CRICKET Hall at the Sports Connexion, Coventry, was the venue
for the 49th Dane of the Year on 20th October. This will be
DOTYs home for at least five years.
This year, it was The Great Dane Club of South Wales privilege to be hosts. The second time since joining with the Northern Midland and West & South Western Great Dane Clubs as sponsors of the show and who have been responsible for running the show for many years.
Planning for this years show started almost two years ago and gathered momentum as the show neared. The theme adopted centred around the Queens jubilee, with the colours of red, white and blue being predominant. Large posters of the dane head used as te event emblem, edged by Susan Davies in blue and red, were hung around the hall and a Welsh dragon rampant hung either side of the entry to the hall declaring croeso (welcome) to everyone.
The judges tables were draped with the clubs embroidered cloths and topped with the flags of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Tables in the refreshment area were topped with glittering cut out dane heads.
The four sponsoring clubs tables were brimming with dane goodies and trophies and it was most pleasing that both The Great Dane Club and The Scottish Great Dane Club had accepted the invitation to join us. They were most welcome and we hope they enjoyed their day with us.
Also joining us were four trade friends of the breed with jewellery, Dane sculptures, bedding and dane models on display to tempt people to spend their money. Their support, too, is most welcome. Both the trade stands and club tables looked to be busy for much of the day. Des Warren also did brisk business selling draw tickets.
It was especially good to see Mrs Nellie Ennals at the show and of course our president, Les Lewis and his wife, Ivy. All staunch supporters of our lovely breed for so many years.
Indeed, Les attended the inaugural informal meeting of enthusiasts who together with Fergus Taylor proceeded to bring Fergus dream to fruition. Les tells me that the meeting has held near Euston station, London, and that he and two others from the Northern GDC travelled to London in an Austin A30, the immediate forerunner of the Mini and no, there were no motorways in those days! Now that is dedication and enthusiasm for you. I suspect Les may well be the only living participant of that first get together.
Fergus first had the idea at the time of the Festival of Britain in 1951. The idea was to create a show for Danes along the lines of the Horse of the Year Show. In 1952, the first formal meeting was held and this is referred to in the October/November edition of the Daneite that year.
The first DOTY was to be held in 1953, which was the coronation year, the KC having given permission stating that although the four breed clubs in being at that time were to support the show, only one club could actually act as the sponsor each year, exactly as happens today. The clubs that existed then were The Great Dane Club, The Northern Great Dane Club, The Great Dane Breeders Association and the Midland and West Great Dane Club, who had been formed a few years earlier. It is probably fair to say that they are today our premier clubs. And so the Dane of the Year was born a show for all dane enthusiasts, not just the exhibitors to get together and indulge in their passion.
Incidentally, Mrs Ennals was a Committee member of the M&W at the time and is now the clubs joint patron, along with Gwen Herbert.
This years show got underway at 9.30.am sharp with judging commencing with the males who had Mandy Thomson (Darrington) running the rule over them. Bitches followed at 10am under the eye of Joyce Wright (Tarus).
They had drawn on entry of 220 exhibits making 287 entries. This was an increase of 2001 and this was particularly pleasing in a show season that has seen reduced entries generally at most shows. Classes were well filled without too many absentees. Sadly though, the days of having in excess of 300 danes entered seem to have passed.
Judging continued with the judges taking their lunch break separately so that one ring remained active. This ensured interest and atmosphere was maintained at ringside.
Once both judges had completed their classes, the two rings were quickly transformed into one and the unbeaten exhibits were announced as they entered the ring. Chief Steward, Pat Patch, having marshalled them into the correct class order in the collecting ring.
The males were the first to be brought in, and Mandy had a look at each exhibit in turn before moving them on again. It was now decision time, and after another quick look, Mandy walked straight to the fawn dog and Limit winner, John Webb and Viv Aers Jovies Perfect Reason JW. Reserve to Perfect Reason was the winner of Special Yearling and Special Harlequin classes, Ravendale Marcus Aurelius at Machamore, owned by Mrs J Kevan and handled by his breeder, Jo Walton. Of all the puppies, it was Tony and Helen Pearces fawn puppy dog winner, Ansets Railroader, who was awarded Best Puppy Dog.
It was then the turn of the bitches to be paraded for Joyce to make her choice of best of sex. Joyce considered her line-up and went to the Open winner, Yacanto Colour My Love, co-owned by Di Bousfield and Jim Perry and handled by daughter, Jo. Reserve was Garsak Godiva, a fawn from Junior, owned by Mrs A Hurst and Messrs Gifford & Hooker.
Best Puppy bitch was Lesley and Adam Chappells fawn youngster, Selmelda Me and My Shadow. Team and Brace classes were not well supported; indeed only one brace was present.
It was time for the finale. Who would become Dane of the Year 2002?
The judges proceeded to go over each others best of sex and jointly deliberated in the ring.
A short walk to the judges tables to collect the sash and rosettes and it was Perfect Reason who was pulled forward to become Dane of the Year. Bred and owned by John and Viv, he is by Yacanto My Best Valentine ex Ch Yacanto Reason to Dream who was DOTY in 1996. I believe this is the first time a mother and son have achieved this honour. RBIS in show was the bitch, Yacanto Colour Of My Love, who incidentally was BPIS at the 1996 DOTY! Best Puppy in Show went to Ansets Railroader.
So, with the crowning of the new Dane of the year, another show drew to a close with presentations of brass miners lamps to the judges and referee, Roy Tripconey who was not required, as the judges agreed on all decisions.
This report would not be complete without the clubs thanks going to those who helped on the day; the people who donated rosettes; BIS sash and raffle prizes; and to Hills, who generously supported the show with a range of their foodstuff. Thanks also go to Seven Seas for their gifts to class winners.
Finally, to the exhibitors and visitors, thank you for helping to give the show the atmosphere it richly deserves.
Next year is the golden jubilee of the DOTY and the hosts will be The Northern Great Dane Club, who will be celebrating their centenary. What a double to celebrate see you at the Connexion on 19th October 2003!
Photo by Alan V Walker
lBest Puppy in Show at this years British Jubilee Dane of the Year
was Mr and Mrs Pearce's Ansets Railroader, pictured here with
Chairperson Mrs S Davies, the Dog judge Mrs Mandy Thompson,
Bitch judge Mrs Joyce Wright and Res.
Best Puppy in Show Chappell's Selmalda Me and My Shadow