ShowSight January 2019

AKC MEET THE BREEDS® and BEST BOOTH CONTEST “What kind of dog is that??”

“How much grooming do they require?” “Do they get along with ?” These and more are the questions bandied about during what we affectionatelly call MTB. The surprise is that not only are spectators gathering in- formation, but breeders and exhibitors stretch their mental powers learning new breeds and learning more about those already established. Perhaps that’s why I am so gung-ho about this project; as a breeder I’m as equally driven to education as I am preservation. I think they go hand in hand. Lending a hand this year to judge the 171 breed booths—a record!—was a judging team with stag- gering expertise. Pictured left to right are Pete Green, Daniel Cartier, Sioux Forsyth-Green, Jacquelyn Fogel, Zell vonPohlman, Cindy Stansell, Chair Joe McGinnis, Gayle Denman, Diana Skibinski, Michelle Scott, Mark Benson, Pete Scott and Rob Skibinski. Special thanks to Michael Canalizo, Gina DiNardo, Amy Havernick, Phil Guidry (and probably many oth- ers) who make my job a pleasure each time. ShowSight has been a sponsor of MTB and this contest for many years and I’m very proud to have a small part in this great big beautiful event. As you can see in the photos, a fine time was had by all. To clarify the process: each parent club is invited by AKC to participate; I applaud those who do. The amount of work that goes into these booths, which range all the way from very serviceable sources of in- formation to wildly elaborate celebrations of their cho- sen breed, is extremely impressive. And of course it’s all volunteer, making it even more mind-boggling. Our judges evaluate each booth on the following: IS IT IMPRESSIVE? It’s obvious that some of these clubs consider their booth a high priority, sinking hun- dreds of hours of effort and much money into these presentations. IS IT EDUCATIONAL? The number one goal is to very rapidly catch the attention of people in atten- dance be they veteran or simply wishing to learn more about the breeds they admire. (And as I said, it’s not only for the un-indoctrinated; we all benefit from their work.) Is there take-away literature? Does the booth itself “teach” when empty? At times the entire team is ringside elsewhere for Breed judging, yet we hope that viewers can still take away enough intriguing in- formation as to whet their appetite for more. IS IT ENTERTAINING? We’re dealing mostly with companion-animal owners so the attractiveness and excitement generated by the booth carries great weight. Most booth committees try to use this oppor- tunity to point out the behaviors that make the breed invaluable to a family or friend. IS IT APPROACHABLE? Are numerous examples of the breed there to see, touch, talk to, and with whom to fall in love? Is a family welcome, kids and all, to converge on the presenters and ask many of the same questions over and over? The patience I’ve seen ex- hibited by these teams is amazing. You guys have my utmost respect. Judges then evaluate all the offerings in their Vari- ety Group before awarding placements one through four...and let me tell you, these decisions are not easy. For the finale, another judge chooses Best Booth In Show. (There’s a video on titled “Best in Booth” which shows us awarding BBIS). The wonderful reac- tion of the recipients never fails to thrill. >

Photos by David Woo for AKC

S how S ight M agazine , J anuary 2019 • 251

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