A L E T T E R F R OM T H E A K C P R E S I D E N T
E ach and every year, I am reminded that the West- minster Kennel Club Dog Show is an achievement in and of itself at any venue. A show of significant his- tory and traditions, it is one of the most anticipated days on the American Kennel Club calendar and resides at the top of many a fancier’s list. This year, the event was no excep- tion. With the challenges of COVID-19, many questioned the possibilities. The results were, in a word, spectacular. It began with the Club’s foresight and careful planning; Westminster’s continual outreach to the fancy leading up to the 145th Dog Show, the Masters Agility Championship and Masters Obedience Championship. Advance consultation with health advisors was completed thoroughly and expeditiously. From their elegant and socially-distanced Judges Dinner Thurs- day evening until Best in Show, the festivities proceeded suc- cessfully with the safety and enjoyment of participants in mind. What could be more fun than having Pat Trotter as my dinner partner? Her wit, knowledge, story-telling, and achieve- ments left me in awe. We reveled in memories of the past as we spoke of pioneers in our sport who deserve to be held forever in the highest esteem: Sunny, Nigel, Ellsworth, Derek, Tom and Ann, plus so many others. I thought about Pat’s achievements. Wow. The number of Vin-Melca Breed wins leading to eleven Group Firsts is aston- ishing and well-deserved. In my mind, I see “Craige-hounds” through the image of Vagabond. I recall, many years ago, Mr. Kendrick’s telling people that our greatest judge of Hounds was Babbie, and Babs was not shy to state that Pat was a great breed- er; a full circle of facts. The dinner was excellent, the speeches were eloquent, and the company was grand—setting the stage for a very special weekend. The Club’s leadership rose to the unique challenges of the year and, overwhelmingly, exceeded every expectation. Chat, David, David, Florence, Linda, Gail, and Paul deserve con- gratulations from everyone in our sport. I am sure many oth- ers contributed their efforts and they too deserve our grati- tude. We each know the challenges an outdoor site faces, and this one can be more than difficult in uncooperative weather; needless to say, the conditions were, thankfully, delightful each day. Knowing the venue well from countless years of shows brought back memories of quality events held at Lyndhurst. However, this layout surpassed the best of the past. Rings were large and well-tented, with spacious aisles and television moni- tors positioned thoughtfully throughout. A 6:30 a.m. arrival each day at the show site ensured effi- cient passage through health screening protocols. At the top of the morning, Pat and Chris had the AKC booth humming.
Next door, Take The Lead was busy serving our community in their usual caring and friendly way. Tim, Sandy, and Mark were on hand representing AKC for our Judges and exhibitors. Mari-Beth assured quality partici- pation for Juniors. The Group/BIS building was quite impres- sive. Just imagine a mini-Madison Square Gar- den; no detail was overlooked. The set-up was fabulous and appeared as if we were really in New York City at The Garden. I am told by those not in attendance that the FOX televised airings were excellent and our community appreciated the quality of the Breed coverage. In spite of the changes at Westminster this year—new date, new site, new condi- tions—there seemed to be a feeling amongst us that, yes, we’re really back at Westminster, we’re together, the pandemic is subsiding, and things will be fine. The 145th Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show proved the resilience of our sport and the endurance of AKC tra- ditions. This was my 54th consecutive year at Westminster and it left me eagerly awaiting my 55th. Once again, I congratulate each and every one in the Westminster Kennel Club for a show that no one will forget.
DENNIS SPRUNG AKC PRESIDENT/CEO As ever,
SHOWSIGHT MAGAZINE, JULY 2021 | 167
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