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Samoyed and Puppy of the Year 2001

This sixth annual event took place on Saturday, 17th November 2001 at a new venue, the Novotel Nottingham/Derby. There was a real clamour for tickets at the last minute and eventually 104 people attended with 40 dogs taking part. One of the committee members, Linda Divers provided some super decorations for both the hall and the tables, enhancing the room with the Society's colours of red and white and pictures of previous winners. She also made some fantastic free standing furry Samoyeds, which were later sold by sealed bids.

Back as MC again this year was Gerald Mitchell, now well recovered from his illness. As the event unfolded, Gerald gave a rolling commentary on each dog, complete with humorous information on their likes and dislikes, and kept us all entertained with his quips.

The "surprise" judge of this year's event was not revealed until the stroke of 5pm. Then, John L. Ronald from the USA entered to the sound of a fanfare. The seated guests were then told of his background; John had in turn served as both President and Treasurer of the Samoyed Club of America. Currently, he is the SCA's delegate to the American Kennel Club. He has served in this capacity since 1986 .

Samoyed of the Year 2001, Ted and Jane Hughes's Ch. Syanaria Phantom, pictured with judge John L Ronald (USA)
and Runner up, Jennifer and Eileen McWilliams' Ch. Roybridge Strike it Right of Istramac

He also chairs the AKC's delegate committee for Strategic Planning .It would seem that for four generations, John's family have owned and bred Samoyeds. John had the honour of being the Breed's Top Owner Handler in the United States whilst showing Am.Can.Bah. Ch. Polarmist Dr. Pepper. Dr. Pepper was also one of the breed's Top Sires in the US. Accompanying John was his wife Kathy, who keenly watched the proceedings from the top table. From the outset it was obvious that John Ronald was the consummate professional. He was just charming, putting both handlers and dogs immediately at their ease and he fully entered into the spirit of the event.

He found his Puppy of the Year in Dot and Alex Reid's Zamoyski Lucky Celebrity of Solnanda. Runner up was. Gill Lewis's Zamoyski Lucky Charlene at Hillvalley, 3rd Celia. Hughes's Calsam Another Dream and 4th Paul and Jane Farrington's Zamoyski Lucky Chantelle of Amerige (three puppies from one litter in this line up). After the Puppy celebrations, we sat down to dinner, during which our NSS Auctioneer, or Chairman Ray Taylor, proceeded to extract money out of everyone's pockets.

There were some wonderful items donated for auction this year. Kay Pyecroft had painted and donated an endearing painting of two puppies. There was a cappuccino coffee maker, Samoyed jacket, dog perfume, snow babies model, Samoyed salt and pepper pots from New Zealand, a hand made sweater from Ireland, brandy, and many other items. Jane Farrington had painted a beautiful Samoyed head study, which she donated especially to be auctioned for Breed Rescue.

Samoyed Puppy of the Year 2001, Dot and Alex Reid's Zamoyski Lucky Celebrity of Solnanda.

This fetched the magical sum of 100. For the raffle later, the hotel had even donated a free weekend. Immediately after dinner came the presentation of the Society Gold Medal Award. This is awarded to the person or dog who has given outstanding service to the Samoyed Breed. Again, another well kept secret. This year it was presented by our President, Kath Mitchell, to Mrs. Beryl Grounds. I know that Beryl had no idea that this was to be presented and was extremely touched and deeply honoured.

Mr. Taylor told of Beryl's background. She was given her first Samoyed at the age of two years. When she Geoff and they married, both agreed they must have a dog, not just any dog but a Samoyed. They bought Rainee of Kobe in 1962 and eventually Ch. Whitewisp Lunar Module came along in 1969. He was to sire ten Champions. Beryl is the Samoyed Breed Liaison Officer, an office she has held since 1986.

She is also President and Chairman of the Samoyed Owners' and Breeders' League and a Breed Correspondent for a dog newspaper. She wrote sections of the Samoyed Association's book, "The Samoyed" in 1971 and 1995. Additionally, she wrote a section on the breed in the International Dog Encyclopedia.

Together with husband, Geoff she wrote "All about the Samoyed" in 1998. Beryl has led seminars for Judges and organised examinations, and conferences on health. She has judged the breed at Championship level since 1973 and judged Crufts in 1991 as well as judging the breed in six countries.

In a tribute speech, Mrs. Mitchell acknowledged Mrs. Beryl Grounds to be a very worthy recipient of this prestigious award. Fanfare Next came the main competition and as the introductory fanfare was played the excitement mounted.

There were some stunning dogs and bitches competing against each other and some very difficult decisions were made by our judge. However, his final choice for Samoyed of the Year was Ted and Jane Hughes's Ch. Syanaria Phantom. Runner up was Jennifer and Eileen McWilliams Ch. Roybridge Strike it Right of Istramac 3rd was Celia Hughes's Calsam Song of the River and 4th Bridget Endicott and Donna Fleming's Ch. Zamoyski Lucky Casanova at Roybridge. To the tune of "Simply the Best" the photographers sprang into action.

Kathy Ronald then judged the Best Dressed Lady and presented the award to Barbara Johnson and then she gave the Best Dressed Gentleman award to Andrew Woodhead who was dressed in a Scottish kilt. Finally, we were able to let our hair down and dance until after 1a.m.Next morning, there were a few people nursing hangovers but after a good breakfast these seem to be forgotten.

I must say, what a pleasure and privilege it was for the Northern Samoyed Society to have both Kathy and John Ronald with us for this event. We so very much enjoyed their company, as did exhibitors and spectators alike.

Jenny Collier