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I Spy with my little eye
- ‘Kris’ the Norwegian Elkhound tops Contest



The Contest of Champions really does what it says on the can! It is simply a matter of finding out who is the Champion of Champions, and last weekend the dog showing world once again came together for an evening of fun, socialising and for this event in particular, fundraising for a special cause.

As many of us already know, all the top dogs from all breeds in the UK are invited to take part in the annual Contest of Champions. This event has been a success for 20 years, largely down to the driving force of one lady, Mrs Karina Le Mare of the world famous Helmlake kennel.. However, Karina would be the first to admit that without her team of helpers for this event - Glynn Payne, Peter Purves, Vicki Herrieff, David Spencer, Kevan Forrest, Stella Clark, Mac McMillan, Sarah Baldwin, Pat Lister, Sue Glennon, Lyn McCall, June Caffel, and Barry Canty – this event couldn’t possibly work.

In the programme for the evening the committee thanked its supporters of the event, Royal Canin, Bannerdown, Animal Health company, H Greaves & Sons (meat suppliers) and Barbara Prestwich. Always difficult in this day and age to gain support and sponsorship, so well done all round.

The evening began with the drinks reception, followed by a three course, very posh lamb dinner at the Thistle Hotel. Each table was attractively decorated with Royal Canin balloons, bottles of wine, Royal Canin pens, a pint pot for the raffle draw and a programme for each guest.

Charities

This year the competition aimed to raise money for the following charities: Animal Cancer Trust, University of Cambridge Vets School Cancer Unit, The Blue Cross Bromsgrove Adoption Centre Rebuilding program, and the Kennel Club Charitable Trust. Last year, the event raised £18,000 which was donated to the Animal Cancer Trust, Great Dane Adoption Society, Labrador Lifeline Trust, Staffordshire Bull Terrier Rescue, Rottweiler Welfare and the Kennel Club Charitable Trust.
The judges for this year, came from Portugal, Mr Jose Homen de Mello, France Mrs Jeanette Seltz, and Hungary Mr Peter Harsanyi; all these judges have made a huge impact in the world of dogs in their own way, as breeders, exhibitors and judges. Jose is well known for showing his Bassets which have won at Crufts and also took BIS at the world show some years ago. Karina clearly has a great European network for her judging panel.

Well known TV personality and President of the Canine Supporters Charity, Peter Purves, along with his Auction assistant Barry Canty, once again auctioned off the many items, which included paintings, a designer hat designed and donated by Ilda Di-Vico, a signed Tottenham Hotspurs football shirt, and an electric guitar.Always a good money spinner so well done to all those who purchased.

Action

Now for the action in the ring! A total of 64 dogs were entered for the competition, with a total of four rounds. Through to the second round were the following dogs, the Beagle, Ch Dialynne Maximus, Australian Silky Terrier, Int Ir Ch Bombix Moren Dosis Maxima, the Shetland Sheepdog, Ch Elijetia Queen Bee, Longcoat Chihuahua Ch Ballybroke Mandy, the Leonberger, Ch Ir Ch Debbollinby Vogue for Lionslord, Miniature Bull Terrier, Ch Ir Ch Badlesmere Brabazon in Kofyn, Affenpinscher Ch Kilbarchan’s Xtra Copy for Scapafield, Rottweiler Ch Travillon Rant and Rave JW, Bulldog Ch Iceglint I’m Harry, Cocker Spaniel, Sh Ch Dillonpark Ambrogina JW, Pointer, Sh Ch Penwest Paza, Norwegian Elkhound Ch Ir Ch Kestos I Spy at Graythor, Pyrenean Mountain Dog, Ch Am Ch Rivergroves Murphy Goode, Boxer, Ch Winuwuk Lust at First Sight, Tibetan Terrier Ch Schanti’s Sonny Lamleh at Walkamile, and the Portuguese Water Dog, Rajo She’s The One.

Making it down to the last four, after much hype and great support from the crowd, were the Beagle, the Miniature Bull Terrier, Norwegian Elkhound and the Pyrenean Mountain Dog. At this point, each judge had to mark each dog with a star quality figure, and the dog with the highest points was to be declared as the overall winner. It was the decision of the judges that this year’s Champion of Champions was to be the Norwegian Elkhound, Ch & Ir Ch Kestos I Spy at Graythor. ‘Kris’ is owned by Mr & Mrs Middleton and has an unbelievable show record, including Hound Group 1 at Crufts, plus many more CCs under his belt, and group placed wins at Ch Shows.
On a personal note I was delighted to be invited to the Contest of Champions once again this year, and wish to thank Nigel & Anita Holliday for their kind gesture; congratulations to them with their Leonberger ‘Delta’, who made it to the last 16 of the competition. Well done guys!
The event usually raises between £15 and £20, 000 each year and this year should be no exception, despite the dreaded credit crunch affecting us all.

This is a great achievement, and one that the organisers should take great pride. They all work very hard for this enjoyable event and even pay for their own tickets. Thanks to Karina and the team, the Contest lives on, having being run in the early days by many well known names in the world of dogs and having had a number of venues such as the old Cunard Hotel in Hammersmith.
There are very few dinners on this scale, so here’s to next year and every success to the CSC.

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