the ‘best’ of MONTGOMERY A LOOK BACK WITH THE BEST IN SHOW JUDGES
JAMES G. REYNOLDS 1978 & 1996 BEST IN SHOW JUDGE
Do you have a word or two about your Best in Show winner and the dogs that placed in the Group? Interestingly enough, my winner in 1978 was Copper Boots Wee Blaste, and in 1996, it was Anasazi Billy The Kid, both of whom are Welsh Terriers. I always feel that it is unwise to use hindsight in critiqu- ing dogs, as I have heard too many critiques today—and found many discrepancies—of animals in the past that I was privileged to judge. I will, however, say that in 1978, my choice was between the Scottie, Dem- ocrat, and the Welsh bitch. And as a Scottie breeder, I found it difficult. Is there a particular “Montgomery Memory” (or two) that you can share that best exemplifies the spirit of this iconic dog show? I am not certain if these memories are iconic, but they certainly stayed with me. In 1978, I wasn’t allowed to go to the show until late afternoon. It was a bitterly cold day and people had been buying ther- mal blankets. When I got there, one of the sweeps judges was two hours late. When I got to go into the ring around 6 p.m., it was dark and cold, and for my moment in the spotlight, the show chair said, “For God’s sake, be quick or we will have to bring cars with headlights.” It was so cold that I could barely use the pen. In 1996, I was allowed to go to the show, and midway through the day, a young lady from Canada (Jody Garcini) came up to me and said that it must be so exciting to do Best in Show. I told her that it was and that I had done it before in 1978. Her response, “Oh, Mr. Reynolds, I wasn’t even born then.” HON. DAVID C. MERRIAM 1982 & 1999 BEST IN SHOW JUDGE The Montgomery County Kennel Club dog show is widely considered to be one of the finest events of its kind in the world. Why do you think this show is held in such high esteem? The strength of Montgomery has been in the quality of its leaders (especially Dr. Jo Deubler who was show chair for so many years), the decision of so many parent clubs to hold their national specialties at MCKC (choosing their own judges), and the realization of the Terrier breeders and owners that this is the showcase show of the year. What is the significance of heading the judging panel at “The Greatest Terrier Show?” Is there any particular pressure that comes with this Best in Show assignment? Of course, it is an honor to be invited to judge BIS at Montgomery and to enjoy the privilege to judge a ring full of splendid Terriers. I never felt any special pressure other than the usual obligation to do your very best.
The Montgomery County Kennel Club dog show is widely con- sidered to be one of the finest events of its kind in the world. Why do you think this show is held in such high esteem? Montgomery County grew out of the heydays of the Terrier world and was greatly benefitted by having the patronage of many of the wealthiest in the East Coast of the US as well as many of the most dedicated of the breeder-exhibitors. It is this combination of benefits that provided the basis of the show, and then there was the dedicated group who protected and advanced it over the years. In my time, it was the Marvins, Dr. Deubler, the Wears, Walter Goodman, Mrs. Wimer, and many others with the support of the Terrier handlers, breeders, owners, etc., who helped it grow, as many of the national specialties gravi- tated to the shows on the Frazier estate, then Temple University, and on to the show grounds of today. It became a cult of the Terrier people, and as word spread, people throughout North America (and later, internationally) came to see this show as the Mecca for Terrier people; acknowledged as the place to see the very best. It began as a Group show, but the addition of so many national specialties made it “THE GROUP SHOW.” What is the significance of heading the judging panel at “The Greatest Terrier Show?” Is there any particular pressure that comes with this Best in Show assignment? It is a great honor to be invited to do Best in Show, some- thing I did in both 1978 and 1996. I think, as a Terrier person, it is particularly gratifying, and if you think about it, a little ter- rifying to know that you are being observed, and in some ways, judged by the best Terrier people in the world. Interestingly enough, I felt much the same when I did BIS at Westminster. But once you are actually in the ring, the only thing you focus on is the dogs and what you think best meets the standard. This is why the crowds, etc., are extraneous. The competition at the Breed level is always high at Montgom- ery. Have you judged any specialties at this show? Have your dogs won any specialties? I always consider the invitation to judge a national specialty the greatest vote of confidence from the breeders, and over the years, I have judged over 70 national breed specialties in the US, including six Terrier nationals at Montgomery as well as some in other locations in the US.
164 | SHOWSIGHT MAGAZINE, SEPTEMBER 2021
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