(Updated 1:11PM to make a correction, it was Jacklyn’s Bitch that was WB, not Rebecca’s, and Rebecca’s bitch Masami was Best Puppy on Saturday, and Yori Green’s male was Best AOH on Saturday.)
The International KC of Chicago has always been a traditional show for anyone in this area to attend. I started going there in 1974 with my first homebred malamutes. That was in the days when there was at least 100 malamutes entered and the benching area for them was huge. We would often bench together as part of the Chicagoland Alaskan Malamute Club and have a pot luck lunch going. But that was when it was back by the old stockyards. And a lot has changed.
I’m now showing shibas and not malamutes, the entry fee was $35.00 instead of $15 (and I remember the brouhaha that followed IKC entry when it went up to $20!). The show is now held at McCormick Place but has moved from first the Lakeside building to the North Building and finally now is in the West Building. I LOVE it. Why? Mostly because it’s attached to an indoor parking garage. But more on that later …
Ryder shares his table with a little friend, so cute!
I’ll get to the grades first, and then tell about what happened and when.
Bathrooms are plentiful and the designers of the building were good enough to add “Family” bathrooms which I’m sure makes it easier for anyone with small children. These bathrooms were still not quite as high tech and wonderful as those at Lake County Fairgrounds which seem to be the gold standard now (at least in my humble opinion), but were quite nice and considering the crowds were quite clean. The stalls were large enough to change in as well.
We shiba folks are made of sterner stuff though, we changed right at the bench. We talked about having a contest next year … my money’s on Jane Chapin.
For bathrooms, I have to give them a B+, good but not perfect.
There was plenty of food available. If you wanted to go upstairs to the food court and watch the dog show from your table you could. There was a great variety of food there (reminded me of the Kraft Foods cafeteria actually only more $$), but it was not cheap, it was going to be double digits for a full meal that probably wouldn’t cost 50% away from McCormick Place, but it’s all about location. I can’t say how good it was because I elected to do pizza off the main floor on Saturday ($5 a slice, but it’s Chicago style, filling and I haven’t had Connie’s pizza in a long time) and then on Sunday we hiked over to the North Building where there was a McDonald’s. The Auto Show was there and it looks to be a pretty snazzy show. In addition to these two options, there was a plethora of food stands all over the dog show with pizza, pretzels, drinks, etc.
For Food, I give an A because there was every kind imaginable and at various prices, also sitting upstairs watching the dog show was probably pretty cool.
Parking, for me this might have been the most exciting part. In the past I’ve had to either unload, then drive to the parking lot outdoors and then wait for a shuttle back (which could take awhile sometimes) or hoof it back to the show site which was a goodly walk and in late February on the lakefront it can be pretty darned cold and windy. Or I could unload in the parking lot and drag my dogs and all their “stuff” up to the building, again a very long walk and brrrrrr cold.
This year, what a pleasure. It was more expensive ($17.00 a day) but so worth it to be able to drive into the garage, unload and take the short walk to the show. The first day I had to work a little harder because the level with the dog show was allegedly full and so I parked on Level 3 and had to take the elevator up. The elevator was pretty small and also somewhat difficult to get through the door to the elevator with a cart with dogs, chair, grooming table, etc.
But on Sunday, I was there an hour earlier and got to park on the same level as the show, and even better … “special” parking for low emission vehicles which would include “Lottie” my Toyota Highlander Hybrid. As a result, I left the benching area at 3:45pm, got to the car, loaded it up and was on my way OUT of the parking garage by 4 even with stopping for my annual hug from Ed Haas (he’s president of Elgin KC where I’m a member and he’s also a green coat wearing member of IKC)!!!!
ANYONE who has attended IKC at the North Building and had to take their car up the ramp to load up knows this is nothing short of a miracle!
A few years back, I had a friend from Michigan who said it took him longer to get from the parking lot to the loading area (he had a larger vehicle) then it did to get back home to Michigan. The line was literally a mile long. So this is a big improvement, at least for those of us who don’t have a bunch of dogs entered and probably makes it easier for those that do, just because we’re not in line too.
Directions could be a little better marked, I drove past it the first day and had to make a U-turn, and the second day I knew I needed to be more in the left lanes, but then passed it again and had to sneak in through the vendors area and slip between columns … I know I’m not describing this adequately, but suffice it to say, I’m usually good with instructions and these weren’t as clear as I would like. Maybe I need blinking lights …
Parking is so greatly improved, that it gets an A (if it were a bit cheaper and better marked, I might give it an A++++).
Overall Grade for Show: a Solid A taking into consider my overall joy with the parking lot, great variety of food in type and cost and the fact that I LOVE a benched show.
Now on to the judges/results.
I wasn’t there on Thursday or Friday, but congratulations to Tammy Szabo on finishing “Jack” Tobishi’s Top Shelf Lick’r with a Best of Breed from the classes on Friday. Good job, and Mickey sends a thumbs up to his great great grandson!
Driving into IKC on Saturday was a bit nervewracking. We were under the threat of a winter storm watch and expecting anywhere between 4 and 8 inches of snow. It was falling when I left Wonder Lake at the rate of about an inch an hour and I could verify that by how much fell in the time I was letting dogs out to exercise. They came in looking like little snow dogs. So at 5:30am I ventured out into the blizzard. The slippy slidey light in my car went on going up the hill outside of our house but I was hoping by the time I got to Wonder Lake Road (which is a secondary road) that it might be plowed…. NOT!
Slowly I drove to Route 120 (which is a primary route). I was sure IT would be clear NOT! I would say that I was driving through a good 4 inches of snow on 120, reminded me of driving those little cars at the amusement parks, only faster. The ruts in the snow definitely kept me in line.
It was just falling too fast for the plows to keep up with it, but I went slow and easy about 35-40 mph and amazingly was not passed by anyone, but it was obviously pretty early, so there really wasn’t much traffic out at that point, just crazy dog people. By the time I got to the closer suburbs the snow had diminished and the plows were getting to work so from that point on, I could go along at maybe 5 under to the speed limit and made decent time, but the whole trip took me about 2.5 hours but some of that was just traffic in the city.
Jack and Friend in the benching area
We showed to Mrs. Rita Holloway from Newark, Delaware. I have never shown to her before, so really have no idea yet what she’s looking for based on one appearance, as well as it being a pretty small entry. She did appreciate Jack’s attitude, which is full of tail wags and shiba kisses. This show had a major entry in dogs, but unfortunately the major was broken both days for various reasons which I won’t go into. Yori Green’s male was WD from the Amateur Owner-Handler class and also Best AOH shiba. This was quite a popular class at IKC this year because in essence they were charging only the AKC fee for entry and that was $3.50! Jane Chapin had the WB & BW, Topaz. Rebecca Powell’s bitch Masami I believe was Best Puppy. The “Garden Shiba” Ban was Best of Breed. Unfortunately nothing in the groups for any of the shibas.
After judging, I had the pleasure of mentoring a couple of people who are applying for shibas in the next year or so and we went over all the dogs that were shown. It’s always interesting to get other people’s opinions and discuss the finer points of the breed. I also took one of them over to the handler area so we could go over Ban as well, as I think he’s a pretty nice boy. He’s pretty nice in personality too. Very outgoing and gives really nice shiba kisses. He does a good job representing shibas in the group.
Sunday morning, the snow was cleared off the roads for the most part, except where it blew onto the road in a few places, and I left even earlier for the earlier 8am judging (note to self … put a note in asking for later judging next year). It was a lovely drive in and I cruised down Lake Shore Drive as the sun was coming up over Navy Pier and the big ferris wheel there. It was beautiful and made me miss the city a little bit. It’s very interesting driving on LSD because the posted speed is 40, and I was going between 50-55 and getting in everyone’s way … it’s no wonder that both days going back home was delayed by accidents on the side of the road.
Ban, the "Garden Shiba"
The trip to Chicago this day took a little less time because the weather was better, and also, I corrected some of the weird things the GPS had me do, such as turning right on Harlem from Milwaukee Avenue and then left on Caldwell, when I could have just turned left on Caldwell in the first place, not really far out of the way, maybe 1/2 mile, but I don’t know why it does that sometimes. Making a note of this, so I can try to remember next year!
Rumor (Photo by Yori Green)
Sunday’s judge was Mrs. Dorothy Dalton from Stuart, FL who I know enjoys judging shibas. She’s been to Japan and just really likes the breed. We appreciate a judge who makes that extra effort to get to know them. Jack, who was there just for practice as he only needs a major, actually put his feet on the table when we went up to it, so he’s really starting to get the hang of it. Yori’s male was again WD and went through to BW and Best AOH shiba. Jacklyn’s pretty sesame bitch Rumor was WB. Ban, again was BOB (I told Chris to please go back to his area and stay there ) Yori’s male got a Group II in the AOH group under Mrs. Peggy Haas who also is good to shibas, nothing in the group for Ban, but I’m sure it was a really tough group. So far, the AKC shows no placement for any shiba in the groups this weekend at any show, bummer!
More about the shows and benching.
Benched shows are really fun, although very tiring. The Chicago show doesn’t really have benches per se anymore, they put up posts and our numbers are hung from some sort of cord. I have to admit, no one really worries about getting their dog necessarily under the right number, but we were pretty well spread out under all of them. I had cards made with my website on them (on Friday, I’m so prepared…) and passed out a lot of them to possible future shiba owners.
There are many thousands of spectators at this show, and it’s an EXCELLENT opportunity to educate the public about shibas, about where they can get a shiba, why they shouldn’t get a shiba at a pet store, what makes a responsible breeder, etc., etc.
Interestingly I did not hear nearly as much comparison to a fox as in past years, probably a lot of people saw the Shiba Puppy Cam and now know what they are. I heard it mentioned several times. I have no voice today from talking so much, next year I should make up a poster.
1. His name is Ryder (or Jack)
2. He is five years old (or 18 months old)
3. Yes, he is full grown, he is on the smaller side for a male (in Ryder’s case)
4. Yes, they can be bigger/smaller
5. Yes, you can pet him, he likes it
6. Shibas are a Japanese breed
Ryder and Jack and the other shibas when they were out on the tables or on the floor were mobbed by spectators. Uno (the beagle that won the Garden in 2008) has nothing on Ryder. Ryder is the perfect dog to take to a benched show. He loves everyone … but I had to tell people he’s not the “typical” shiba temperament or I’m sure a lot of folks would go right out and get one! Jack was pretty good too, although the noise of one camera lens made him a little nervous so I put him away for a while to rest. They both had their photos taken so many times and I got some of the people who actually posed with them to send photos to me in email so I could put them in here.
Chicago is really a beautiful city and so much has changed since I moved away in 2000. There are new buildings I haven’t even seen yet, one I think might be the Trump Tower and it is just gorgeous. I think maybe Jonathan and I need to do the tourist thing someday and take in the sights.
Next week: Wisconsin KC at West Allis, WI