Before I get into the gathering in Maine, I failed to mention in my last post that I gave the National Association for Gun Rights permission to use an old photo in a Facebook meme a week or two back. I took this pic at least 4 years ago when we were still guiding hunts at Pheasant Haven preserve in Elk City, Nebraska. You can see Charles and old Sue, who has since retired, in the middle. I do not recall who was in this group of hunters. Funny what people dig up on my website. It drummed up 71k likes and 40k shares.
The Accidental Tourist: How I fell in love with Maine even though I didn’t plan on it.
People from Maine are so friendly that they talk to one another on the plane. I guess nobody told them the “no talking on the plane” rule. Please, read a book, listen to music, sleep. But you aren’t supposed to make a new friend with the person sitting next to you. Unless you are from Maine. So I was somewhat agitated getting off of the plane, and thought that a swim would solve that. It is easier for me to list the beach areas in the US that I haven’t been to, rather than listing the ones that I have. I haven’t been to the Atlantic side of South Florida, the Pacific Northwest, or Hawaii. So I have pretty high beach expectations. I ended up at Crescent Beach State Park just outside of Port Elizabeth, Maine, since it was ranked as the best beach in Maine online. The first problem that I encountered with this swim was the rocks, lots of rocks. Not just nice round stones, but like cut your feet up and make you cry rocks. I thought that once I got to where it was deep enough for me to swim, it wouldn’t be a problem. But as the water got about mid-thigh and I had to commit to it, I just couldn’t do it. I’ve swam in stock ponds cleaner than that water. So the attempted swim was a fail.
I learned to appreciate just looking at the water, and the boats, and the lighthouses. I next visited Portland Head Light, the only lighthouse that I made it to the whole trip. Once again, scenic and unique.
That was pretty much the extent of my touring on Monday, as it was a 2 hr. drive to Rockland where most of us were staying. I found out Tuesday night after the hunt test that the people of Rockland or who stay in Rockland are really fun. To quote Stephen King, “If you intend to write as truthfully as you can, your days in polite society are numbered.” If you see me, feel free to ask me about it. But I’m going to take the 5th on Tuesday night in Rockland. I will say that no mortal sins were committed or laws broken.
I was able to catch a break from the dog action on Wednesday and just happened to stumble across Camden Harbor. Another scenic area full of good food.
That was the extent of my touring, but it was nice that we had a good location for when there was down time. I know that some of my friends went to Acadia National Park, or went whale watching, but my schedule was fairly limited to dog activities.
Thank you Amy Caswell
A huge thank you to Amy Caswell for organizing all of the events throughout the week. She always did it tirelessly and with a smile on her face. Not only did she organize all of the events, but she also participated in the Korthals Cup and the National Specialty Show. Wowsa!!
Charles keeps asking me the qualifications to enter the Korthals Cup, but I can’t seem to find them online. It is a certain level of NAVHDA UT prize or AKC Hunt Test title. I am also not clear on exactly which test they are modeling the Korthals Cup after, either the NAVHDA UT or Invitational tests. I was able to make it to the water test Tuesday morning. (Note: on any of these slide shows, you can click the first thumbnail for full screen to arrow through).
AKC Hunt Test
Following the Korthals Cup, we moved to the Lincoln Hawes Farm for the AKC Hunt Test. There were entries at the Master Hunter, Senior Hunter, and Junior Hunter levels. I served as parking lot attendant and part-time bird planter. The Hawes were very gracious hosts and even put on an unscheduled lunch at the last minute with cheeseburgers from their very own burger. Lincoln hauled folks around in his gator, even though he wasn’t asked to do so. I do not have results on who all received passes, but congratulations to those who did!
Welcome Breakfast and Annual Meeting
The welcome breakfast was held at the Country Inn in Rockport, Maine and consisted of eggs benedict, french toast, sausage links, fruit, pastries, coffee, and mimosas. The annual meeting went smoothly; I ended up making official my volunteering to take over as editor of the Griffonnier magazine. It is going to be a huge challenge and major learning experience. Charles and I are also going to work with the new field events director to establish a griffon club to host AKC Field Trials, as the Wirehaired Pointing Griffon is the only one of the AKC recognized pointing breeds which does not have a field trial club.
Educational Seminars: Grooming, Health and Genetics, Show Handling, and Show Judges Education
Following a mid-day break, we took back up in the afternoon at the Union, Maine Fairgrounds for our first three educational seminars: Grooming, Health and Genetics, and Show Handling. I videotaped Claudette Blackburn of the Association Quebecois Du Griffon d’Arret A Poil Dur (the Quebec Griffon Club) grooming a full dog, as their style of grooming is a bit different than ours. I hope to have that all mixed down in the next couple of weeks for YouTube.
The Health and Genetics seminar was led by Laurie Cooke DVM. We discussed new issues that are showing up in the breed and what we are hearing about most commonly. I am very strict in my health criteria for my breeding animals, so knock on wood, we’ve been problem-free up to this point and plan on keeping it that way.
Burrell Handling put on our show handling seminar, what great teachers they are! There was never dead air and there were always demonstrations to show the ideal. Once the lecture and demonstrations were completed, she gave those with dogs in the ring the following day the opportunity to practice.
We broke camp at the Fairgounds around 6 PM and headed back to the Trade Winds in Rockland, Maine for our show judges’ education presentation. We talked about the French working standard and the AKC conformation standard in great depth.
AWPGA National Specialty Dog Show
I am not a good show handler, but have grown an appreciation and understanding of dog shows. At least enough to know what is going on most of the time. At this point, I only kept track of who won Best of Breed and Best of Opposite Sex. Many others have their catalogs marked for the dogs that they were watching. We will have to wait for the AKC results to be posted for the full listing. These are just candid shots from the ring in no particular order or organization. Feel free to use on your individual kennel website if you are pictured.
Congratulations to Elaine Hunsicker for GCH Fireside’s Spontaneous Combustion JH “Buster” winning Best of Breed and to Kristi Rogney for GCH Whiskeytown Brandywyn SH for winning Best of Opposite Sex.
My final event for the week was the annual banquet. It is the usual banquet setup: silent auction, feasting, and live auction.
I sat at the high roller table with the Whiskeytown gang and we bid stuff way up, often battling one another for items. I ended up with a new teacher bag with a pointing griff and a stacked griff on the side of it, handmade by Nancy Coffeen. I am also going to take the 5th on how much the winning bid was. Charles hasn’t even asked and I haven’t even offered to say:) But it will be put to good use.
Hog Wild in Iowa 2015
You don’t have to be a show dog person to enjoy the AWPGA National Specialty week. I hope that when we go “Hog Wild in Iowa” next year, more of the owner/hunters will consider joining us! It will be held the week of September 5, 2015 in Des Moines, more details to follow.
Karl and Deb recognized me in Chicago O’Hare on my way home, so I got an updated photo for Eli, who is our Fire’s brother. He has locked up solid on turkeys and loves to jump into the stock pond. Karl and Deb were on their way home from a vacation in Croatia, so they had been doing the air travel thing for about 24 hours.
In closing (finally already, I know)
I wasn’t even planning on going to Maine until around the 1st of July. Like, what could there be in Maine that I haven’t already seen or done? The world never ceases to amaze me with all of its beautiful sights to see and people to love. I am so glad that I went and had such a fabulous time. In the words of Shakespeare as Robin Goodfellow “Puck” in A Midsummer Night’s Dream:
If we shadows have offended,
Think but this, and all is mended,
That you have but slumber’d here
While these visions did appear.
And this weak and idle theme,
No more yielding but a dream,
Gentles, do not reprehend:
if you pardon, we will mend:
And, as I am an honest Puck,
If we have unearned luck
Now to ‘scape the serpent’s tongue,
We will make amends ere long;
Else the Puck a liar call;
So, good night unto you all.
Give me your hands, if we be friends,
And Robin shall restore amends.