MONTGOMERY COUNTY KENNEL CLUB
THE ‘BEST’ OF MONTGOMERY: A LOOK BACK WITH THE BIS JUDGES
KEITH L. LOVELL 2011 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? I am not sure when I first became aware of Montgomery County Kennel Club and the great prestige that it held among Terrier lovers. However, when in 1978 I was awarded an International Teaching Fellowship to spend a year with Montgomery County Schools, I was elated. It was not until a short time after I’d arrived in the US that I learned that while Montgomery County, Maryland, was close, I was not where I thought. Probably, visits to my home in Melbourne (Australia) by Peter and Gaynor Green and Ric Chashoudian helped, as we talked so very much. I know Peter spoke so fondly of Dr. Deubler. During 1979 in the US, together with my wife, Trish, I was able to bor- row an Airedale. I groomed and handled her to third placings in both the sweepstakes and classes at Montgomery. A fair placement, we thought. It took but a few moments at the show to realize how significant this even was. The quality of the dogs, the presentation, and the handling was more than a joy to behold. The mix of enthusiasts from too many countries to mention and the welcome given by MCKC and its volunteers through the Interna- tional Visitor Hospitality Marquee was heart-warming and breathtaking, and just plain wonderful. The Airedale Terrier Club of America was equally welcoming. Having been to Montgomery gave me an “international fam- ily,” and wherever I judged after that year, we Terrier Folk had a common language; a common experience. I must emphasize too that most of my comments above are the fringe benefits. The real deal was the quality of dogs and the depth of that qual- ity. Large numbers of Terriers (and in this case, amazingly good Terriers), is a rarity anywhere in the world. At MCKC, it is a given. From a Terrier breeder’s, exhibitor’s, and judge’s point of view, the mentoring and learning available, and generally, so willingly given, has been of lifelong value. People like Wood Wornall, Peggy Beisel-McIlwaine, Charles Foley, Bruce Swartz, David Merriam, Anne Katona, and so many others will know that they have influenced me out of their love for Terriers and through their personal gener- osity. I have considerable regard for two members of the Event Committee, Marcy Zingler and Dr. Suzanne Hampton, to whom I owe so much in my relationship with Montgomery County Kennel Club. You will always find them in Hospitality or Breeder Education, and announcing at the show. I urge readers of my notes to look them up. 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? The real pressure was, and continues to be, keeping my ego under control and not bursting my swollen head. Just imagine the Dog World Celebri- ties I’ve joined as a Best in Show Judge at Montgomery: Only two other Australians, the late David Roche and late Peter Luyten, place me in mind- blowing company here in Australia; many great American Terrier men and women (some of whom I have already mentioned above); and some amazing dog world identities, like the late Hans Lehtinen, Ferelith Somerfield, Kari Jarvinen, and Harry O’Donoghue. There was some pressure in choosing the right tie for so prestigious an occasion, and my delightful daughter, who had attended two previous Montgomerys with me (1979 as a five-year-old and 1986 at age 12) gifted me one for the occasion. Your question refers to “heading a panel.” In truth, I have always believed that the important and most challenging judging is done at the BREED lev- el. While there may be exceptions, there can be no exception at Montgomery where the breeds are strong and the quality is deep. Inmost cases, too, the judg- es are chosen by the breed clubs who will wisely choose only the best. A good example in my own breed, Airedales, is Rhonda Davis, judging 98 Airedales.
MICHAEL J. DOUGHERTY 2007 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? It is without question the most important Terrier show in the world, and quite frankly, one of the most sig- nificant dog shows—all breed or otherwise—worldwide. It has been so for many, many decades. The events are always impeccably laid out and managed; beautiful sites, great dogs from the classes on up, and well thought out judging panels. What is the significance of heading the judging panel at “The Greatest Terrier Show?” Is there any particular pres- sure that comes with this Best in Show assignment? It is a once-in-a-lifetime event. Focus and enjoy it... nothing matters but the 28 [in 2007] entries in front of you. Presented with an embarrassment of riches in dog flesh, the task will be a joy, memorable on every level! The competition at the Breed level is always high at Montgomery. Have you judged any specialties at this show? Have your dogs won any specialties? I had the honor, in 2015, of judging the National Spe- cialty for my family’s original breed—Miniature Schnau- zers. I have also judged the Parson Russell National Specialty (2011) at Montgomery, as well as a number of supported entries and Junior Showmanship (2004). Do you have a word or two about your Best in Show winner and the dogs that placed in the Group? My BIS lineup in 2007 was stellar from top to bot- tom—all 28 breeds/varieties. The breed judges before me all did a fantastic job in sorting through their assign- ments. As I recall, I made a cut of about 11, maybe 12, from which I chose my four. I couldn’t have been more pleased with my finalists... winner through fourth. Is there a particular “Montgomery Memory” (or two) that you can share that best exemplifies the spirit of this iconic dog show? Mostly, other than last year, the show will go on... rain, frigid temperatures, winds or high heat, the show will carry on with aplomb. The officers, members, staff, and exhibitors wouldn’t have it any other way. (It is Montgomery, after all.)
168 | SHOWSIGHT MAGAZINE, SEPTEMBER 2021
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