REFLECTING ON MILESTONES
PARTICIPATION IN THE SPORT Just like everything in life, our sport is also undergoing constant change. Part of the charm of our great sport of purebred dogs is the truly unique diversity that each of us who are participants brings to the table. What other hobby, profession, or com- petition can you think of that has such a diverse group of participants? We have all ages, all races, all religions, diverse sexual orientations, every political view, people with average incomes, and those with great resources. We have a variety of breeders, owners, and exhibitors, from newcom- ers to professionals and everything in between. Our participants come from all walks of life with a variety of backgrounds, and we have a sport that exists throughout the world, made up of people dedicated to man’s best friend. Through my nearly five decades in this sport, I can honestly say that my involve- ment has introduced me to people, places, experiences, and relationships that I would have never thought possible in my youth. The sport also brought Carol into my life, and we are about to celebrate 38 hap- py years of marriage. Even after all these years, we both share in our love of the dogs; breeding, showing, and judging together. Rumor has it that the average length of involvement in our sport is between three and five years. So, I guess just surviving all of these years is a milestone in itself. Reflecting on my journey, I have had many milestones. Like many in our sport, I started with a “pet quality” puppy bought from a newspaper advertisement. Little did I know that my little Old English Sheep- dog puppy would change my life. Her name was “Ginger,” and like most newbies, I did not have a clue about rais- ing, grooming, and training a puppy. For- tunately, I met a man while walking her one day. His name was John Tacejko and he was a member of the Western Reserve Kennel Club and the Old English Sheep- dog Club of America, as well as a founding member of the Western Reserve Old Eng- lish Sheepdog Club; all clubs that I would eventually join and learn a great deal from. John invited me to a club “fun day” where I met other OES owners who were won- derful about helping me and teaching me how to groom, etc. Eventually, I went to my first sanc- tioned “B” match and I still have the first ribbon I ever won from that match. I went to many matches that were very available in those days, and I learned how to show and groom and practice my handling skills
for the show ring. Unfortunately, it did not take me long to realize that Ginger was not a show dog—but I had already been bit- ten by the bug. So, I began to search for a “show prospect.” While I pursued a real “show dog,” Irma Dixon of the Cleveland All-Breed Training Club encouraged me to train Ginger for an obedience title. Back in those days, very few OES competed in obedience. So, I took on Irma’s challenge to get Ginger trained so that she could compete at the OESCA National Specialty in Obedience the following year. I earned the first two legs toward her CD that win- ter, and then waited until the National Specialty where I was fortunate to qualify with a third-place to complete her CD. As I pursued my show dog, I went through the heartbreak of two puppies that had dysplasia before I was able to obtain my first champion from Ken and Paula Leach. His name was Cheerio Olde Eng- lish Jester. “Jester” finished at the Greater Portland OES specialty, and together we enjoyed a good competitive career in the old Working Group. When I think back, there were many milestones moments; first ribbon, first sanctioned match Best of Breed and Group placement, first leg in Obedience, first Obedience title, first Conformation points, first Champion, first Group place- ment, and so on. Since those early days, each of my dogs, litters, and different breeds has provided a
these people and from so many others. We learned from the people and judges at the shows. We would have dinner with the judges and they would share their experi- ence and knowledge, and no one ever ques- tioned the integrity of the judges because of it. We had many great learning experi- ences, but we also had our share of issues, tensions, jealousies, and occasional rifts. However, in those days, there was a lot more respect given to the judges as well as to our fellow exhibitors. Everyone knew that it took hard work and dedication, and if you were willing to pay your dues, even- tually, success would come. I can remember the Late Tommy Oel- schlager with his Siberian Huskies, and me with my OES, talking about how cool it would be to earn a Group 3 or 4 at the shows when Lina Basquette with her Great Danes and Tommy Glassford with a Sam- oyed of the Hritzo’s dominated the Groups in our area back in those days. Over the years, the sport has changed a great deal. During the 1970s, little black and white newspapers were started. These were way different than what we have today, but they were “current” publications and probably the first that were devoted exclusively to “show dogs.” Popular Dogs and the AKC Gazette were out there, but the early newspapers were the first to show- case dogs currently being shown. In the years since that first black and white edition was published, there have been numerous others that have come and gone on the show scene. UP-TO-DATE & EVER-CHANGING It was 30 years ago this month that SHOWSIGHT came on the scene, and it has continued to grow into possibly the best publication in our sport. Through the years, SHOWSIGHT has been the one magazine that tries to bring its readers up- to-date information in our ever-changing world of purebred dogs. AJ Arapovic and his staff work hard to bring information to the masses about individual breeds through informative articles on subjects ranging from anatomy, structure, and gait to those about each specific breed, including topics such as how to judge the breed, interviews with successful breed- ers, in-depth information on how breeds have changed, the current show scene, selections dedicated to the various Groups and Owner-Handlers, spotlighting Junior Showmanship, and providing recaps and photos of shows and just about everything related to our sport, both past and present.
milestone moment along the way. LEARNING FROM MENTORS
In the early 1970s, there was no Inter- net, cell phones, or trophies for just par- ticipating. Everything you got was earned. The only way to learn and succeed was to do your research through various books and publications or by observing and learning from mentors in the breed who were willing to help. Joining those clubs previously men- tioned was also a huge source of knowl- edgeable people who were generous in sharing and encouraging anyone who wanted to learn. I have many fond memories of talking OES (as well as other breeds in general) with people I met through the clubs and at the shows. In OES, Cass Moulton-Arble, Ken Kopin, Hugh and Linda Jordon, Ken and Paula Leach, Anna Jacobsen and oth- ers, as well as such notables as Max Riddle, Lina Basquette, Frank Oberstar, Sam Piz- zino, David Parker, Tommy Glassford, Bob and Ellen Fetter, and Bob Stein… just to mention a few. I learned a lot from
136 | SHOWSIGHT MAGAZINE, DECEMBER 2021
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