October 19, 2015
Despite early poll results and Pumi experts’ opinions, (this latter term appears becoming more and more a misnomer) some Pumis with high expectations got “Dewey-d” at the Pumi National Specialty in Wilmington Ohio over the weekend. After seeing the results, the originally consulted experts have been scolded by opposing Pumi experts from the other end of the spectrum. (By the time of the publication of this blog we have not heard from the third, the European Pumi experts).
Right after the show, unnamed experts (not another expert…?!) close to the judge suggested that, “based on the dogs entered the National Specialty Show over the weekend, the Pumi Breed is pretty much all over on the map in the U.S., sort of the Puli was about a decade earlier.” I guess the lessons of the 1948 U.S. presidential election have been forgotten. So next time if you want to bet on a Pumi, instead of relying on expert opinion, listen to “Jimmy the Greek.” (he knew about the effect of grooming…) By the way, who has been your expert…?
Up to date, this has been the largest Pumifest in the breed’s U.S. history, held at the Eukanuba Roberts Centre in Wilmington Ohio this year. Most participants, most performance events, most entries, most friendliness as well as most unfriendliness. The most unusual has been the formal environment, the convention center. The authoritative milieu certainly altered people’s behavior and some have stubbornly kept up their guards. No eye contacts, no greetings and patterns of avoidance behavior.
Even though, growing is the natural order of things, it’s been sad to see the family atmosphere and the spirited comradery fading away in history. The breed will be getting full recognition from the AKC next year and that will put the Pumi out in the limelight. It will go big and probably will go fast. According to the HPCA, there have also been record number of Pumi puppies born this year in the U.S. (in any shape, forms and colors.) …And the numbers (and variety) will keep increasing as the Pumi will enter the AKC herding group. Buckle up folks and be ready for the ride. If… the roadmap is ready, the judges are prepared… and future breeders have a network to fall back on… than bring it on baby… Why not? After all, dog breeding is not a rocket science and everyone can pinch in. It always takes a village…
But lets get back to the show. In general, the event went relatively well during the weekend. Seminars and presentations smartly, were organized in tracks and independently so participants had the chance to get to see and participate pretty much in everything. I might note that some events were hard to find. A central information booth with a “know everything” person would have been helpful.
Thursday and Friday there were performance events, seminars and the blood draw. The main event, conformation was scheduled for Saturday, back to back with the banquet. Honestly, the schedule was a bit tight, and things stretched out a bit long so we ended up late from the dinner. We had no time to refresh because we had to give the dogs a good exercise after a long day in the ring, on leash in the exhibition hall and also waiting in the van.
Ourselves certainly have to be better organized in the future and ask friends to help pinching in with some work in exchange for grooming, handling and training. It is not easy to groom 10 + dogs for a show, prepare them for the ring, while also taking care of our own dogs idling.
When we finally arrived to the banquet, people were done with their dinners and the annual meeting has started in the semi-dark room with the recognition awards. Members and their dogs got recognized for their 2014 achievements. The Catskill dogs’ eight (or so) herding titles from 2014 have not been recognized because currently we are not members of the Club. The Club perhaps should consider a “Non-Member Membership” category for those who do not wish to be members of the Club, however, contribute to the breed’s development here in the U.S.
By the time the auction started, most people’s adrenaline level tanked and the high anticipation of bidding on items have somewhat toned down. I am wondering whether a short standing reception with beverages and the chance for people to mingle and get to know each other (instead of listening to the “recognition award memorial”) could have helped to elevate the mood and subsequently increase the success of the auction. Ginger Butler, Paula Stevens and Tom Levy still did a fantastic job to resuscitate the participants to open up their wallets during bidding. We left early in fear of falling a sleep.
Sunday’s herding event at Green Gate Farm, a beautiful place I might add, witnessed some minor disturbances. Participants had to arrive early and wait around in the cold until the frost disappeared. When the event finally started about two hours later, the judge got injured during the first instinct test. The event got halted and people had to wait around some more, until officials figured out what to do. When the event continued, with herding trials, Pumis and Pulis kept “NQ-ing” in masses. No dog “Q-d” at trial or pre trial level… Not to find excuses, however, we all agreed that the sheep were way to light for Started, intermediate, PT and HT courses. The day turned out to be pretty long. Testing and trialing two breeds when dogs entering the ring one by one is a tedious proposal. In the afternoon, some people had to leave to catch flights or simply make it back home. We waited out our line. Hungry, dehydrated and tired, finally, we made it.
When the herding part of Pumifest was over, we returned to the hotel and had a few farewell pints with Mark Walley, our British Pumi FaceBook friend who jumped out of the computer Thursday morning in the lobby of Holidays Inn. Mark, we are so glad you came and hope to see you again in Texas next year. Bring Sharron along to double the fun.
I want to finish this Pumifesto with my expert rating (self anointed) of the event. Considering everything, I give a 3 1/2 stars out of five. Even though, it has been a risky proposal to hold both breeds annual specialities together, I would say, it mostly worked, except the long lines during the herding event. The location was convenient, hotel, restaurant and convention center with a great dog run together in one location. Also, I would have been happy to see an information booth, a more knowledgable ring stewart or stuart and an announcer for the conformation show (one of the Catskill Pumis missed his entry…)
Would I recommend future Pumifests to others? Absolutely!
Will I go to next year’s Pumifest to Texas? I would not miss it for anything!
p.s. to those who avoided me for whatever reason, won’t be a stranger next year, I do not bite, regardless, whatever rumors say. We can have fun, we might even learn from each other and hey it is only 4 days out of 365.
Hope to see ya’ll next year!