Saturday, January 22, 2011
GCh Ch Aragon Aroi Silver Lining RN
I knew Darby Crash was special from the very start, but I never imagined he'd take something that had been so difficult and not a lot of fun for me and turn it inside out and upside down. Showing in conformation had never been fun until, it was just work and nerves, until I met Darby. The first show he and I went to was about a week after Georgianna gave him to me, he had just turned 6 months and was barely trained to stack. He got a 3 point major that weekend, the judge said it was his exceptional movement. That was the first of many times I would hear that from a judge. When he was 14 months old, we took a chance and drove to 1,400 miles to Ft. Worth Texas for the Greyhound Club of America's Southern Specialty. I was told not to expect much, the competition would be big, perhaps a little out of our league. He finished his Championship at that Specialty, I guess we weren't so far out of our league after all.
Now what? We were working on obedience, but as far as conformation goes, we were finished. He finished his Championship with 16 points, 3 major wins in 7 shows. Although impressive, it was a little disappointing; showing was getting to be fun, and Darby was still maturing and getting nicer and nicer looking by the month. When asked if I was going to 'special' him, the answer was an immediate "YES!". Of course, it would be a shame not to. Specialing a dog is not for everyone; it's expensive, time consuming and can be extremely political. Many people who decide to special a dog go with professional handlers and will heavily campaign a dog with advertisements in breed magazines. And for what? To garner a placement in the top 20 dogs in the country and secure invitations to exclusive shows: the Eukanuba Invitational, Westminster and on the International level, Crufts. Basically, to gain top recognition within the breed. Our goal was slightly less lofty; I wanted him in the top 20. I wanted an invite to the Eukanuba as this is the last year it would be held here in California (it's moving to Florida henceforth). In addition, the AKC had created a new title for Champions of Record this year; Grand Champion; I knew he could do that. And what's more? I knew he could do that with ME; no professional handlers, no big advertising, no selectively showing only to judges we were certain would place him. You know, we do it the hard way!
Here's how it works:
In conformation competition a hound is awarded points towards his or her 'Championship' title by winning in what are called 'Regular Classes'. Points are awarded based on how many other dogs are defeated in the class. Points are classified as minor points (1-2 points each win) or major points (3-5 points each win). A hound is 'Finished' when they reach 15 points total, with at least 2 'majors' under 2 different judges. The minimum age to start competing is 6 months old, all dogs start out with 0 points, of course.
For a 'Grand Championship' title, finished Champions of Record compete at the Specials level (Best of Breed competition only) and are awarded Grand Championship points by winning Best of Breed, Best of Opposite Sex or by being awarded 'Select Dog' or 'Select Bitch' points by the judge at each show. Each Champion of Records starts with 0 Grand Champion points and gains the title after being awarded 25 points with at least 3 majors under 3 different judges. Calculating these points requires a degree in higher math, and I firmly believe the formulas invented to decide how to calculate the points was invented by some bored idiot savant.
So we began anew in April, showing in Best of Breed, owner handled always. We didn't show excessively; one or two shows a month, sometimes more, sometimes less. In the the process, we worked our way up the standings. By the time invitations for the Eukanuba came out, we were #15 in the top 25. We were IN!
We went to the Eukanuba Invitational in Long Beach, California in December.
Darby showed very well, got to see Donna and Georgianna (who came to cheer him on!) and although we didn't place, we got to hang out with a lot of really neat people and hunker down in the 'Meet the Breed' booth when we weren't showing. The show will be aired on ABC this Sunday, January 23rd. Keep your eye out for Darby Crash, he was schmoozing with EVERYONE, cameramen included and may show up in the 'Meet the Breed' interviews. Sort of a "Where's Waldo" to get you to watch the dog show! Except this is "Where's Darby Crash?" We had a really good time, although I can say I won't be traveling to Florida to do it again!
In our last planned long show weekend, we traveled to Palm Springs to show at the Inland Empire/Palm Springs Kennel Club hound special. We got our last needed Select point and two Rally Advanced legs!
Our little Darby Crash is now GCh Ch Aragon Aroi Silver Lining RN. As of October, 2010 there were only 6 Grand Champion Greyhounds in the country (none with any obedience titling), Darby is now amongst them! Stick a fork in us, we are DONE. We plan on taking some well deserved time away from conformation so the baby boy can grow up a little. He finished his Grand Championship less than a year from starting it at the tender age of only 2 years, with 4 majors under 12 judges. Now we let him grow up. We'll work on our obedience, finish rally and start regular obedience competition. In addition to fetching a lot of sticks
Digging a bunch of gophers
and mastering control over his ears
I think his Merlin is showing.