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Westminster – Day 2

©Karen Evasuik

By Amy Fernandez

Two days into Westminster 2022 and the reviews are mixed. Monday’s glorious weather definitely offset some of the challenges posed by this site–especially the parking. The Lyndhurst Estate is a justifiably celebrated historic site, with much to offer in terms of history and scenic vistas.  But it was never designed to accommodate heavy traffic and big rigs. Those lush lawns and gardens are built on a maze of sloping hills, accessible via a network of narrow, dirt roads. It’s ideal if you want to stroll around the grounds and admire the views. Not quite so charming if you’re hauling dogs and equipment.

Crews of workers were on hand to direct vehicle traffic and micromanage parking in three big fields. Both of the nearby parking areas were restricted to show officials, handlers with parking reservations, and a massive compound for the Fox film crew.  Spaces allotted for handicapped parking filled up by 8:30 Monday morning. The rest of us were directed to a series of fields, descending down a steep, winding dirt path.

Like last year, Westminster had organized a golf cart shuttle service to ferry people to and from the parking lots. But many exhibitors opted to hike it rather than wait, and for those consigned to park in “the basement” that might be a good half-mile.

But dog people are hardy and resourceful. Most of them seemed happy to finally be back at Westminster. Actually, that’s been the prevailing sentiment at most shows after enduring almost two years of pandemic cancelations and delays.

Dachshund exhibitor, Dagmar Parker, made the trip from Dover, NJ. She’s a Westminster veteran and this was her second year showing at Lyndhurst. Like most of us she’s familiar with this site from Westchester Kennel Club’s shows, and had no fond memories of that setup. “There’s never been enough space.” Dagmar was doing her ring prep out of her van, which meant carrying her dog up the hill at ring time. “The show workers are great; they’ve all been very helpful and accommodating. But this location is not conducive; it’s very difficult to find any level ground.” (Her grooming table was listing to starboard).  She doubts that she will be back if Westminster plans to remain in Tarrytown. “I’ve shown several generations of my dogs at Westminster, and there was never an issue with accessibility or parking.”

Unlike last year, spectators were welcome, but the same factors virtually limited that to the dog show crowd. A number of them, like Irish Setter breeder Mary Merlo, made the trip just to hang out and watch. That was probably the best option for actually enjoying the show. Last year was the first Westminster she’d missed in decades and she was clearly glad to be back.

Pro handler Polly Lamarine was making the drive each day from Meriden, CT.  She had arranged to park her van at a nearby hotel and share a ride to the show grounds where they had reserved parking in the handlers lot. She noted that the club had cut back substantially on glitz this year, and aside from the gigantic gold statue of Sensation, it was basically like every other outdoor summer show–except for the $100 entry fee. Like most handlers, she had originally entered for the January show date. All entries received that time around were prioritized for the revised show date.

But that wasn’t the only complication posed by this postponement. Albert Easdon, famed breeder of Yakee Pekingese, was originally invited to judge Pugs, Bostons, Pekes, Poms and Cavaliers in January. Changing his ticket from January to June made for an abbreviated trip because of other judging commitments back home.  Thanks to a five-hour delay at JFK, he missed the Monday evening judges dinner and let’s hope he doesn’t have a similar experience flying home to Scotland on Wednesday.

We had a few sprinkles yesterday, but the rain held off. Like last year, groups were judged in the massive, fancy pop-up building, with Toys, Hounds, Non-Sporting and Herding last night. You can catch the highlights on the Westminster App or the Fox Sports App.

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Posted by on Jun 22 2022. Filed under Current Articles, Featured. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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