Midland Counties Championship Show  29 October 2017

Written By Diane Stewart-Ritchie

A dry, fresh day awaited exhibitors at this year’s 42nd Championship Show of Midland Counties Canine Society. This Show is the penultimate General Championship Show on the Show calendar and once again the Committee put on a great event. For those interested Midland Counties was formed on 24th April 1968. The Society was awarded Championship Show status in 1976 and were the first Society to use New Bingley Hall, Stafford. From its inauguration Midland Counties have prided themselves in helping many local charities some of which have been dog related. Over the past five years the Societies principal supported Charity has been Dogs For Good. To date they have supported this Charity with over £30,000 of monies we as exhibitors have contributed to. Current Secretary Rodney Price has been a member of Committee for around 25 years and remembers much about the important ideals the Society holds dear. Having spoken to Rodney, he was so proud to tell me, ‘exhibitors can be proud of what they’ve done because it can change someones life.’ The Society are currently supporting ‘Alvin’, a 4 month old yellow Labrador whom they will support for 1 year. Alvin was at the Midland Counties show. I’m sorry to have missed him and to only be finding out these facts as I produce this article. I personally think this is quite superb. In this modern day of questioning where our money goes to, complaining and general unrest around our sport how heart warming to know that our entry fees are actually going, through dogs, to help someones life. Dogs For Good support adults and children with disabilities and autism. There are different types of support and a number of ongoing projects. If you are interested in reading more about this really worthwhile charity that you inadvertently contributed to, please click on the following link www.dogsforgood.org . A further article about Midland Counties Canine Societies history can be viewed below:

mid cts history

The Committee of Midland Counties really do have the exhibitor at heart and have tried their very best to keep to their motto, ‘A quality affordable show where exhibitor satisfaction is our priority’. A number of things which I noted that prove their ethos are: Entry Fees have remained unchanged now for 7 years with CC breeds first entry still only costing £22, free car parking and also how lovely that each Best Puppy In Breed received £20 in prize money!

The Club colours are royal blue and white which is themed throughout the show and most especially in the Group and Best in Show ring. A large blue carpeted ring with floral displays was utilised for all Groups and Best in Show as well as various stakes classes. The surrounding breed rings were of good size and well accommodated seating. White open panels separated each ring from the next and each judges table was adorned with heavy duty tablecloths complete with Club logo. Tapping into Secretary Rodneys knowledge, he tells me that previous Secretary Margaret Everton (now Club President) was instrumental in establishing the wonderful blue and white large banners which surrounded the main hall. These banners are only ever blue or white and each is chosen to compliment the final photograph of the winner of Best In Show that year. The Best In Show winner each year is also depicted on all the schedules and catalogues for the forthcoming year. Quite lovely if you happen to reach these dizzy heights!

Our own beloved breed was featured on one of the white banners surrounding the hall:

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clonageera tarka

Richard & Pat Hirons Clonageera Tarka was the Best In Show winner at Midland Counties in 1980. That day he was winning his first CC and BOB under Bob Heron (Caskeys). How fantastic to then go all the way to Best In Show! Bob obviously recognised great qualities in this dog as he then went on to win 12 CCs, 9 with Best of Breed and 10 Reserve CC’s. His third and crowning CC was awarded by Jill Holley (Wynjill) who was undertaking her first judging appointment on that day in 1982 at LKA. Incidentally, this was the first time LKA was held at the NEC. Jills co judge on the day was Pat Rutherford. Tarka was whelped on 4th July1979. Jim and Pat Rutherford bred him from the combination of Sh Ch Jason of Andana of Clonageera out of Clonageera Tamoretta. Of those many awards that Tarka won, it is very interesting to note that only one of those awarding judges is currently still active in our breed. Jill Holley! - you’re a stayer for sure and what a wealth of knowledge I’m sure Jill has to impart to those up and coming judges who are seeking further clarification or have any breed specific questions.

Midland Counties had appointed one judge for Irish Setters, where Miss Julie Driver (Stearnwood) had attracted a super entry of 179. Julie was judging the breed for the 4nd time with Challenge Certificates, having last judged at Manchester in 2013. Julie also attracted a large entry there too, 182. SKC in 1991 was the first time Julie judged the breed with CC’s awarding Sh Ch Danaway Debonair his 12th CC with BOB and the Bitch CC to Sh Ch Amberwave Moonlight Shadow. 5 years later in 1996 Julie found her CC winner in his son Sh Ch Caspians Intrepid at National Gundog. The Stearnwood kennel was established with the purchase of a Cornevon Lovebird daughter, followed by a Wendover dog whose daughter Julie mated to Sh Ch Sowerhill Sahib giving her the first homebred Champion Sh Ch Stearnwood Clothilde. Two Caskeys then girls followed on from this.

Judging was due to commence at 9 am. After the Society opened the show judging got underway in other rings. Sadly, one of our fellow exhibitors Mrs Mandy Harvey (Jubliana) had lost her 4 year battle with Cancer in recent days. Her dear friend Mrs Christine Morgan spoke to us all for a few moments about Mandys happy life and her great courage in the preceeding months. Gathered friends, Irish Setter enthusiasts, and many others whom Mandy knew from the dog show scene remained to acknowledge a respectful one minutes silence in memory of this lovely, fun loving lady. A difficult start to the day for many but also a lovely gesture for Mandy.

Judging commenced and Julie efficiently and methodically went through her well filled classes. Judging was completed in good enough time for our representative to reach the Group. The ring was a great size affording Julie plenty of room for her exhibits to await their turn and plenty of room for each dog to move. The higher classes in both sexes were extremely well filled giving Julie many exhibits to consider for her top awards. Her eventual Dog CC winner was Sh Ch Thendara Pot Noodle JW winning his 26th CC on the day. Noodle is owner bred by Dee Milligan-Bott & Jeremy Bott and was handled as always by Jeremy. The Reserve to him was also from the Open Class. A first time in Open Dog for Pam Mitchell with William, Amblins Sweet William – I’m she must have been delighted with this result. Best Bitch award and winning from the Open Class, winning her 8nd CC and eventual Best of Breed was Nancy, Sh Ch Forfarian Hey Sexy Lady JW owned by Sandra, Nicola & Jenna Sturrock who had made the long journey from Scotland. I bet it was a fun filled, easy journey home for these 3 ladies! Reserve CC in bitches went to Sandy Watertons girl Beattie, winning from the Limit Class, Sandstream Welcome Breeze JW. Best Puppy in Breed was another such award for Teresa and Gemma Gisby and Jo-Anne Parsons male puppy, Suteresett King of Hearts JW. ‘King’ to his friends, has now collected 4 BPIB awards at Championship shows this year and still only 11 months old, had his Junior Warrant secured before he was 9 months old. What a great start for this new young hopeful. The show did not schedule any Veteran classes. Julie I’m sure had a super day, albeit she must have walked a few miles up and down the ring!

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Our sport is losing people and entries are declining each year. How pleasurable to witness the joy of a new exhibitor getting a good win in their puppy class. The seasoned ones amongst us will most likely remember a few memorable times, so I ask you to take two minutes and try to remember the first time you qualified for Crufts ….that feeling was immense - I’m sure you agree. Today I had such delight in watching a new young ’red’ girl and her owner enjoying their day at Midland Counties. I was watching judging in the puppy bitch classes and spotted a smart young red girl in the ring with her handler doing a very decent job. Curiosity got the better of me so I asked Julie Humphries if I could check her catalogue, interested to know this girl and her breeding as the owner was totally unknown to me.

A couple of other exhibitors then joined in to look, also noticing the new pair. The breeding was unfamiliar but the exhibit was a very nice one, her owner making a great stab at handling her. How lovely to be talking to her owner Mike Wiggins a little while later when he told me it was her second Championship show and only her fourth ever show. Her breeder didn’t show but this nice gentleman decided he’d give it a go. He was quite emotional when I explained to him that the 2nd prize card he had received today in a class of 8 had qualified his girl for Crufts. He obviously adored her and was quite speechless and overwhelmed but overjoyed as well. The whole experience of meeting and having this chat just made my day. I was so pleased also that the judge found this girl, Tremonisha Fuchsia, good enough to award her a high Crufts qualification. Mike tells me that he has had 3 Irish Setters over 42 years and dabbled at showing his previous girl but he was very nervous and had never been placed high enough to get to Crufts. ’Fuchsia’ is one of 11 and is the only puppy who made the showring. Mike was on such a high, he said, when he went to work on Monday morning and is still on that high today! A wonderful story of sheer delight! Just goes to show that we can have faith in our judging system and good dogs will always come to the fore no matter who is on the end of the lead old or new, experienced or novice. I do believe he was one of the happiest Irish Setter exhibitors in the show that day – it was great to see!

Diane Stewart-Ritchie

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