Dachshund shows are back again

For those of you who don’t subscribe to Our Dogs, this is the article published on 15th June:

Eastern Counties Dachshund Association held its championship show at Newark Showground on Sunday 6th June 2021, making it the first Dachshund show to take place since lockdown in 2020. ECDA has a 3-yearly rotational set of Challenge Certificates for Mini Smooths, Standard Longs and Standard Wires so this was an important year for us. We are thankful it wasn’t our rotational year in 2020 when this important show would have had to be cancelled.

We were pleased to be able to share the showground with the Dachshund Club who hosted their open show which meant the organisational workload was shared between the 2 clubs’ show management teams.

It seems like months ago that we began planning for the show amid doom and gloom about the virus and whether we would be allowed to run the show. The Newark Showground events team were amazingly helpful and did everything possible to smooth the path for us. They had template documentation for an Events Plan and asked us to provide a Covid Risk Plan for the local authority. I would particularly like to thank Tim Hutchings for sharing the Cotswold Boxer Club’s Covid Risk Plan as that and the KC guidance available online, enabled us to meet all the regulatory requirements.

It was always going to be a bit of an act of faith given that our show was scheduled during Stage 3 of the Roadmap out of lockdown, when some restrictions would still be in place. There was the threat that the roadmap wouldn’t move as planned but we were determined to run the show if at all possible, knowing that Covid cases had been extremely low all through last Summer even before the vaccination programme had begun.

Nevertheless, against that backdrop we drew an entry of 360 dogs, which was 100 up on our 2018 championship show. The Dachshund Club benefited from a similar entry which meant one of our challenges would be how to get through judging at both shows in good time. Partnership shows for Dachshunds are always complicated by the fact that some exhibitors show more than one variety and the entries vary considerably across the 6 varieties, making judging times difficult to coordinate.

Our show management teams had everything set up on Saturday afternoon and all that remained was to keep fingers crossed that the weather would be dry as everything was taking place outdoors, with only gazebos for shelter in the rings and the “office”.

Traffic Hell!

Sunday morning dawned dry but overcast and the forecast suggested there might be a shower around mid-morning. The first signs that we might have a problem were when committee members arrived and reported large queues building up on the approach to the showground. The showground staff had told us there would be an autojumble on an adjacent part of the venue but had said nothing about its scale or the fact that it might cause traffic problems.  It took me 30 minutes to travel the last mile to the showground and that was at 07:40. As time went on, more people were reporting being stuck in traffic and as we approached our start time it was evident that exhibitors and some judges would be late for the planned 10:00 start. This posed a real dilemma for how much to delay judging because we knew the big entry meant judging would go on well into the late afternoon even if it started on time. We know that some exhibitors were stuck for several hours and therefore missed their classes and I’d like to apologise on behalf of our committee for the stressful start they had to their day.

Smiling faces, gazebos and sunshine

Despite the traffic problems the showground was a real buzz of energy and excitement as friends met up for the first time in 15 months, swapping notes on their gazebo-erection challenges and remembering how to do everything that once seemed so routine at a dog show. I even found a few minutes to live-stream some views of the show on Facebook which generated responses and good luck wishes from as far away as Australia.

Being outdoors, there was no specific requirement to wear masks and it was great to see so many happy, smiling faces. Our judges had requested that masks be worn in the ring, where social distancing with them at the judging table would not be possible. Apart from that, it almost looked like a normal dog show (if a dog show can ever be described as “normal”).

By 11:00 our Secretary’s and Show Manager’s stress levels had subsided to something more bearable and judging was well underway in all 6 rings. We had a fantastic group of stewards who kept things moving and managed the required cleaning of the judging tables between dogs. And so it went on; just like in the good old days.

Finally, at 16:00, with dark clouds rolling across the sky,  it was time to call the 6 Best of Breed winners into the ring for Best in Show. Both the BIS and BPIS judging were live-streamed on Facebook. Our BIS judge for this special occasion was Daphne Graham (Jadag) and her choice of BIS was Mrs Sue Ergis’s Mini Smooth CH Siouxline Rapunzel with Melriding.

Reserve Best in Show was Mrs Mandy Dance’s, Mini Wire CH Emem Summer Sunshine JW.

BPIS was Mrs Fran Mitchell’s Mini Smooth Bronia’s Antonella, handled by daughter Emily.

RBPIS was Mr Roy Wood’s Mini Long Wildstar Wrolanda and Best Veteran was Ms Marilyn Norton’s Standard Smooth CH Matzell Minella.

The skies opened and the rain came down

By the time we were finishing BPIS and taking photos, the skies opened and the rain came down in torrents. Although our committee must have breathed a sigh of relief that we had just beaten the rain, we felt so sorry for the Dachshund Club judges, committee and exhibitors who still had classes to complete and then to judge their BIS and BPIS.

The rest of the afternoon saw us all sheltering from the torrential rain and dodging out when it let up a bit in order to pack things up and for the Dachshund Club to complete their show. I’d like to end with particular thanks to ECDA Secretary Minna Borsuk and Show Manager Trevor Watkins for their hard work in putting on this very special first Dachshund breed club show of 2021. Also, to Dachshund Club Secretary Lloyd Cross and Show Manager John Bennett for their contribution and teamwork over the past few months and on the day of the show.

I am delighted that we were able to run an event that felt as close to normal as we could make it (so normal that people were complaining about the traffic). The best thing for me was seeing so many friends again and their smiling faces and happy Dachshunds. 

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