Ryder and I started off early … about 6 a.m. for these shows. I could have left a tad later and taken the fast way, but I prefer the lesser traveled route. This route took us through northwestern Illinois and seemed to follow the Rock River. We passed through Oregon and Mt. Morris and other small towns. I would really like to go back to Oregon sometime with Jonathan and just visit. It’s quite a beautiful place. Unfortunately the Rock River is quite high and there is quite a bit of flooding but that did not affect our trip.
I also enjoy seeing the old houses and a couple of those are here, I think they were in Mt. Morris. I want you to know that I’m taking these while driving, but not taking my eyes from the road. You should see some of the ones that did not come out!
touch up grooming. I knew it would be cold so I didn’t bother bringing my table. Ryder is in beautiful coat and I knew he wouldn’t need much grooming at the show site and grooming space would be at a premium because of the weather. We showed on Saturday to Fred Bassett, a judge I’ve shown to several times. I’m pretty sure he is a pom breeder originally and he likes the red dogs in the group sometimes too. Tammy’s BBE dog Rowdy (Tobishi’s Rough n Rowdy) was hot off two consecutive BOB wins over special at Louisville and maintained his hot streak by taking another major on Saturday.
Jane’s Topaz was WB for her final major to complete her championship. She looked really good, in excellent coat although Jane claims she will blow it in a few weeks so was really happy to get her done as majors have been few and far between around here.
Leslie Anderson’s Ch. Hi Jinx Toukon was Best of Breed and we stayed (and had more pie) and clapped for him in the group after sitting in the cafeteria for a while having pie and their equally excellent potato salad. It was starting to rain just before they announced group order and fortunately it was first. As soon as NS group was over we were outta Dodge and headed south twelve miles to our hotel!
I had reservations at the Quality Inn in Eldridge Iowa . I like it because 1) it’s free because I have a credit card that gives me points toward any Choice Hotel (includes Quality Inn, Comfort Inn & Suites, Clarion, etc.) and 2) because they have really nice walking areas for the dogs, and 3) because it’s free and so is breakfast! After checking in and exercising Ryder, we headed down to Lancer’s Family Restaurant about 1/2 mile down the road, the roads at this point were still okay. We had an interesting “cheeseburger” soup along with a really nice rib eye, had no room for desert. We actually took half a hamburger and a little steak back to Ryder. He wolfed it down and a few minutes later wolfed it back up. But I digress…
We were on the third floor and had a nice view of the road in front of the hotel and were able to watch the weather get quite inclement. Walking Ryder outside was like stepping out to Ice Station Zebra. It was extremely windy and cold. Most of the trees had ice all over their branches. I think Ryder was happier to get back inside than I was and I was very happy I had brought my boots along (although I never did find the gloves).
The following morning we were up bright and early even though we had late afternoon judging. Had breakfast at the hotel, my favorite biscuits and gravy. Then saw Dad and Carol off as they were returning home. I hung around for a bit longer and watched the end of a movie and then loaded up and headed to DeWitt. On the 12 mile trip under 61 I counted ten separate cars off the road from the night before!
DeWitt has an interesting history for me …
1) it’s the site where my most embarrassing moment happened. This would have been in 1984, when I was starting to show Hank (the future Ch. Trillium’s the Right Stuff). Hank was the first dog to be examined in his puppy class, as the judge came to him to examine his bite, he started to sit down (or so I thought). I reached under his rear to restack him and found myself with a handful of you know what! The judge, Bob Young, immediately saw my predicament and decided to examine the other puppies so I could get cleaned up. So there I am, with a handful of muck dripping and cleanup crews enter the ring and clean up the sawdust floor, but no one so much as offers me a paper towel until I request one! I could definitely hear some laughter from the seating area. Hank did win the class by the way and was RWD to the major.
2) Another year that I was there, and I’m not sure exactly when that was, but also mid-80′s. We were there with basenjis and Prissy I think. It was one of those years when it was really cold so I left the basenjis (crated of course) in our hotel room in DeWitt. Upon returning we were straightening up the room only to find we were missing a bedspread. After searching the room for several minutes I realized the bedspread was now in the crate with one of the basenjis … to say that it was damaged was putting it mildly as it had been pulled through the sides of an airline crate. (Note to self, never EVER leave a basenji in a crate where they can reach fabric). I went to the hotel office to tell them I needed to buy the bedspread and they were so nice “maybe we could just repair it”. They just didn’t understand how many small pieces it was in. $45.00 later we left with new basenji bedding.
This year I added number 3. I got to DeWitt in plenty of time … probably before 11:00am for a 1:50 judging. By this time the sun was shining and snow was melting and the fairgrounds was becoming a big mess. Especially the road which was full of mud and puddles. I walked over to the main building to grab another judging schedule and then exercised Ryder. Now Ryder is not one of those dogs that “goes” quickly. So we were walking around for quite a while before he finally did his business. Being the good dog citizen that I am, I was prepared with a plastic bag, scooped it out of the melting snow and deposited it into a garbage can over near where every was pulling in and out of the parking area. This was my big mistake.
As I was returning to the car, my left foot slipped and my right foot didn’t. So I went down in a rather awkward position and hurt my knee a bit. No one was close by so I ended up crawling on my hands and knees (in retrospect I was icing my knee anyway) to a nearby pickup to try to get myself up off the ground. Unfortunately it had a cap on it, so I could reach up and pull myself by that, so I ended up pushing down on the bumper and getting myself up that way (all the while my feet just keep sliding, and I had boots on!). At this point, I’m worried about my knee which I’ve hurt before (falling at a dog show of course) and just wanting to sit down in the car. Next thing I know I’m flat on my back (at least I didn’t hurt anything this time) in a puddle of melting snow and grass. This time I was only near a car with a handicapped tag with some lady getting into it. I don’t think she noticed me in front of her car so I very quickly got out of her way, crawled over to another car and grabbed onto the tire and pulled myself up yet again. Finally made it back to the car where I seriously pondered the thought of just driving away and going home. My skirt was brown at least, so the mud didn’t really show. But my coat needs a trip to the washing machine before I wear it again. I was soaked pretty much from the waist down.
I moved the car to the parking lot at the school across the street from the show site and decided I needed at least to try to show Ryder. So I changed out of my boots (also soaking wet now) into my show shoes and kept walking around until we showed. I knew once I stopped moving the knee was going to stiffen up and then I would have a rough time showing!
Our judge on Sunday was Mrs. Lorraine Boutwell who is a very nice lady and good to the dogs. She found Tammy’s Rowdy for her WD finishing his championship and then put him for Best of Breed for a nice way to finish. Leslie Anderson’s Sea (can’t remember her name) was WB and BOS. I don’t know yet how Rowdy did in group, but I do know it was pretty strong. I was well on my way back home before Tammy got to group as NS was 6th group to be judged.
Back at home now and the knee is pretty sore. Jonathan has to carry Mickey down the stairs for me for a few days. Guess he won’t be able to sleep late on his vacation this week!
It is difficult to rate this show because of weather which is beyond their control but I will try.
Bathrooms: B, compared to some I’ve reviewed recently, these were rather small, but compared to the bathrooms they’ve had in the past, they’re a LOT better!
Food: A, Food is excellent, it could be a little cheaper, but I guess the FFA is there to raise money for their good work, so it’s okay. Eat the pie!
Vendors: B, only one vendor, but he had a lot of stuff along with fresh bait. Also had a professional photographer, McCartney. There is not more reasonable space to have any other vendors.
Parking: B, Adequate for the site, however weather conditions made it hazardous as evidenced by my sore knee.
Grooming: B- not much room for grooming, spread out all over. I usually groom outside at this show, but the temperature was low!
Overall: B, it’s possible I’m being a little bit generous, but it is not a well populated area, and not a lot of good places to hold a show. But if nothing else, go for the homemade pie!