Anatolian Shepherd Dogs International, Inc.



The 1997 ASDI Specialty
Kalamazoo, Michigan

by Holly Ballester
As originally published in
UKC Bloodlines

On Wednesday morning, June 11, at 4:30 a.m.. to be exact, Bob Hayward (Huzur Anatolians) picked me up at my home in Florida and we headed toward Michigan for U.K.C.'s exciting CENTENNIAL Show and ASDI's First U.K.C. National Specialty. Bob's van was tightly packed like a perfect jigsaw puzzle -- crates for four pups and two female dogs, suitcases, feed dishes and bags, brushes, collars, leashes, etc.

I brought two dogs: Huzur's Cesaret ("Josie"), a four-month-old pup co-owned by Bob and I, and Growlsburg's Khara, my two-year-old Champion, who is the first Anatolian to win a U.K.C. Multi-Breed Best In Show. As soon as we hit the road, my heart began to flutter and my stomach churn. Khara was last year's National Specialty winner; would she successfully, defend her title? This would be Josie's first time in the ring; would she be totally distracted or keep her mind on what we had practiced? Would the judge see in her the future Champion that I see?

Our first stop was at a friend of Bob's in Knoxville. The pups had a chance to run around in a fenced yard and the two girls, Khara and CH Maranda's Peri ("Pi") owned by Jim Box, were able to stretch their legs. Khara, always the pampered lady, was permitted to stay in the bedroom with me. Our hostess even gave her an after dinner dessert plate of delicious key lime cheesecake. Khara gazed at her lovingly all evening! The next morning, 3:30 a.m. this time, we were on our way to Michigan. We arrived in the afternoon in Romulus, where we stayed with Bob's daughter. After a delightful family dinner, we went to bed, readying ourselves for the important show we had traveled two days for.

On Friday, the big day, we loaded three of the pups, Khara and Pi, and started out for Kalamazoo. We arrived at the Fairgrounds at 6:30 a.m. It was freezing cold, definitely not Florida weather! There were a few people milling around, but nobody we recognized. We walked the dogs, delivered one pup to her new owner, looked for a registration area and most importantly, a hot cup of coffee! More trucks and vans began to arrive and soon we spotted Kathy Conn, the Specialty Show Secretary. She directed us to the building which held our show ring. The extremely large room had many rings and was packed with kennels. There was definitely no room for our giant crates! We would have to show from our vehicles. Kathy handed out armbands and set up our table, which held elegant brass awards for the day's winners and, of course, ASDI's magnificent silver National Specialty Best of Breed Perpetual Trophy. A chart was prepared listing the various classes, their order, and the number of dogs entered for each class. Bob and I stood ringside with our pups waiting for show time. Judge Rita Biddle arrived and Dolores Mattern, the Ring Steward, called the puppies into the ring. My heart was now in my feet!

Little Josie seemed overwhelmed as I stacked her and circled the ring. She kept turning to look behind her as if to ask, "What is this all about?" She didn't fidget and allowed the judge to examine her. After the final time around the ring, Judge Biddle pointed to Josie #1! Best Puppy! What a thrill!

We rushed back to the van to put the pups up, got Pi and Khara for their Champion class, and then hurried back to watch the rest of the classes. There were dogs, owners, and breeders present from all over the country: Pam Kernan from Texas, Kathy Conn from Tennessee, John Curran from Illinois, Karen Sen from California, Trudi Miller from Wisconsin, Bob and I from Florida and a group of local Michigan supporters including Scott Bischoff, our Show Chairman. The show ran very smoothly. All participants were given the time and encouragement needed so that everyone enjoyed themselves.

Finally, the big moment -- ASDI's Best of Breed. Two dogs were called to the ring: Destan's Ruark, an outstanding brindle male handled by owner Pam Kernan, and me with Khara. Two beautiful dogs with exceptionally fine movement. Time stood still for me. After our last gait around the ring, judge Biddle chose Khara as Best of Breed! What exhilaration! Now I could breathe again!

Best of Breed: CH Growlsburg's Khara

Best of Winners: Destan's Ruark

With the judging over, we all headed for a nearby restaurant for a delicious lunch and good camaraderie. Judge Biddle and Dolores Mattern attended our luncheon. The Judge offered helpful, positive comments not only about our dogs, but also about showing. She was knowledgeable about our breed, thoughtful and thorough, a superb judge!

After lunch we all went back to the fairgrounds to have show photographs taken and to watch Khara in group. Khara didn't place, maybe because I was late into the ring with her. I waited for an announcement of the class to begin; unfortunately, it never came. I learned my lesson: READ THE RULES. U.K.C.'s rules state that they have no obligation or responsibility to provide service through a public address system for the purpose of calling dogs to the ring. Despite this distressing and embarrassing experience, I left the show building with excitement. I got to see again and meet for the first time some wonderful owners of our magnificent breed.

On behalf of all the members of ASDI, I would like to thank Scott Bischoff, our National Specialty Chairman, and Kathy Conn, our Show Secretary. Your hard work and dedication to ASDI and its members made our 1997 National Specialty a truly "special" show indeed.

Best Female: Minti of Kazoncik

Best Puppy: Huzur's Cesaret

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