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!