The 2016 show is coming up in less than 2 weeks! Here’s the 2016 poster, on display at Pet Food Express store. Admission prices have risen (entry fee was $35.00 per dog event) so bring $$$ if you’re coming, but regular attendees know that. To get in the mood, we’re finishing up the 2015 report. The “advantage” of being late — we’ll get in the mood and be ready to notice what’s new from last year.
So, Saturday, January 24, 2015 was our one day. With 2 separate shows on the 2 days and fewer friends and family to make the trek, one day does it. The weather was fair — always a plus, and the small, perennial group of protesters have learned it is warmer in the afternoon, so the first greeting were some negative sounding signs … no pets, no un-entered dogs, no food, no beverages.
But, we’re here! The American Kennel Club booth is front and center, this year featuring lots of bags, more bags and garment bags.
From the main concourse, turn up concrete stairs to get a look at the main arena. What’s this? There is no center aisle! The wide aisle with potted trees (good for hiding) and lined with the Cow Palace’s heavy but cushioned folding chairs is no more. The place for spectating associates of exhibitors to hold extra stuff to pass to handlers, mark catalogs and actually watch judging. The place for all kinds of insider visitors to see and be seen, greet old friends and make new ones and watch judging without inane comments from unknowing spectators. Gone.
We can just make out the Cavalier ring and Professional Handler Bill McFadden (leaning forward,) so there’s serious competition there. Note, bring binoculars if you want to seriously watch judging.
Keep on moving. Let’s walk the benches in the South and North Halls of the Main Arena. Regional AKC breed clubs compete for best decorated bench or at least an effort to identify themselves. This is the Toy Fox Terrier club, but eventually we do find the Rat Terrier Club.
Nostalgia…childhood neighbor’s father was among the original organizers of this club…in 1938. A Boxer and Saint Bernard breeder and AKC judge, he walked everywhere as though he was in a conformation ring, about to make awards.
The Pembrokes may be getting too popular…
This is a Bracco Italiano, the Italian pointer.
And here is a benchful of Mudik (plural) — the Mudi is a rare, Hungarian herding breed. The bench format is a rare opportunity for both the fancy and public to see uncommon dogs (and their people.)
There are breed information and rescue tables apart from the bench areas.
Always the happiest, busiest vendor on the concourse descending from the South Hall.
And in 2015, a fancy coffee truck brought in – beverage to go with your candy!
If you haven’t found what you’re looking for, the club information table is now a regular feature.
Best to do some browsing before heading outside to the “Lower” halls — something like window shopping before moving on to much more. There are services as well as products.
Paw Print Genetics offers a number of genetic tests – we have to keep up with what’s new.
The entrepreneurial spirit always brings out ambitious startups with high hopes. In 2015 one of these was The Bulldog Baths, a new day care and boarding facility at 132 Turk St, in the Tenderloin (close to the Warfield Theater) of San Francisco. The business name had a colorful history as a former gay baths. Now it offered “cage free and tailored adventures” for dogs. Unfortunately, the operators closed during the first year when “our Dog Resort sadly no longer makes economic sense.”
This stack of unusual crates along with a ramp really caught our eye. Made in Switzerland and marketed by PETCARE in Sacramento, these “safety crates” come in different sizes according to size of dog AND size of vehicle. Prices run from $500 to $1000.
Over the past 30 years, sturdy crates almost disappeared in favor of inexpensive wire, plastic and now fabric crates that are useful and portable but not strong. There is now consumer demand for crates that can be affixed in vehicles with the strength to withstand crashes and protect the precious cargo.
Another interesting, high end product that might go well in a luxury kitchen were Glasspaw water bowls made of very heavyweight glass in luscious colors.
Then there are all sorts of vendors of the practical, unique and mundane, and some not dog related but marketing to the gate. This one has a color selection of 2-dog leashes.
Tri Tran’s Timitive is best known from street fairs but has inexpensive, useful bags including a must have Dalmatian bag!
Here’s Lets Go Design back for a second year with their high end, all in one dog walking jacket. They even have special plastic cleanup bags to fit the special pocket.
Now, we leave the main building, down ramps and outside to the “lower” buildings with more benches, vendors and rings that are closer to a traditional dog show. Here is the Chesapeake Bay Retriever bench with the gold and brown felt shields that are carefully preserved and used each year to mark each entrant’s space. There is no local club, but the entry is supported by the AKC parent club, the American Chesapeake Club.
Here is the Chesapeake Best of Breed lineup on Saturday under Mrs. Eva Berg.
The breed information/rescue tables are in the same building as the breed is benched, and the Ridgebacks have some eye-catchers this year.
The “Special Attractions” are on the far side. In 2015, Flyball was featured.
Here is the Rat Terrier Club of America.
Back up to the main building, South Hall and the Dalmatian Club of Northern California. The 2015 theme was a take off on the TV show, The Amazing Race.
Dalmatian exhibitor, author and daughter of poet, Anne Gray Sexton, Linda Gray Sexton displayed hard and paper copies of her recent memoir of her family history with the breed. Many of us have similar histories that take our involvement with breeds from an interest to a legacy that includes long gone dogs, family members and friends.
The Dalmatians were away from the bench and in the main arena for judging.
One last look at the main arena.
A last look at the AKC booth…
Out into the afternoon sun to check on the perennial protesters.
They’ve brought plenty of signs to carry and a list of shelters and rescues to pass out, but there is little gate traffic at this time of day and the exhibitors are almost locked in.
One last look and we’re off until next year.
The End 2015