2014 Thanksgiving Classic Cluster a Success!

Peggy Wampold of South Windsor Kennel Club shared a write-up and photos from the recent Thanksgiving Classic Cluster in West Springfield, Massachusetts with us.

Congratulations to all of the clubs that worked so hard to put on such a spectacular event!

The four days of the cluster are put on by the Holyoke Kennel Club, Windham County Kennel Club, South Windsor Kennel Club and Springfield Kennel Club. They were very eventful with a lot of activity and special attractions, including clinics; rally and obedience; Best Puppy, Bred-By Exhibitor, Veteran and Owner-Handled competitions; the 4-6 Month Beginner Puppy Competition; and supported entries and specialties. 

Our entries were up considerably due to the great judging panel, which was much appreciated. On Friday, we had a Canine Good Citizenship test with Sue Cohen as CGC evaluator. On Saturday and Sunday, Dr. William Truesdale was at the show with his portable clinic for on-site semen collection. There was a Well Dog Eye Clinic, a Microchip Implant Clinic, and a heart Auscultation Clinic.

Barbara Ohmann and Penny Leigh from AKC led “AKC’s My Dog Can Do That!” on Saturday and Sunday.  More than 200 dogs went through the course with their owners, most of whom had never been to a dog show or AKC event before.

We had great vendors, thanks to Roberta Davies, our vendor chair. 

There was a lot of Christmas shopping going on and some really fantastic items in the vendor booths.

We also invite the 4-H groups in New England to come and participate in our show. Purebred and mixed breed dogs are all welcome. This year we had over 50 young 4-H kids show up with their dogs and their parents to show in a special handling class. 

In addition to the 4-H activities, we had the HOT (Handlers of Tomorrow) Clinic on Saturday.  More than 67 juniors participated, getting the opportunity to learn from professional handlers. The clinic was followed by a sit down talk given by Mark Rudawicz, the Canine Control officer for Simsbury, CT who talked to the juniors about his “Heroes and Hounds Program” supporting the military and the K-9 officers working abroad. 

Another junior activity was the Northeast Junior Handler of the Year competition open to Juniors from Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hamprhisre, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island or Vermont that had also won a first place in two or more Open classes in the qualifying period. Scholarships for first through fourth places ranged from $1,000 to $200. The Northeast Junior Handler for 2014 was Amanda Brennan handling her Pointer.  

One of the highlights of our cluster each year is presenting the William J.  Trainor Award.  Each year, the member clubs of the cluster recognize someone that they feel has made outstanding contributions to the sport of dogs. Past winners have included Grace Brewin, Wendell Sammet, Fred Olson, Dr. Robert Smith, Tom Davies, David and Peggy Wampold, Mari-Beth O’Neill, Virginia Perry Gardiner and Anna Goulet, Patty Proctor, Ed Lyons, Charlotte Clem McGowan, Penny Kretchmer, Ron Menaker, Rick Krieger and Barbara Ohmann. 

The person we gave the award to this year was most deserving and I think a credit to our dog world.  He grew up in the dog world and has spent his adult life being at the center of it.  Always cheerful and always ready to help, but most of all one of the most important people at all of the shows he attends -- John Ashbey, photographer extraordinaire and a friend to all of us. 

After Best in Show on Sunday is the Grace Brewin Memorial Competition. I like to call it the Best of the Best.  To be eligible to compete, the dog has to be entered all four days, have won Best in Show at least one of the days or have won four group placements over the four days.  This is my favorite competition to watch.  All of the dogs are great dogs and the handlers are really competing against each other as to who can best sell their dog to the judge. 

Great dogs and great handlers, what more can I say. 

The Top Dog of the Cluster was awarded to GCh Darwin Hearts on Fire, Bred and owned by Linda Campbell and shown by Sarah Perchick. 

Great work by the Thanksgiving Classic Cluster!