Three Toy Super Challenge
is voted a big hit! writes Ron Stewart

Best in Super Challenge was the Pug, Carol and Stella Kirk’s
Ch Hattella Fresh Parsley JW, pictured with the judges

ARMS FLAILING before dramatically beckoning, arms extended, his chosen winners for Best Brace... Penny and Ian MacDonald (of Pug fame). That concluded the judging of the more social of activities late in the evening, of the Three Toy Breed Super Challenge.

Immediately prior to that, the other awards had been given to Diane Fry (Amantra) for Best Groomed; Jenny Brown (Sensayuma) for Best Presentation and Alison Mount (Pollymops) for Best Mover. All winners received outlandishly ostentatious plate sized rosettes proclaiming their achievements.

The whole event covered an afternoon Super Challenge involving King Charles Spaniels, Pugs and Affenpinschers. Hosted by the King Charles Spaniel Club, it had been conceived by Ron Stewart (Marchog) and organised by him, along with Rita Lloyd (Cwmhaf) and Jackie Portingale (Jacrianna). A year in the arranging, it was not without its challenges, including an hotel which would accommodate so many dogs. In that regard, and many others, the Hanover International Hotel, Bromsgrove, came up trumps.

The identity of the judges was intended to be a secret until they were introduced on the night, although some slips occurred. Originally two were appointed from the USA, but both fell ill during the weeks immediately preceding the Challenge.

The first withdrawal with four weeks’ notice presented no problem; Howard Ogden, who had already been promoted from visiting personality with responsibility for doing the draw, to commentator (when Andrew Brace fell victim to the rearrangement of a prior engagement in South Africa) was further promoted to judge.

The second call off, only two weeks prior, was more disconcerting but, fortunately, Tom Mather (Barklots) stepped into the breach. So only one of the original invitations made it on the day was Bill Browne-Cole (Travella).

Qualifications to participate were that between Richmond Championship Shows 2001 and 2002 a dog had to win a CC or a RCC, or a Best Puppy, or three firsts in qualifying classes.

In the end 57 of the 64 places were taken, but three call offs on the Friday evening reduced the entry (and caused a midnight shuffle of the dinner seating plan).

The draw for the Challenge was made prior to the judging. Antony Bongiovanni, representing sponsors Royal Canin, drew the numbers for the Special Puppy contenders (up to 18 months old on the day); the remainder, and greater part of, the draw being made by breed columnists John Fothergill (KCS), Alison Mount (Pug), Toni Teasdale (Affenpinscher, DW), Ann Collins (Pug, OUR DOGS) and Vanessa Cox (Affenpinscher, OUR DOGS). The final numbers were drawn by Shealagh Waters and Wendy Boorer, Chairmen respectively of the King Charles Spaniel and Affenpinscher Clubs. Involvement was the byeword of the day!

The judging system called for each pair of dogs to be seen by one judge; the judges rotating for each pair coming into the ring. Only for the finals did all three judges appear in the ring together to pass judgement.

Their conclusions were that Best in Super Challenge was the Pug, Ch Hattella Fresh Parsley JW of Carol and Stella Kirk; Reserve was Affenpinscher Ch Zipaty Dreamed A Dream for Orlock JW of Mhairi Brown and Andrew Oliver. Best Special Puppy was the King Charles Spaniel Amantra Character belonging to Diane Fry and Tracy Jackson. Honours all round!

Tom Mather had to depart after the judging to another engagement so could not join the company as it re-assembled for dinner after a wash and change into evening finery. The hotel provided an excellent meal with the dessert a particular triumph!

After dinner entertainment was provided by a local disco for dancing, but also two solo spots from baritone Anthony Stuart Lloyd (son of Rita) who held the audience enthralled with his singing (and who is available professionally!) Howard Ogden provided the commentary for a Parade of Champions of all three breeds, to the enjoyment of all (and the embarrassment of more than a few!), and finally, after the super swift execution of the obligatory raffle, came the ‘novelty judging’

Overall the consensus was the whole event had been better than merely a success; those who were there want it again. The most heartening aspect was that the aim of having a prestigious ‘dog show’ together with a social activity across breeds can work.

The organisers would like to thank all those who participated on the day, throwing themselves into the spirit of the occasion (with special mention of the Pug contingent), sponsors Royal Canin, and Patsi Ann who contributed support too.


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