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Posted 05/23/03


Westminster 2003 is now history, with the big winner once again coming from the Terrier Group. Ch. Torums Scarf Michael, the irrepressible Kerry Blue, proved that he is truly "Top Dog" by adding a win at The Garden to his already impressive collection of "Bests".

In the Norfolk ring, the lovely imported bitch Ch. Cracknor Cause Celebre, owned by Pam Beale, Stephanie Ingram and her breeder, Elisabeth Matell, took home the BOB rosette. Best Opposite Sex went to Ch. Max-Well's Rainman, owned by Barbara Miller, Paul Schulz and Susan Kipp.

Judge Elliott Weiss also presented Awards of Merit to Ch. Chracknor Casing the Joint, owned by Pam Beale and Stephanie Ingram, and Ch. Nordach Wizard of Oz, owned by Stephanie Ingram.

While the entrants that did show up were excellent representatives of the breed, groomed to perfection and handled with aplomb, it was nevertheless discouraging to find five absentees in an entry of twelve. (In Norwich, I believe 12 out of 13 entries showed up. Good for them!) It is very difficult to get a dog all the way to Westminster, and unless an exhibit is among the five top dogs in its breed to receive an invitation, then the average owner has almost no chance of getting an entry in before the numerical limit is reached. This year, entries closed within an hour or two of opening.

If owners and or handlers have no intention of actually bringing a dog to the Garden, then it's a shame to make an entry and then not show up. Certainly "things" happen that make it impossible to bring a dog, but when nearly half the entry fails to appear, then it reflects poorly on the breed. And, it is discouraging to owners who really would love a chance to have an entry in this very special event.

That said, Westminster is an experience to be enjoyed at least once in every dog lover's lifetime, if only as a spectator. The same things that make it difficult to enjoy the cost of everything from tickets to food to transportation, the crowds that reach claustrophobic proportions by 10:00 a.m., the masses of people trying to reach concession stands are the same things that make it a powerful, exciting event! It is a fine occasion to catch up with old friends and to see some of the best dogs in any number of breeds.

This year, Cornell's Baker Institute invited several representatives of ANTA to enjoy hospitality and an eagle's eye view of the Group judging on Monday night from their skybox. Judith Felton, Henrietta and Robert Lachman, and Sheila Foran had some of the best seats in the house to watch the Terrier, Toy, Non-Sporting and Working Groups parade before the judges. ANTA has made a generous donation to Baker in memory of Joan Read each year since 1995, and this was a chance to say "thank you" from the folks at Cornell.

All in all Westminster continues to start the dog show season with a flair and it is always good to see old friends amongst the spirited competition.

ANTIC, March, 2003

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