Belgian best at glittering charity show
photo by David Cavill
The judges Greg Eva, Daniela Gajie and Bo Skalin
with the overall winner the Belgian Shepherd Tervueren, Ch Hawksflight In Technicolour,
owned by Nicky Mackie and Peter Kelland
There can surely be few events boasting the concentration of the very best that Britain has to offer, as far as show dogs are concerned, that can compete with the Contest of Champions.
For many years it has been a showcase and it is only a shame that KC regulations require that the maximum number of dogs as such an event cannot exceed sixty-four. Is it time to review this figure. The Contest has a 'first come first served' approach and so some breeds are not represented. A shame, but this does not detract from the quality of the dogs that are present.
This year’s Contest was held as usual at the Thistle Hotel London Heathrow. The Canine Supporters’ Charity aim is to raise funds for the promotion, study and research for the welfare of dogs and its constitution also encourages academic and practical study. Monies from this year’s event will be donated to PDSA, A Dog’s Life, The Kennel Club Charitable Trust, Happy Landings Sanctuary, Rottweiler Welfare and Staffordshire Bull Terrier Rescue.
On arrival at the hotel, supporters of the event swamped the tombola, which was laden with an amazing array of fantastic prizes from sacks of Royal Canin to TVs and DVDs. It was a special night for Marcia Hudson who had brought her Hungarian Vizsla Sh Ch Duncarreg Silver Sparkler and who was handled on the night by Natasha Bennett. Sparkler is Marcia’s very first dog. She picked the puppy herself from a litter of 10and was bought as a pet - not for show. However, she enrolled in the local ring-craft class and both an instant pleasure in showing. Who says that newcomers cannot be successful?.
An enjoyable and very acceptable three course dinner began the evening, followed by an auction. The auctioneer for the evening was Peter Purves, the President of the charity. A set of silver watches went for £75, a special limited edition of Volume II of the hand painted Japanese Breed Suppliment were bought by Gail & Marin Wise for £180 and a signed David Seaman shirt went for £400 to Sarah Stephens who competed against telephone bids that were being received by Glyn Payne from a supporter who could not be present.. There were many other items including a signed Portsmouth FC shirt, a signed Spurs FC football, a Jamie Redknapp signed shirt, and a Deep Purple jacket signed by their leader.
This year the event was sponsored by Royal Canin with benching by Bannerdown and support from the Animal Health Company, Our Dogs among others. Marcia Cox and Malcolm Chambers designed and printed the excellent name/breed/numbers for the benches. Barbara Prestwich designed and printed the programmes and many other people generously donated prizes for the Tombola.
Thanks must go to all of the committee who worked hard as ever to ensure the slick, smooth running of the evening under the able chairmanship of David Spencer (who also did the commentary) and secretary Karina Le Mare.
The three judges for this year’s event were Greg Eva, who was born in Cornwall but emigrated to South Africa in 1948. He is a Gundog specialist first and foremost but was licensed to judge all breeds in 1991 having begun his judging career in 1964. He is currently President of the South African Kennel Union. Daniela Gajie from Slovenia. Daniela’s first breed was Dwarf Back Poodles, then in 1994 she went on to owning a white Standard Poodle.
She became the youngest qualified judge in her country at the age of 19. She is now licensed for all breeds in FCI Group 9. Since the birth of her son in 2001 she has focused more on breeding! (This might seem self evident but the comment should be applied in this instance to dogs and not babies!). The third judge for the event was Bo Skalin from Sweden.
He has bred to-date, over 40 champions with more than 80 titles worldwide. He has been the President of the Swedish Schnauzer Pinscher Club for many years, and now a member of the Swedish Kennel Club Central Committee and FCI Show Committee. Bo became a judge in 1995 as a specialist in Schnauzers and Pinschers and is now eligible to give CC/CACIB in 160 breeds.
The system used at the Contest is that each judge judges eight rounds in succession so no one knows prior to the event which judge is to judge each pair. The ring gave plenty of room for even the largest dogs to show their paces. By the time the final round was reached there was considerable tension in the room and each dog was cheered as it went round the ring until just the Whippet Ch/Norw/Dan Ch Spyanfly Say Its Bardo, the Russian Black Terrier Vasiliy of Fernwood, the Belgian Shepherd (Tervueren) Ch Hawksflight In Technicolour and Australian Shepherd Dog Am Ch Thornapple Climated Controlled remained. At this stage of the contest the judges confer and give marks to the final four leaving one winner and three reserves.
The judges moved the dogs again and then after careful deliberation decided
on their winner: the Belgian Shepherd Tervueren, Ch Hawksflight In Technicolour owned by Nicky Mackie and Peter Kelland a win that had universal approval from the spectators.
An excellent evening was had by all, and, after the competition had finished, entertainment was provided by Barry Lynton who has worked with some of the country's best known music stars and who brilliantly performed some of the most memorable pop songs from the last forty years. As has become traditional, the disco went on until the early hours. As always - a terrific evening.