Many folks who know me personally know how long and hard I have campaigned in the ADBA with Ryker, my brindle guy. In a conformation ring where conditioning matters, a brindle dog is at a disadvantage under many judges because it’s a million times harder to see the muscle tone in the coat pattern unless it’s a really light brindle color. To add insult to injury, I didn’t really get started in the ADBA ring until he was in one of the hardest classes around – the 2-3 year old class.
We had many shows where he didn’t even get looked at. He was flashy, he was fiery and he was more than willing to show himself but he wasn’t everyone’s cup of tea and in classes with 10-12 males his own age doing just the same thing it was a hard pick. We started to get noticed finally, though. I got better at conditioning and handling in that venue and he learned how to conduct himself better and hold a free stack longer while running off at the mouth (which he enjoys doing at every corner!).
We didn’t travel often so he only got shown at a handful of shows a year (with a max of about 4 show weekends) so it was hard chasing those points. We also were double committing and weight pulling at the same time for his Ace (which he still needs to earn!) so we had to pick and choose but at the Fox Valley show under honorable judge Mary Cullifer we finally did it. It was the 5 and Over class and there were some pretty darn nice dogs in his class but he pulled a first off and came home with 109 points – 9 points more than he needed to become an ADBA conformation Champion.
It was a long road. We had many, many people tell me he just wasn’t the right fit for the ADBA but I knew, in my heart of hearts that he was and he could do it. I wouldn’t have traded the learning experience for all of the tea in China though. He and I learned a lot with the help of many good friends and it will only lead to better chances available for future dogs with his legacy.
Congratulations, Ryker. You earned this and you deserve it!
On the weekend of June 1st and 2nd was the Great Lakes Pit Bull Club’s annual show. This year, the club was joined by the Southeastern APBT Club from North Carolina. With four shows and two weight pulls, it was a long and grueling weekend since we worked the club being members of the Great Lakes club but it was absolutely amazing.
In recent years, many clubs have seen a massive decline in entries due to a variety of reasons with the largest one being economic and financial setbacks. The ‘North Meets South’ event, however, didn’t seem to have much of that concern with well over 100 entries in conformation alone for each show. Weight pull was no different with record numbers coming to pull. We had some Class A pullers from all across the US who rocked it out on a less-than-favorable track and had two dogs finish their Ace titles as well! (Congratulations are in order to Clay of Team No Fear with Boogieman and Dave with Bende.)
Our own personal crew did pretty well despite the fact that my husband and I were both running around like chickens with our heads cut off. Ryker took three 3rd place ribbons and a 2nd which gave him the elusive 99 points – one point shy of finishing his ADBA Champion title. Mika was shut out all weekend and Lyric made her debut as an ADBA pull dog and landed a 2nd place (and first 5 points of 100) toward her Ace title.
All in all, the show was a huge success. Both hosting clubs did exceptionally well and the exhibitors all seemed to have a good time (I know we sure did!) and many said they can’t wait for our next one. Here’s to many more phenomenal shows and a fantastic rest of the show season.
It’s hard to believe I’ve not take a dog event road trip in a little over a year. I’ve stayed local for the most part because of work and personal obligations but finally had a chance to take some much deserve time off and go to a faraway place known as Waynesville, North Carolina for the Palmetto State APBT Club show with my buddy, Ryker. It was three days of fun with one of my best buddies doing what we do best – working together and having a good time.
We went down hoping to try and get those last 18 points we need to finish Ryker’s ADBA conformation Championship. (Because the last points are a PAIN to chase down – especially if one has a brindle dog. They do NOT show conditioning well at ALL!) We managed to eek out three with a third place under honorable judge Frank Rocca out of a class of ELEVEN(!!!!!!) 5 and Over Males. It was insane. I was constantly trying to move Ryker so he had the best vantage since he was more preoccupied on being a brat. It was insane.
Quite honestly, I almost died and went to heaven when the judge came over with the 3rd place ribbon. To be picked among so many nice older boys still vying for the same thing we were. It truly was an honor and I’m pleased to have placed in the top three and believe many of those dogs deserved the honors of being in the top three as well.
Photo Credit: Laurie Jane
We also puttered around in weight pull that weekend for Saturday and squeaked another 3rd place there before pulling him out to go show in the first show. He pulled 1,300# that weekend on a very hard track with the top pulling dog (who weighed 82#) pulling just about 3,400# and six dogs in his class (45-55# males). I was pleased with what we did. Should I have kept him in longer and forfeited my conformation entries? Maybe but I didn’t really feel like pushing for much more beyond that. We’ll get our Ace in due time. He’s still a young man after all. It’s not like he’s turning seven years in July. (Which he actually is, but try telling him that!)
Overall, I had a good time. It was nice to return to the ADBA circuit. It gave me a chance to see old friends and meet some new ones. I got to spend time with my Ryker-man and work that bond that we’ve been so blessed to have for all of these years. The break did us good. It gave me a new perspective and reminded that at the end of the day, I still have my wonderful boy and win or lose, he’s still #1 with me and we will just have to put the work in to show everyone else how awesome I already know he is. Now…to get those last darn points!
I get asked occasionally by friends who have “pet only” dogs why I got into showing purebred dogs when I am an incredibly staunch rescue and spay/neuter advocate. Truthfully, I have no real heroic, save-canine-kind answers. I honestly just wanted to. It’s a rather selfish reason but it is my reasoning. I wanted for myself and I vowed that I would never become one of the people who gave purebred ownership (and breeding) such a derogatory name and feeling amongst the rescue community.
Getting into the dog show community was the easy part. I attended a few shows and talked to people for a few months before the puppy search began. Most of the people I was blessed to speak with were friendly, down-to-earth and realistic about the work that lay ahead of me. (I did meet a few not-so-nice people, but they were definitely the minority!) I knew and fully expected the work (and the rewards that went with it!) ahead of me but these kind individuals really put it into perspective and helped me make my first baby steps into the conformation ring just a tiny bit less frightening.
Once I had my questions on what to expect when I finally found the “dog of my dreams,” the search began for just such a mythical puppy. It took nearly two long years of breeder hunting, researching, asking questions and pulling out wads of hair in frustration to find my first real show dog but it was well worth the wait (though I could have gone well past the puppy messes, chewed furniture and lost sleep!).
The tale doesn’t end here, though. This is just the tip of the iceberg that set my experience and time in the conformation ring across three registries.