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One Man’s Opinion

by Ric Chashoudian, From the archives of The Canine Chronicle, May, 1995

I had a great trip to judge the 100th anniversary show in Tucson, Arizona. Their first show was in 1929 when it was called the Catalina Kennel Club. This was changed some years later to the Tucson Kennel Club.

As a handler I started showing dogs at the Tucson show in 1947. I have never seen Tucson as green as it was this year. The natives told me that they had received an abundance of rain left over from what hit California this year. California had plenty to spare and share. When you get water to the desert amazing things happen, the wildflowers go crazy, everything greens up, and what is usually brown and dusty turns into this beautiful display of desert flora.

The club put together a display of past winners including Harry Sangster with the famous Boxer, Bang Away, as a puppy, Maxine Beam, Russel Zimmerman, Frank Sabella, yours truly, and more winning Bests there in the ‘50s, ‘60s and ‘70s. There were also many more recent winners. There was an old restored Woody Ford Station Wagon from the year 1929.  The Group and Best In Show pictures were taken in front of this beauty. They had the largest cake I have ever seen under a tent to celebrate the occasion. This cake was enough for hundreds and tasted very good. The gods were with Tucson this year. Marian Mason-Hodesson was the hospitality chairperson. This is a lady I have known ever since I was about fifteen years old, along with her great veterinary husband, Sam, who looks wonderful.

I saw dozens of my old West Coast friends and handlers. I judged some of their dogs. Some of the judges at this show were Frank Sabella and Derek Rayne, who are old, old friends. I also saw Joe Tacker and Mrs. John Patterson, who was there with her beautiful daughter who shows Shar-Pei. She was giving her mother a little static about her judging of that breed the day before. I guess we old-timers cannot please this younger generation, even if it is your own kid. Mrs. Mabel ‘Jinx’ Gunville was there and reminded me that we shared the podium of the Quaker Oats Awards back in 1969.

Derek Rayne looked great. He still finds the good ones as he put up an outstanding young German Shepherd Dog in the Herding group that I think will have a great future. I have never seen a Shepherd with more front extension.

Judge Charles Mulock was there looking like an old retired cowboy. We were supposed to wear old western garb, but I did not have any; however many of the judges did. Marian Hodesson and Mrs. Patterson would have to share the prize for the ladies.

In the ‘50s and ‘60s, we Westerners used to go to the old Tucson Show at the fairgrounds. It would be a 350 dog entry, two-day benched show with three great judges like Alva Rosenberg, Louie Murr, Percy Roberts and people of that ilk. These were great, great dog shows, judged by people with an outstanding knowledge of dogs, and people with high intensity and integrity. Derek Rayne is one of those people, along with judges like Winnie Heckman, J.J. Duncan, Alf LePine, Charlie Hopton, George Thomas and Walter Reeves, the great Canadian judge Billy Kendrick, Marie Meyer, Bea Godsol and so many more.

These were the people that my generation learned from. These were the times when we had time to absorb knowledge from these great dog people. There is no explaining these days of showing dogs where there was not this crazy rush of dog shows that we see today. There was time to look at the great dogs of that era and remember them. There was time to talk to these great dog judges and remember the little things they told you about the different breeds of every group. There was time to do your work properly and get your dogs in top shape for these great judges to pass judgement on. These were times when a job well done meant more than money. These are times that are gone and will never return. Now we move ahead to the bottom line, which is money, with TV interrupting the flow of judging at the great Westminster Kennel Club show, and people judging that you have never heard of before they became a judge. We used to have great respect for the great judges–about thirty or forty of them. We called them sir and ma’am. Now some look at you like you are a has been and out of step. Some give you the look, some yank ribbons, however there are still some that come to you and really want to know what we of our generation can pass on. These are the ones that become the teachers of the future. Thank heaven for these few. These few will keep this sport thriving, and keep the good dogs coming.

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  • July 2020