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doginfo

2011 July

Fun Times in Oklahoma!

At long last it is show season. We’ve reached that time of the year when there is a specialty show somewhere in this country almost every weekend, when vacation days are used for Friday and Monday travel and the various Internet lists are busy with reports of points won and championships completed.

In some parts of the country, those that seldom experience the rigors of winter, there are specialty shows nearly year round. But for those of us who have four distinct seasons, the specialty season is significantly shorter. Not only do we not have shows in our area, but travel to more moderate climates in significantly restricted.

So it was with great pleasure that several months ago I began to consider what Futurity I wanted to enter. There are of course a number of things to consider when selecting a Futurity to enter, although the new policy allowing double entries this year may have made it a little easier for some.  Like a lot of people my decision points were judges that might like my dog and how far I would have to travel, but also the date of the show. The Review has to be at the printer by the 20th of each month, and that is the date that drives everything else on the calendar.

Luckily this year I was able to make all three considerations work. The Oklahoma clubs were hosting a Futurity and three shows in Oklahoma City, the judge they chose for the Futurity likes those funny-colored dogs, and  if I worked extra hard I could get the magazine to the printer by the 17th, leaving time for review of the proofs before I had to leave!

The other plus was that I knew from experience what a great weekend this would be. We’ve been going to shows in Oklahoma City since the early ‘80s. Often we’d have three or four cars driving in convoy from Colorado. And we always had a good time when we arrived.

This year was no exception. Even the torrential downpour that greeted our arrival couldn’t dampen the enthusiasm of the local club members who seemed to be everywhere getting things ready for the shows. I have to say it was a bit of a challenge to exercise the dogs during the deluge -- neither one of them wanted to be out there -- but as we all know, there's not a thing even the most energetic club can do about the weather.

The shows were well-attended. Friday's show drew four points; the two shows on Saturday each drew five points.  On Friday there was a rather large puddle right at the corner of the ring where hapless double-handlers had to run. I know -- I was one of them. We had the only 6-9 Puppy Dog entered, so there wasn't as much running during the class, but doubling during Winners was an entirely different experience. There wasn't any good way to avoid the corner where the mud puddle was growing larger with every class. I'm no longer an athletic runner (I'm always glad people are watching the dogs run, not me), but "Lake Mud" and I became very well acquainted that day. Most of you know that I have rather long legs. Well by the end of the day my jeans were completely caked in mud nearly up to my knees.

It was worse for the handlers in the ring. Many of them were in the ring for every class, and the ground beneath their feet took a beating.  Before the show was over, the mud literally sucked a shoe from  two different handlers, giving those watching ringside a good chuckle. Luckily no one was injured.

I have to applaud the clubs for everything they did to make a good show environment and take care of the exhibitors. The ring was set up to take maximum advantage of the shade. The shows ran smoothly and there was always someone available to answer questions. Did I mention the Hospitality Room? Oh my goodness. I can't imagine how many people contributed to that effort. There was always something available for breakfast, cold beverages during the day, and a lunch spread as wonderful as any we've seen. We were even treated to some very special brownies; I'm sure that recipe is a closely-guarded secret. If you ever get a chance to attend the Oklahoma shows, be sure to go. You'll be glad you did.

The best part about Futurity weekends -- for me anyway -- is the chance to see so many friends from different parts of the country. It is fun to visit with people we only see once or twice a year, and to see the dogs that we've only heard about in phone calls. Now when our friends tell tales of the newest puppy we at least have a mental image to draw from. Of course by the time we see them again we may not recognize them, but at least we have some idea of what they're talking about. Of course Futurities provide a sort of sneak preview of the National in the fall and from what we saw in Oklahoma, there should be some really nice contenders in Topeka.