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Thistle Hotel, London Heathrow, April 5th 2008.
In aid of the Canine Supporters Charity. Sponsored by Royal Canin

UK dog fanciers gathered once again, for one of the major annual events in their calendar last weekend – The Contest of Champions

THE CONTROVERSIAL television commercial which shows a dog cowering and shaking, even though it has now pHeld to raise funds for Canine Supporters Charity (CSC), the thousands of pounds raised at this event is donated to a wide range of canine related charities. As always, the evening was kindly sponsored by Royal Canin.

This year the CSC will be supporting Animal Cancer Trust, Great Dane Adoption Society, Rottweiler Welfare, Staffordshire Bull Terrier South East Rescue, Labrador Lifeline Charity & the Kennel Club Charitable Trust.

Each year the organisers aim to raise more money than the previous year! This year we had to beat a total of £17,500 and as there were a record number tickets sold and the auction alone raised £1,200 there is every liklihood of them suceeding.

This is first time I have attended this wonderful event and it was a tremendous evening with the opportunity to see some of the best dogs in the UK close up and personal. Of course, nothing like this happens if there are not dedicated people prepared to take the time and trouble to create it and in this instance it is Karina Le Mare & her amazing group consisting of hercommitteee and their friends who have put in the immense amount of hard work over many years.

64 of the UK’s top dogs in breed come forward & compete against each other in a ‘match’ format to reveal the Champion of all Champions. Three judges are appointed, secretly selected by the committee so no one know who they are until the night of the competition. This year, the three judges were:

Dr Wilfred Peper is from Germany. He is a successful breeder of Westies, with over 30 homebred champions, an author of several terrier books, an approved FCI judge & has judged in more than 18 countries worldwide, including, Europe, Australia & America.

Mr Johan Juslin is from Finland. He has bred dozens of Champions & International Champions in Norwich Terriers.

At present, he is the Chairman of the Norwich Terrier Club of Finland & board member of the Judges Society & the show secretary for an all breed show run by the Judges & Breeders Association. He has also been awarded the silver medal of the Finnish Kennel Club.
Dr Goran Bodegard MD PhD hails from Denmark.

From the age of 13, Goran’s interest has been the Deerhound & later became involved with breeding both Deerhounds & Greyhounds. He feels his greatest achievement was breeding, with Bo Bengston, the Greyhound bitch, Ch Piruett, who became the dog of the year in Sweden, 1975. A judge since 1966, he has been approved to judge at FCI level, judged at Crufts, FCI World Shows with BIS appointments in the US, Europe, Australia, Asia, South America, plus many more.

The dogs come first but only just, as the whole point of the evening is to raise as much money as possible. Throughout the evening, the tombola was running smoothly, with hundreds of prizes to be won. An empty pint pot was placed on every table into which we put £5 note with our names on which was later drawn out for a special prizes, one of which was two free tickets and overnight accommodation and breakfast at the hotel for next year’s Contest.

One of Our Dogs most valued contributors, Peter Purves is President of the Canine Supporters Charity and is always present as master of ceremonies and to be the auctioneer.

This year he had two special assitants - top all round judge & Crufts BBC commentator, Frank Kane, & Contest show manager, Glynn Payne.

Items included a signed Chelsea football shirt, donated by Svetlana & Roman Golnikov, a signed Tottenham Hotspurs goalkeeper shirt signed by Paul Robinson, donated by Mac McMillan, a painting by G W Furse ‘Diana of the Up Lands’ donated by Glynn Payne, a limited edition Elephant print by artist & top all rounder judge Stuart Mallard, donated by the Junior Bulldog Club, a collection of designer purses, donated by show organiser, Karina Le Mare and a handmade designer hat, donated by Ilda Barrett.

One lot cause considerable comments (all too bawdy to be included in this report I am afraid) which was the collection & five years free storage of frozen semen from your stud dog, donated by Sue Finnett & Hector Heathcote of UK Clone Limited.

One special auction on the evening was a bid, to name a young Staffordshire Bull Terrier puppy, which had been rescued by the Staffordshire Bull Terrier South East Rescue. Peter Purves opened the bidding at £20 and plenty of people in the audience, raised their hands to bid, but the right finally went to Jean Sharp Bale who was thrilled to name the puppy for her bid of £150.

£150 is a considerable sum and Jean of Neradmik Keeshond fame assumed the reason that husband Ernie was telling her back off was his concern about the sum involved but she had a surprise in store. Ernie had already given Glynn Payne £150 as a donation for the charity but Glynn let the bidding continue knowing he would be happy to return Ernie’s donation later but in the event Ernie told hime to keep the cash! ---¤----If you are wondering why the naming of a SBT puppy should be so important you need to know a few years ago, Ernie, grand daughter was murdered in Australia.

He and Jean decided to name the puppy after her would be a fitting tribute to her and to the canine Supports Charity. The puppy is to be called Stacy!

Back into the judging & from the 64 entries, 5 were absent on the evening. Affenpinscher, Ch Roxilyn Just for Jo, owned by Mrs Edwards. Glen of Imaal Terrier, Ch/Ir Am Ch Abberann Conan , owned by Mrs White (having won BOB at National Terrier stayed for the Group). Beagle, Ch Dialynne Maximus, owned by Miss Spavin. Standard Poodle, Int Ch & Eng Ch Huffish On Every Street, owned by Miss Sandell & Cronander & the Dogue De Bordeaux, Ir Ch Jerivindi Magena at Duntarvie, owned by Mrs Perrie.

Two other dogs were unable to attend, but replacements were quickly made. The Norwegian Elkhound, Ch/Ir Ch Kestos I Spy at Graythor, owned by Mr & Mrs Middleton, replaced the Westie, & the Pekingese, Ch Brentoy Red Adair, owned by Mrs Charlton & Mrs Oades, replaced the Kerry Blue Terrier. One other Top Dog from the UK was unable to compete this evening. This was the Smooth Collie, Ch Eridor Im Mr Blu at Newarp, owned by one of tonight’s Committee Members, Mrs Pat Lister. Pat made a lap of honour, before proceedings of the competition went ahead.

In the first rounds, each judge judged eight pairs of dogs before the next judge took over. There were inevitably some ‘byes’ but it left 32 dogs for the second round before they were narrowed down to just 16 and then eight.

They were: Maltese, Ch Benatone Gold Ring, owned by Mrs & Miss Jackson, French Bulldog Ch Feniton Fergus at Morvern, owned by Mrs Jenkins & Ms McInnes, Pekingese, Ch Brentoy Red Adair, Japanese Shiba Inu, Ch Jiltrain Jack the Lad, owned by Mr & Mrs Rogers, Estrela Mountain Dog, Karabas Likande La Menna Letta of Sturtmoor, owned by Mrs Dovey & Mrs Pentland, Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever, Narod Aroona, owned by Miss Hunt. Bulldog, Ch Iceglint I’m Harry, owned by Mrs Garside & lastly, the Dobermann, Ch & Ir Ch Aritaur Hipnotique, owned by Mrs Fleming & Mr & Mrs Henderson.

By this stage, the audience were roaring with cheers, whistles, claps & chants of encouragement for their favourites to go through. The ringside was packed and excitiment mounted in anticipation of the last four to go through & compete for Contest of Champions. The final four dogs to be selected were: the Maltese, Pekingese, Estrela Mountain Dog & the Dobermann. At this stage, all three judges, mark each dog for breed type, construction & movement & the dog with the most attributes is awarded as winner ech of the othere being equal reserve.

There was suddenly silence as Peter Purves announced the winner - Miles, Ch Benatone Gold Ring, the Maltese, owned by Mrs & Miss Jackson.

Then the photographs, presentations & rounds of applause for the winner & the judges for their involvement in the Contest as the curtain closed for another year, the carpet was rolled back for the party and the dancing until the early hours of the morning. A great night all round.

But the work was not over. As Glynn Payne told me, as well as being up in the early hours of the Friday morning, helping the guys of Bannerdown benching, set up, he and he team had to make last minute preparations to the venue, before any of the guests arrived for 4pm.

Then on Sunday morning , Karina kindly took one of the judges to the Terminal 5 at Heathrow for his flight back home. She had a phone call to Wey Farm a couple of hours later, to say that his flight. like so many had been cancelled so it was back to the airport to arrange lunch and a later flight on Sunday evening.

As Karina Le Mare told me, it is impossible to thank everyone involved but she particularly asked me to mention all the members of her commitee, commentator for the evening David Spencer, Show Manager, Mr Glynn Payne, Stewards:- Mac McMillan, Sue Glennon, Dave Elliott, Lyn McCall & Kester Kelly, Stella Clark and ehr team on the Tombola for the work they put in on the day and the supporters of the event: Royal Canin, Bannerdown Benching, Wey Farm Kennels, Pat Clayton & Bertie Dove, Miss Jones, David Spencer, Mr & Mrs Emrys-Jones, Svetlana & Roman Golnikov, UK Clone Limited, Animal Health Company. Thanks were also due to Barbara Prestwich who produced the programme, which was sponsored by the Dobermann Club .

I was delighted to be able to go to this prestigious evening although I finished the report for this weeks OUR DOGS at the airport on my laptop, handed my luggage in at BMI only find when I arrived at Manchester that several items had been stolen from my case: video camera, digital camera - and my laptop!

So this is the second editon - a complete re-write. If there is anything missing you know it is on the laptop which has probably already been sold from the back of the proverbial lorry in Slough.

Ch Benatone Gold Ring with Sarah Jackson, Karina Le Mare, the judges, and other members of the committeee with Antony Bongiovanni of Royal Canin

At the 2008 Contest of Champions held at the Thistle Hotel near Heathrow last Saturday evening, Miles, Ch Benatone Gold Ring, the top winning Maltese of 2007, owned by Sarah Jackson and her mother, Rosemary, took the title after an exciting contest which saw some of the UK’s very best dogs appearing before the panel of three overseas judges, Wilfred Peper, Johan Juslin and Goran Bodegard, pictured left with Karina Le Mare

Frank Cane showing the porcelain Borzoi entered into the auction

The Dobermann, Ch & Ir Ch Aritaur Hipnotique, owned by Mrs Fleming & Mr & Mrs Henderson.

Left: Peter Purves, the President of the canine Supporters Charity and Master of Ceremonies for the Contest

Mrs Jenkins & Ms McInnes, Pekingese, Ch Brentoy Red Adair with the three judges and Antony Bongiovanni of Royal Canine

The Bergamasco owned by Stuart Band and Cindy McCarthy

Right: Estrela Mountain Dog, Karabas Likande La Menna Letta of Sturtmoor, owned by Mrs Dovey & Mrs Pentland