And just like that, another Spinone Club of America National Specialty is in the books.
Yes, this one took a bit of doing. Sometimes it was a bit like pulling teeth, with two pandemic-driven cancellations and over 2 years’ worth of glitches to overcome. Somehow, Barb Spence and her team weathered the storms and managed to put on a wonderful, memorable, National Specialty in Weirton, West Virginia. (Of course, the plans for 2022 have been in the works for a while as well. That National Specialty planning committee also had to cancel their 2021 date and move it out another year!)
As I grazed some of the posts following the Specialty, I was struck by the photos and comments from one of our junior members, Theron Hull-Walton. I first met Theron 2 years ago at our 2019 National Specialty in Loveland, Colorado. Of course, I didn’t recognize him when I first encountered him in West Virginia – he’s grown at least a foot since I last saw him. His posts and comments were not only about the great time that he had at the event, but there were photos of the places he enjoyed visiting on the trip there and back. It reminded me of how I’ve often planned dog show trips to coincide with hunting trips, sightseeing, and stopping to see friends and family in different parts of the country. As if mirroring life, it wasn’t just about the destination, it was about the journey.
For one of the events – Veterans? Sweepstakes? I don’t recall which – but I was in the ring with Theron. Both of us came up short that time, but I was struck by, how he called out a cheerful “Thank you Judge!” as he exited the ring. It was simple and sincere, as he headed off with his dog. That, my friends, is the heart of sportsmanship. Us dog show people are a competitive lot – if we weren’t, we’d be doing something else. But in the end, only one dog wins, so let’s enjoy the journey that brought us there.
Congratulations to “Josie,” GCHB CH Collino D’Oro Solo Un Bacio. She had to overcome a lot of great dogs to win that day! And congratulations to all the dogs, owners, and handlers who traveled to West Virginia to compete. You all made Josie work for it.
There are more people to thank than I can possibly do here. It took a really big Spinone Village to pull it off. But special thanks have to go to Barb Spence. National Specialties are always a major undertaking, but as we know, this one has had to endure a lot of special challenges, and Barb never hesitated to stick with it and make it happen. Thank you, thank you, Barbara Spence. Thank you also, Theron Hull-Walton. Your young attitude and spirit of sportsmanship gives me hope for the future of this club and of our breed.
Mark the week of May 15-22nd, 2022 on your calendar. That will be the next gathering of the Spinone Club of America for our annual National Specialty, in Lebanon, Oregon. I hope to see you all there!
President, Spinone Club of America