Adverts: 0161 709 4576 - Editorial: 0161 709 4571
Mail Order: 0161 709 4578 - Subs: 0161 709 4575 - Webteam: 0161 709 4567
Westminster 2002 - Go West for the best!
report & photos by Mike Gadsby


Nothing compares to ‘the Garden’, and whilst a host of British patriots will immediately be incensed by that statement, the fact is that whilst Crufts has no equal, neither has Westminster, they are completely different, Crufts for its sheer magnitude, Westminster for the razzmatazz and glamour.

The entry of around 2500 is made up of AKC champions only, and the 157 breeds have to be judged in the eight rings in only two days. Chief Steward Frederick W Wagner III has the timings down to a fine art, and `God help` the judge who dallies around and slows up his perfectly timed schedule.


The Sporting group winner was the Brittany, Otterson, Bates & Callier’s
Ch Magic Sir-ly You Jest, shown here with judge Mr Erik Bergishagen.

The venue - Madison Square Gardens - is too small for the sheer volume of spectators that descend from all over the World to witness the event. How many times did I hear the shorter of stature make some comment on the advantage of my 6`5"! All ringsides were heaving with spectators fighting to get a decent view.

Judging starts at 9am prompt each day and the excitement is intense from the very beginning. I started off watching Pugs in ring 3, but each scream from the crowd saw me rushing to a different ring as another breed reached its nailbiting conclusion. By 4pm the breed judging on day one was over, giving the opportunity to shop around the trade stands or browse around the cramped benches and handlers’ set ups. Just time to nip into New York city for dinner before we found ourselves racing back to get seats for the groups. The schedule for the group is interfered with only by the live tv coverage.


Winner of the Working group under judge Mr Robert Stein,
Adel’s Standard Schnauzer Ch Charisma Jailhouse Rock.

Starting at 8pm the working group winners tear into the ring in no particular order, sitting themselves next to their named podium and the group began. Mr Robert A Stein efficiently worked his way through half the working group before wandering back to the judge's table and sitting down.Those new to the Garden were left a little bewildered, whilst veterans couldn’t wait to tell them that the interruptions to the judging were dictated by the commercial breaks!

As the group was shortlisted, the applause and screaming became overwhelming as the finger pointed to the Standard Schnauzer, Ch. Charisma Jail House Rock, winning the group here for an impressive second time.

Exciting

The Terrier group was presided over by judge Ms Barbra Keenan, resplendent in her purple evening gown. This group had many exciting Best of Breed winners, none more so than our own Ch/UK Ch Torum Scarf Michael. What a thrill to see a British dog in such wonderful form and with universal support winning in such fabulous company. The British contingent shared their pride with breeders the Ramsey family who were over to watch ‘Mick’ take the Terrier group for the second year running.

The Toy group judge, the ever-glamorous Keke Kahn, took control of the ring, stylishly working her way through another group of immense quality. The U.K representative here was the Cavalier Ch. Annatika Andreas, who was top of 2001. What a super specimen of the breed this is. Keke’s final four could all have taken the group; the eventual winner however was the Affenpinscher Ch.Yarrows Super Nova.Unlike in the U.K, this breed is presented to great effect to show off the monkey face and charm of this unique little dog.


Winner of the Toy group under judge Mrs Keke Kahn, Truesdale’s Affenpinscher,
Ch Yarrow’s Super Nova.

The final group of day one saw Mr James Reynolds cast an eye over the non-sporting group (similar to our Utility group) and his eventual winner was last year's huge winning Miniature Poodle Ch. Surrey Spice Girl, handled by Kas Hosaka, whose expertise in presenting this breed is legendary.

So ended day one, and after 13 hours of excitement, our resolve to go ‘out west’ was somewhat diminished - we were off to our beds!

Tuesday and a particularly exciting day for me, for I was to handle my P.B.G.V, export the top winning U.K Ch. Famecliff Chemin De Fer With Afterglow. My American partner Helen Ingher could not attend due to ill health and therefore I enjoyed the excitement of handling Teddy to Award of Merit from an entry of 24 champions.


Terrier group 1 under judge Ms Barbara W Keenan, Hansen’s Kerry Blue Terrier
Ch/UK Ch Torum’s Scarf Michael.

Unbelievably the gate was substantially increased from the first day, making the trek from ring to ring a laborious task. I was fascinated to watch the two big winning Standard Wire Dachshunds; these two are superb examples of the breed and each one would be something of a force in any country. On the day both were defeated by the red Miniature dog!

After a similar day's schedule we went to dinner around 6pm and were back again for the prompt start at 7.30pm of the Junior Showmanship finals, with the youngsters really put through their paces by the world-renowned Ann Rogers-Clark, to more hysteria from the packed auditorium.

The final groups commenced with the Sporting group (gundogs) judged by Mr Eric Bergishagen. Whilst the presentation is more than a little different for some of the breeds in this group, the g quality is superb; catching my eye were outstanding representatives of G.W.P, G.S.P, all three setters, the Clumber, particolour American Cocker and Weimaraner.
The eventual winner however was the Brittany Spaniel Ch.Magic Sir-ly You Jest.

I thought that the Hound group was a little disappointing overall, although several breeds had strong contenders, including the eventual winner, the lovely Rhodesian Ridgeback, Ch.Wetu of Kalahari.


Hound group winner, the Rhodesian Ridgeback, Fikes, Stewart & Well’s
Ch Wetu of Kalahari, pictured with judge Mrs Jane Forsyth.

The last group of the show was the Herding group with judge Mrs Irene Bivin wasting no time in declaring her eventual winner in the delightful tricolour Pembroke Corgi, Ch. Foxlor Shafrhaus Sammy Sosa. And so there we had it, a full complement of group winners to make up a world class line-up for BIS judge Mr Everett Dean.

Before the finale we were treated to an emotional rendition of `God Bless America` by film star Glenn Close, who received a splendid reception and standing ovation by the crowd.

The scene was set and, at almost fever pitch, the crowd welcomed the winners into the BIS ring. This was truly a sight for the connoisseur’s eyes, and everyone had their special favourite. The winner was the hugely tipped Miniature Poodle ‘’Spice Girl’, which must have been a great tonic for her co-breeder Mrs James Edward Clark, after a period of ill health last year.

Whilst we began with a statement that "Crufts and the Garden could not be compared", the conclusion was much the same: a bank of world canine photographers, surrounding one of `man’s best friends` having once again given us so much pleasure!


The winner of the Junior Showmanship of the Year award went to Billy Ellis.