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The first of a new annual prestigious grooming competition

Jointly organised by Groom Team England and Red Cape

Held at MyPetStop, Tingley, West Yorkshire
August 3rd 2008

“How would you like to cover a grooming competition for us?” said the editor. Well that was a new one on me. Having been involved with pedigree dogs for 25 years now, luckily owning a breed that are “wash and wear”, grooming competitions are something that have just passed me by and barely registered on the radar. Agreeing to do this has given me a glimpse into a whole new world…

This, the first of a new annual premier groom competition, has been the brainchild of Groom Team England and Red Cape (specialist grooming equipment and show supplies), formed to give people more opportunity to develop their competition skills, to encourage more beginners into the competition ring, and also to raise funds for Groom Team England, to support them to compete abroad in the World Team Championships.

There was a very full timetable for the day, which started at 9 a.m. with the pre-judging of the three classes competing during the morning: Handstrip, Spaniels and Setters, and Beginners (confined to groomers with less than two years experience).

For a complete newcomer like me it was really interesting to see 21 groomers in the ring, all with their own designated space, grooming tables and equipment, with two hours or so to transform their fluffy beasts into animals fit for the show ring.

In the afternoon, the three classes were Purebred Scissor, Poodle and Workshop (for any breed without a trimming breed standard, including crossbreeds), with 24 groomers in all, coming from as far afield as Cornwall, Sussex and Eire.

Running concurrently with the competition were a variety of demonstrations and seminars, including sessions on Tellington Touch training and its use in calming clients’ dogs at the grooming salon, skin problems, nutrition, animal welfare and grooming qualifications. I found the grooming demonstrations on 4 different breeds of dog very interesting to watch, and to listen to questions from professional groomers in the audience who had come to learn more.

There was room for a few trade stands too, which were well supported, and the Silent Auction and raffle were well situated to catch people as they came in and out of the venue.

The judging team, Jitka Krizova, Su Eld-Weaver, Colin Taylor, Peter Ensell and Alison Rogers, have a wealth of experience between them, four of them being current Groom Team England members. One of the organisers, Joanne Angus, give me a brief rundown on what the judges were looking for: they look at the before and after picture, how much work has it taken to reach the finished result, the overall presentation, does it look like the breed standard, is it balanced, i.e. do all 4 legs match, how the competitors work and what their technical skills are like.

The first three competitors in each class were announced, but in no particular order. This made sure there were plenty of people around for the final announcements and Best in Show, and maintained the atmosphere. The Groom Team Committee had been observing all competitors throughout the competition and presented special awards to three people, who in their opinion had the most potential to advance their grooming skills at competition level. The special awards went to Rebecca Turner, Nicki Edwards and Sarah Ellis.

The whole event attracted generous sponsorship, with rosettes, trophies, competitors goodie bags and excellent prize money in every class. The results for each of the classes was announced and the prizes awarded:

1st in the Handstrip class went to Mich Dale, with a West Highland White Terrier.
1st in Spaniels and Setters was Jenny Hale, with an Irish Setter.
1st in Beginners was Rebecca Turner, with a Miniature Schnauzer.
1st in Purebred Scissor was Eve Somers, with a Kerry Blue Terrier.
1st in Poodle was Emma Walton, with a Toy Poodle.
1st in Workshop was Amy English, with a Schnauzer.

That brought us to 5 p.m. and the grand finale, the parade of all the class winners and the difficult task of choosing a Best in Show winner for the three judges, Su Eld-Weaver, Colin Taylor and Jitka Krizova. I really felt for the dogs standing on their grooming tables for what seemed like an eternity, certainly longer than one would expect of them at most championship shows. At last, the judges came to a consensus and declared Best in Show to be Mich Dale, with her Westie, Ch Lynnsto Pellam, Reserve Best in Show to Emma Walton with the Poodle.

I’d been speaking to Mich before she went in the ring for Best in Show judging, and was delighted to find out that this is the first grooming competition she has ever entered. The dog is her own homebred Show Champion and she has many years of grooming and exhibiting Westies under her belt. Her partner had cajoled her into entering, and what a result – £1000 cash, courtesy of WAHL, plus a trophy and £200 of Requal grooming products and Les Pooch’s brushes worth £125 provided by Red Cape.

The winner of the Reserve Best in Show got £250 plus a Les Pooch groomer pack, £100 of ReQual products and a trophy. Best beginner received a DoubleK Airmax Blaster, groomers starter pack and a Les Pooch groomer pack. Winners of all classes 1st-3rd received a Les pooch groomer pack and all first place class winners got £50 and a plaque

Another happy person at the end of the day was Joanne Angus, who had had some really good feedback from competitors. She was pleased with how well supported the event had been and that the sponsorship had been tremendous. This will now become an annual event and is likely that the location will move around the country, so, get your scissors sharpened and get your name down for next year.

Stevie Allerton

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Best in Show (Mich Dale with CH Lynnsto Pellam and Reserve Best In Show Ms Walton with Toy Poodle

Prize table

Winner of Best Beginner Rebecca Turner with Clipped Miniature Schnauzer

Poodle Class winners with sponsors Robert Halliday and James Allen of “2Sharpen” (Redcape’s scissor and blade technicians)

Best in show – Mich Dale with Patrick Barter (Wahl UK)

Organisers and judges

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