish! Now she is in the process of finishing her last year of college while doing her first year of Vet School - to the tune of 21 hours. She will receive her undergraduate degree next May if she is able to keep on track.
During the course of her telling of her appreciation of the scholarship and how she is able to use it we discussed MB-F, what we do, etc. She asked many questions and mentioned her parents were looking for a Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier. I asked where her parents lived and she gave me the name of a town in Pennsylvania we are familiar with because it is (naturally) close to a show grounds. I told her that, as a matter of fact, I would be at the Devon show the coming weekend at the horse show grounds; she said her parents live about 10 minutes from there. I told her there would be many Wheatens there and she should get in touch with her folks and tell them to come out to the show. Theyd certainly have a chance to talk with Wheaten enthusiasts and see many specimens of the breed. And, if they couldnt get to Devon that the largest Terrier show in the world would be the next day on the Ambler campus at Temple University.
After lunch we said our good-byes and I wished her well in her studies. I came back to the office, finished packing for the shows and left the next morning.
I met our additional personnel in Pennsylvania and we proceeded to have a dog show. We were busy, as usual, at this show and at one point during mid-morning a nice-looking couple came to the desk and asked for me. I said, Yes, thats me. They stuck out their hands; told me their names. They were the parents of our young student. They said they just wanted to stop by and thank us for the scholarship their daughter received. They expressed they just didnt know how she would have made it without that additional help. What a nice gesture! They certainly made us feel we were accomplishing what we wanted with the scholarship. We chatted a bit more then they went off to see the Wheaten judging.
Well, what are the odds of this one? A nice lunch, an aspiring veterinarian AND maybe a new exhibitor in our sport! Small world, huh?
October 13, 1998
To Whom It May Concern:
As you know, the MB-F Dog Show Organization is in the business of superintending dog shows. We are licensed by the American Kennel Club and have been in this business for nearly 100 years. Each year we produce and manage more than 700 all-breed and specialty shows and process approximately 750,000 entries.
We have always prided ourselves on our reputation for being an ethical, progressive company, always on the lookout for ways to improve both our service to clubs and the fancy and improvements that can be made that will benefit the sport.
The Foley branch (under several names) of MB-F handled The Westminster Kennel Club show from 1928 through 1979. The MB-F organization has handled the event since 1994. Since MB-F has been handling the show entries have closed in record times each year; some years all breeds are represented; some years not.
October 13, 1998
We are doing nothing differently for the closing of entries for this show than we do for the closing of entries for the hundreds of other shows we close entries for during the year. There are strict rules set forth by The Westminster Kennel Club regarding the acceptance of entries, however, basically, we are closing entries as we do for any other show.
The closing of entries for ANY show is a duty this company takes very seriously. If WE make a mistake we rectify it. And, considering the number of entries we deal with on a yearly basis, the error rate is very low. There are many exhibitors out there who deal with us on a regular basis who can relate the reliability of this organization. We are licensed by the American Kennel Club to conduct business as a superintendent and American Kennel Club rules and regulations bind us. If we violate those rules we run the risk of a reprimand, fine or suspension of our license. We do not treat rules and regulations cavalierly, although there are many exhibitors who continually want us to break those rules and regulations to get what they want.
There seem to be people within the sport who for their own private reasons choose to stir up controversy regarding the processing of entries for The Westminster Kennel Club. Each year we are subjected to threats, bribes, impugning of our character and a myriad of insinuations and accusations. During such a set of circumstances this year I made the remark that anyone could view this operation. Well, the floodgates opened! The Board of Directors of MB-F has met and considered this remark and states the policy below:
This is an organization that has been in business for nearly 100 years. We are entrusted by kennel club officials to produce and manage more than 700 all-breed and specialty shows each year. These kennel clubs rely upon our expertise and our reputation in the conduct of the business of their show.
While the processing of entries during a closing is not mysterious and is very routine, the entries into a show are treated as confidential until the availability of the shows catalog on the day of their event. In some instances, once entries are closed, certain news releases may be made by the club regarding such entries.
The interests of the clubs regarding the confidentiality of their entries and the correct processing of their entries are more important to us than the sniping attacks of the various disgruntled entities.
The interests of our clubs would not be served by having to constantly watch over various members of the press to insure they would not have access to information regarding who was entered that could be leaked to any person or publication prior to the time the club makes their announcements regarding their show. Our employees know their jobs are at stake should any entries be tampered with, handled in any irregular way that would benefit one exhibitor over another, or if any information regarding any entry is given out prior to the clubs designated release date.
No such deterrent exists for any unscrupulous visitor.
Regardless of what is certain to be written about us, we are not willing to take the chance that the trust placed in this organization by our clubs regarding the handling of their shows is jeopardized. Our obligation is not to the various critics. Our obligation is to serve the clubs and the sport. The clubs believe we are doing so; we believe we are doing so.
For these reasons there will be no outside observers present during the closing of entries for ANY show.
Sept. 21, 1998
I understand that Dog News in August ran an article (or articles) unfavorable to the AKCs Canine Health Foundation. Scottish Terrier Club of Americas Health Trust Fund submits our experience with CHF for the review of your readers. I hope you will publish this letter in Dog News, perhaps even in the Montgomery County issue.
First, Dog News readers should know that in June, 1998, AKCs Canine Health Foundation chose 25 research projects and two educational programs to receive more than $1 million this year. Recipients are 15 veterinary schools and research institutions. This action alone is truly significant!
Now, let me relate our clubs experience with AKCs CHF. The Scottish Terrier, Cairn and Westie health foundations have worked since mid 1997 toward a joint research project to develop a DNA test for craniomandibular osteopathy (CMO), a painful genetic disorder involving growth of the jaws of some puppies.
Thanks to CHF, the CMO project is now a reality! It is AKC Canine Health Foundation Grant #1614, Development of a DNA-Based Diagnostic Test for Craniomandibular Osteopathy of the Cairn Terrier, West Highland White Terrier and Scottish Terrier Breeds, with primary investigator being Dr. Patrick Yenta, Michigan State University.
Our three Terrier clubs first located a genetic researcher (Dr. Yenta) who was interested in CMO, then collected the DNA samples he required from affected dogs and relatives. Dr. Yenta submitted his proposal to CHF last November. In June CHF granted him two-year funding at $30,000 per year. CHF is providing $15,000 per year to match the $15,000 per year each of our three Terrier foundations pledged. Total funding is $60,000.
The Canine Health Foundation does so much more than raise money. Equally important to CHF matching funds for CMO research is the other help we receive from CHF. Without CHFs many services, it would have been difficult for our three clubs to launch this project. It wasnt just matching funds we needed. We needed CHFs expertise with researchers! CHF determined the scientific merits of our CMO research through use of expert peer reviewers, let contracts, and will oversee research.
Our own Scottish Terrier Club of America Health Trust Fund, a 501 (c) 3 foundation, was established in 1994, the year before CHF. The Terrier CMO project is STCA HTFs first research venture. In addition to the $10,000 our Health Trust Fund sent to CHF in August for the Scottie share of CMO research, I am proud that HTF, and the STCA itself, during the last year each have donated an additional $1,000 for other CHF research.
We are finding that a health foundation like ours is a wonderful way to unite pet owners with fanciers. Much of our support is coming from Scottish Terrier pet owners who do not belong to our national club. We also are finding that the more Scottish Terrier owners hear about our current and future work, the more supportive they are with contributions. This same phenomenon obviously is occurring with AKCs CHF. The more CHF does, the more it can do.
AKCs CHF is one of the truly positive happenings for dogs this century. It is doing a remarkable job to improve the health of all dogs. We urge clubs, fanciers and pet owners to contribute to their breed clubs health foundations and to AKCs Canine Health Foundation.
Has your Club elected a New Secretary?
Has your Secretarys address changed?
Be sure to notify us, so your delivery of the
MB-F Newsletter wont be interrupted.
Contact us by mail:
PO Box 22107
Greensboro, NC 27420
or by E-mail:Fun and Games
by Sonia B. Shaw
Troy Kennel Club
What little newspaper coverage dog shows manage to receive appears on the sports page and not on the political page. The dictionary defines a sport as a diversion, a game or recreation. All of which would seem to point to dog shows as fun and games. However, this fact seems to have escaped the vast majority of the current exhibitors.
The very concept of the shows evolved as a showcase for breeders, giving them an opportunity to exhibit the results of their breeding programs. Winning or losing was not as important as being at the show to compare dogs and being able to evaluate the good and bad within certain lines. In the days of the bench shows ideas were exchanged, problems discussed, breedings planned, and a whole world of knowledge and general know how absorbed. Whether for better or worse, the bench show is almost a thing of the past and with them they may have taken the very essence and meaning of the dog show.
The current crop of exhibitors have, for the most part, been in dogs for a relatively short time. These exhibitors, accustomed to the unbenched shows, have turned our sport into a vast political arena. They arrive at the show an hour prior to their judging, excessively groom their dogs (this should have been done at home), have their moment in the ring and then spend the rest of the day running in circles, politicking. This judge must be made aware of who is showing the dog, that judge must be told that only a major is needed to finish; another judge must be reminded of a drink bought four months ago. How can there possibly be any time left to enjoy the show, to watch the judging or to see to the wants and needs of the crated dog?
To put it plainly and bluntly, to these exhibitors it is not a sport, a game or even fun. It has become a matter of life or death and winning, at any cost, is most important in their lives. I honestly doubt that any of them know the pure pleasure and joy of owning a pure-bred dog To them their dogs are an extension of their egos and these ever hungry egos must be fed every week end, come hell or high water. These poor misguided souls must be made to see just what they are missing, and more importantly, what they are doing to our sport.
The truly dedicated breeder-exhibitor is far more concerned with what he or she is producing than with the amount of wins. There are far more losers than winners at every show, but just to have been there, to have shown to the best of your ability and to have chatted with friends and exchanged ideas should be reward enough. THIS is the whole concept behind exhibiting at a dog show! It was fun, it can be fun and somehow we all must strive to bring back the so-called good old days as far as the wonderful spirit of the dog show is concerned.
Somewhere I read years ago When it means too much to win and it hurts too much to lose, its time to quit. Somehow, that statement sums up the whole matter very nicely.
Pre-Show Judges Dinners are becoming a thing of the past being replaced by a variety of activities for exhibitors and club members. Three years ago, Trenton Kennel Club replaced its Judges Dinner with a pre-show dinner on the show site. The pre-show dinner is advertised in the Premium List as well as in letters sent to all Specialty and Supported-Entry clubs, who are encouraged to hold meetings, auctions and even breed seminars at the dinner.
Trenton Kennel Club is fortunate to have an ideal location for its Pre-Show Dinner in the enclosed, Olympic-sized ice skating rink. Reservations for the dinner are due to our dinner coordinator, Gayle Roberson, on the closing date of our show. For only fifteen dollars per person, guests are offered a buffet of three entrees, a variety of vegetables, rolls, desserts and beverages. The buffet is served from five to eight in the evening, and dress is very casual. One special touch designed by Gayle is to have the breed clubs attending submit their logo, which is transferred onto placemats via computer.
Our Pre-Show Dinner continues to grow in popularity with each successive year.
Share with our readers your club and what makes it special. Give us some club history, number of members, what you do in your community, charitable activities, special things you do during your show to make it the best day possible. If you have photos to illustrate ~ GREAT! (Be sure to clearly identify and provide a name and address for their return).
Send your article to:
Club Spotlights MB-F Newsletter P.O. Box 22107 Greensboro, NC 27420The Old Dog Show
e-mail sent in by Sheila Dunn, Double "D" Bulldogs
He always knows - no matter how quietly you get out the leashes, how you smuggle the show bag out to the car, youre going to a dog show and he knows it.
He sits beside the cabinet where the show gear is stowed as you bustle about attending to the last minute details. His ears flat, a hopeful gleam in his eyes, he looks at you . It is as close as he will come to begging.
You pause for a moment to rub behind his ears, guilty at leaving him and you think back......
Remember how it was not so terribly long ago, when show dog meant just you and him, striking out in the early morning before the sun came up to burn away the fog?
Everything was bright and new and life was simple. He was the most beautiful dog in the world - before you learned about angulation and side gait. And your goal then was a ribbon, maybe blue. And now its points and titles, anything less is an expensive disappointment.
Once you took pride or found fault in your own performance (before you became the savior of the breed), feeling duty-bound to monitor the strivings of others. Politics once applied only to elected officials.
Would you go back again? Maybe not. You move on - its nearly time to go. He gets up to follow you from room to room - age and arthritis narrowing his limits. You tell him that he will have to stay home, and turn away before his tail droops slowly to the floor.
And so you leave. You see his head at the window as you drive away. Always remember the nobility of his character and the trust in his eyes, and vow never to do anything to dishonor him - your old show dog. - author unknown
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In this months issue of our Newsletter we would like to spotlight two of our officers and superintendents, whom many may have spoken with via phone or seen behind the desk at a show. Here are our Executive Vice-President in charge of the Madison Heights office and our Vice-President/Corporate Secretary.
Guy Walton became affiliated with the company, when it was known as Moss-Bow, in the fall of 77. In August of 1979 he was made a Vice President and put in charge of the Madison Heights, MI office.
A native of Pittsburgh, PA, he has lived in Denver, CO, Tampa and Miami, FL and Michigan.
His first dog was the family American Eskimo Spitz. At the age of six he became attached to an Irish Setter and has maintained an affection for that breed ever since. He purchased an Irish Setter in Denver in 1960 and began showing and breeding. Later he also became interested in Whippets and both breeds have been shown under his Gladewyn prefix.
Guy is a US Army veteran and has degrees in Zoology and Psychology and was listed among Whos Who in American Colleges and Universities in 1959. His work background includes pathology research and an executive position with a veterinary equipment company for the 10 years prior to his joining Moss-Bow. He is a contributing member of the Zoological Society of Florida and belongs to many Fraternal organizations.
Past club affiliations have included the Miami Obedience Club, Puerto Rico Kennel Club, Irish Setter Club of America and the Southeastern Professional Stewards Association of which he is a life time member.
Guys other interests include researching Gorillas and Lemurs, visiting zoos, homeopathic medicines/remedies, collecting plates and prints, gourmet cooking, visiting flea and antique markets.
Another of our superintendents who grew up in the dog business came to MB-F as Director of Publishing of Dog Lovers Digest, a magazine published by the then Moss-Bow organization from 1969 until it was sold in 1973. She came to us with experience in both magazine publishing and the dog business. She has been a licensed superintendent since January of 1970.
She attended the University of Florida where she majored in journalism. Before that she worked with her father, Tom (then a professional handler), at their kennel in Ohio. She has owned Toy and Miniature Poodles, an Afghan Hound, (which were shown), plus an Irish Terrier, Bull Terrier and Doberman Pinschers.
She was assistant editor of the PGAs magazine, The Professional Golfer, until the PGA moved to the East Coast of Florida in 65. At that time Dorie moved to New York City, where she worked in the Professional Examinations Division of The Psychological Corporation. She was offered the position of administrative assistant to the President of Gralla Publications, a well-known publisher of trade magazines, where she remained until her move to Greensboro.
While with Dog Lovers Digest she put together the DLD Learning Experience, which also launched the AKC seminars held throughout the country since that time. The magazine also received a Dog Writers Association Award for Best Article for a piece presented in DLD.
She is currently serving her second term on the Board of Directors of the NC State Veterinary Medical Foundation and is on the Professional Handlers Certification Board.
While Show Business has been a major part of her life, she has also become involved with that other Show Biz as a result of her teen-aged daughter, Bries, budding career as a model, actress and writer. Of everything, Dorie is most proud of Brie and her daughters many accomplishments.
(Some of the most frequently asked questions answered by our superintendents)
Q: I received my acknowledgment for the show and I think the class is incorrect. What can I do?
A: We must look at your original entry form. If we input the class incorrectly we can change to whatever class is on the entry form. If we input the class as it appears on the entry form, it cannot be changed.
Q: My dog is now a champion! When may I start using the title?
A: While you may enter the Best of Breed class with your next entry you may not use the CH title on your dog until you receive your confirmation certificate in the mail. It would also be a good idea to confirm with AKC Event Records that you do have the required number of points/majors, just to be on the safe side. We often see exhibitors enter Best of Breed for several shows only to find out they are one point shy.
Q: Im confused about the Veterans Class. At some shows I see them judged before Best of Breed and then the winner goes into Best of Breed, while at other shows I see them judged after Best of Breed. What gives?
A: You will find your answers in the clubs premium list. The Veterans Class is normally a non-regular class involving a single dog entry and is judged prior to Best of Breed. The winner of the Veterans Class is eligible to compete in Best of Breed by virtue of having won the Veterans Class. However, clubs also have the option of having a Special Attraction Veterans Class. This class is judged after Best of Breed has been awarded and usually the winner then goes on to compete in special Veteran Groups or competes in the Best Veteran in Show competition.
The definition of the Veterans Class as it appears in the premium list is your key. The other variable is if a club is having a Special Attraction Veterans Class and has Specialty Clubs offering the usual Veterans Class as part of their Specialty. This would be noted as exceptions in the definition of the Special Attraction. If the Veterans Class is a Special Attraction Veterans Class MB-F usually prints the definition in the judging schedule as well for the convenience of the exhibitor.
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Information | Winners and Bragging Rights
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