We’re going to Premier! This post will be updated with show results as the event goes on. 🙂
You can view all of the professional win pics here.
We arrived early in the evening only to discover we weren’t as early as we thought – an hour had been lost crossing into a new time zone. It took a while to set up camp, but our campsite is perfect. We are just across the parking lot from the main building where our dogs will be shown. As it turned out, the camping tent we brought is great for housing fife crates, letting us have the dogs outside or in the RV as we see fit. The evening has been very nice, we enjoyed sitting out under our canopy and a late dinner.
Up at the crack of dawn because I was afraid we would miss our ring time! After putting on our fancy suits and caring for all the dogs, we hurried over to the Expo Center with Mosura and Batora. We arrived in time for the National Anthem to be played. As it turns out we didn’t need to hurry; there were enough other breeds ahead that we had plenty of time. Still, it was cool to get to watch them all. I picked out a Siberian Husky I really liked, and was pleased when the judge liked him too. Later, he went on to win in the semi-finals and take 10th in the finals!
During our Top Ten Breed Preliminaries, Batora sat pretty when the judge tried to get him to look up at him. What a dufus! Mosura was on her best behavior though and showed like a star. She won Top Ten Best of Breed and went on to compete in the semi-finals! But there she met her match – another exhibitor throwing bait on the ground, and a spectator sitting ringside eating lunch and then setting the uneaten food on the floor just a couple feet away from Mosura. I couldn’t get her to look ahead or at the judge for the life of me, she just was too distracted. So we didn’t make the cut, but the dogs who did were all quite gorgeous and great movers. I was particularly impressed with the Doberman Pinscher.
Afterwards we were exhausted and I ended up taking an unexpected nap. Then we got a pretty bad rain storm and had to take the tops off our canopies and protect our gear from the rain. In just a matter of minutes, the canopies had filled up with gallons of water. We also put a rain fly over the dog tent, which worked quite well. Of course, the dogs slept inside with us anyway. It was nice and cozy in the RV, listening to the patter of rain.
I woke up early in the morning, owing to going to bed at a relatively early hour. We laid around in bed until it was time to eat a little breakfast and go see the Shikoku and Akita in conformation. After that, we did a little cleanup at our camp and planned our road trip for the next few days. Then we meandered over to check out the vendors and watch some performance events.
One of the vendors had to close up while we were still shopping, because she had a lure coursing meet to attend. We decided to watch her dog run. Bijo was with us and, to our surprise, she was keenly interested in chasing after the bags. I hadn’t really thought it was in her. Still, I know that at her age she doesn’t have the stamina to run the entire course. So we decided to enter Godzuki and Mosura, figuring that if Bijo wanted to chase then they would too. We weren’t wrong.
Mosura and Godzuki were amped up waiting for their turn. A couple times I thought Mosura might twist our of my dad’s hands to go after it. She had a great first run and, despite pausing to dig at the pully for a moment, finished the whole course and earned her first leg towards Coursing Aptitude. Godzuki’s run wasn’t so great – she wanted to chase, but once she got close to the bags got spooked by the sound and veered off.
We gave the dogs a break, ate lunch, and put Godzuki back at our camp. Then we took Mosura for a second run. She was even more excited than the first time! I got a lot of great pictures of the second run as well. She started frothing with excitement when we approached the lure coursing field and was hard to contain. She ran harder over the field and didn’t get at all distracted the second time. So now she has two of three legs needed. Cool!
Later that evening Kyuubi and his family arrived. We had a lovely dinner, and I went over what would be going on in the morning with Melissa. It took Kyuubi a little while to warm up to me again, but by the end of the evening he was leaning and rubbing all over me. I can’t believe he’s still growing, bigger every time I see him, and his coat is so amazing.
We turned in somewhat early, knowing we had another early day ahead of us – and with five dogs to show.
Check out more photos from Mosura’s runs here.
The day went by in a blur. Like Thursday we were up very early for our 8 am ring time. No time for breakfast, we took the dogs and crates over to the Expo Center and set up by the ring. Melissa and her family arrived with Kyuubi and joined my parents at ring side, while I stayed in the RV with Ume. We thought we had a while to wait again, but there were a lot of no-shows. I got the call that the Siberian Huskies were already in the ring and we were right after them so I hurried back with Ume.
Melissa showed Kyuubi, I showed Ume and Godzuki, my mom showed Mosura, and a complete stranger showed Bijo. We had asked for some other handlers to help but they had conflicts so we scrambled to find a replacement. Thankfully, a nice lady with Siberian Huskies said she would do it. The stress of the morning was a bit much for Ume, who decided she needed to bark at everyone and tell them how, in her opinion, everything they did was wrong. But all the other dogs showed well, and the Kaiju Krew walked away with: Kyuubi 1st Senior Male and Best Male, Godzuki Reserve Champion, and Mosura Champion of Champions and Best of Breed! Yep, Mosura did it again!
We thought that afterwards we would have a free day to do anything, but as it turned out we were quite busy. First I went with Melissa et al to get some breakfast because I was getting super cranky from not eating. Then the Kaiju Krew needed to be walked… that took a while. We went back to the Expo Center to arrange a time to take photos with the judge, but it was hectic by the Superintendent booth because a Junior had been bitten by someone else’s dog and was crying while a witness filled out forms. Yikes! So we left a note and went out with Kyuubi and Godzuki to browse the vendors and watch dock diving.
Kyuubi was utterly fascinated by the Up Dogs frisbee game. He was really good navigating through the crowds and other dogs, just as chill as could be. Everywhere we went, we kept hearing buzz from others – “What kind of dog is that?” “I think it’s a Japanese Akita.” “An Akita? Wow, never seen one like that!” “They’re very different.” “It’s like another breed completely.” “Yeah, they’re two breeds in UKC…” This went on all day long. Of course, Kyuubi and Godzuki were both happy to stop so we could answer questions and educate others about the breed. It seemed like everyone wanted to get a photo of Godzuki due to her pretty silver brindling. Most had never seen a brindle spitz at all before, and with the Japanese Akita face she is even more striking.
When we were called back for photos, Kyuubi’s stubborn Akita streak came out. He refused to let Melissa or anyone place his rear feet, getting even more splayed and ridiculous each time someone tried to fix it. Finally we just took the photo with him sitting down. Godzuki and Mosura were much more cooperative, and we got their pics quickly and without problems. Both girls are great at being positioned and holding still.
By then it was long past due for Kaleb to go swimming, so Melissa took him back to the hotel with the rest of the family. The sun finally came out and it started to get muggy. We are a late lunch from leftovers, some steak and potatoes on a bed of lettuce with a few slices of cheese. The campground had problems with bad wiring for the RV hookups so a crew came out to redo the wires. We lost power for about an hour, during which time we had no air conditioning. The heat in the RV combined with the food just made it impossible for me to stay awake.
I dozed until awoken by the sound of bustle and movement. My parents had started to take down and put away one of the canopies. It wasn’t raining at the time so it seemed odd. A tornado watch was in effect! The sky sure looked nasty, but it also looked like it was going to completely pass us by. Still, since we were leaving the next day, it didn’t hurt to put away some of the stuff – less work to do in the morning. We got the bulk of it done before it started to rain. Then it really rained – hard!
After the rain let up, Melissa and family came over with pizza and we enjoyed dinner inside the RV. It was a really nice, cozy meal and it really felt like we were all one big family. I am so amazingly lucky to have found such wonderful people to place Kyuubi with, and become close to in the last two and a half years. And watching Kaleb grow with his furry brother has been a blast. He may be a bit wild at times, but what five year old isn’t? He is great with the dogs and really wants to take care of them. We talked about Kaleb participating in Junior Showmanship with their Shiba Inu, Kiba, and I think it’s a great idea.
Somehow the hour got late, and after a bit of cheese cake it was time to walk dogs and turn in for the night. Melissa wanted a chance to walk Ume, and Blake insisted on walking Bijo. I had to watch and make sure he didn’t steal her, haha. Then they went back to the hotel, just as the rain started up again. It rained really hard all night long, which was pretty neat sleeping in the loft bed of an RV. The sound of it was just inches away from my face and it lulled me back to sleep.
We awoke to more downpour. It wasn’t particularly cold outside and I was reluctant to put on pants and a jacket, but had no choice. I didn’t want to walk around in that torrent with my good show clothes on. As it turned out, though, I didn’t have to. With the canopy already put away, we were able to drive right up to the Expo Center and park by the doors. We ran through the rain to take crates and other important items inside, then hurried back to change clothes. Just when I thought it would never let up, the rain subsided long enough for us to take the dogs to the ring.
Again I stayed in the RV with Ume waiting for our ring time. But she started to bark seeing other exhibitors going into the building and I decided it was best not to show her. When Melissa and Kyuubi arrived, I went inside to join them. Another dog growled at Kyuubi and it put him in a foul mood, so I had Melissa take him back out and run him to get him happy and ready to cooperate. It seemed to do the trick, because she came back in and handed him to me and he behaved beautifully in the ring. Kyuubi moved and stacked much better than the day before. Godzuki won Champion of Champions, Bijo won Reserve Champion, and Kyuubi beat all of them for Best of Breed! Huzzah! (Kyuubi also took 1st Senior Male and Best Male, naturally.)
Thomas had arrived just before the show to watch us in the ring and take Ume home after. We stood around chatting for way longer than necessary, even after we got Ume out of the RV for him. It started and stopped raining on us multiple times but we managed to find a brief window of dry spell to take a few photos of Ume. Eventually we let him go on his way back to Chicago and began to take down our camp in earnest.
It started raining really hard again after we had taken the rain fly off the dogs’ tent. We hurried to get it and the other canopy put away, becoming thoroughly soaked in the process. It was still too warm to wear a jacket so I just took off my suit blazer and let my blouse get wet. We folded up the collapsible crates, rolled up the banner, packed the outdoor rug, and put up the tables and chairs.
By the time we were just about done, Melissa and family were done checking out of their hotel and on the way back to the Expo Center. My mom went back to the photographer to find out if we could take win pics with the judge, but the judge had left for Virginia the moment her judging assignment was over. Still, we decided we wanted more photos to commemorate the occasion, especially for Kyuubi’s Best of Breed win. So we got on the list, put our nice clothes back on, and went to wait.
Bijo and Godzuki were easy to photograph, but it seemed Kyuubi’s foul mood from earlier had returned. So, poor Melissa took him outside to run him again – this time in the pouring rain! They came back in both soaking wet. We got Kyuubi toweled off, dressed him in his fancy leash, and got our pics taken. This time he was much more cooperative for the stack and didn’t complain at all. The pictures all came out great, except nobody had noticed that Godzuki’s tail was down in hers… oops.
We said our goodbyes, but just couldn’t let Melissa and family leave. We stood around talking for the longest time, particularly my parents and Blake. Though I was just as much to blame, of course! Finally I put my foot down; we all had drives ahead of us and it was really time to get on the road.
After they left, we reorganized all the dog stuff that had been strewn haphazardly around the RV over the weekend, and then hit the road ourselves. Overall, it was a great experience!