Today I celebrated Father’s Day and it’s been a very good day. I got calls from all three boys and a nifty email card from Alexandra. Phyllis and I enjoyed lunch at Outback and with discounts and gift cards felt almost as if we robbed them of our meal.
Whenever I think of Father’s Day it makes me recall Ch. Gingeor Bellbrooke’s Choice R.O.M. “Patrick” as he was called earned the nickname “Daddy of them all” at the kennel because he was a fine sire and many of our winners were his children and grandchildren.
The story of how I bought him for $150 with time payments has been told enough to not need repeating, but the big break he got as a sire is a series of events that were connected in an interesting fashion.
When Patrick came to live at my kennel from John and Ada Giuliano’s Bellbrook Collies he was nine months with very little training. In those days many clubs had several match shows each year to train puppies and also to raise money to put on an annual point show. The matches also provided a grand training ground for prospective judges.
My first chance to judge Collies came at the Burlington Co. match in New Jersey. My best Collie puppy was a blond coated bitch with a lovely lean head and beautiful outline. She belonged to Barbara Woodmancy and would go on to finish with four majors (when majors were tough to get) and took the eastern Collie world by storm She could have been bred to any dog in the area and his owners would have felt honored. All this before I acquired Patrick.
Because he was a quality pup, but one who needed some training, Patrick went to his first match soon after I got him at the South Jersey C.C. He not only took Best In Match, but caught the eye of Barbara Woodmancy who owned The Glamour Girl, Ch. Gregshire’s Little Honeycomb. Barbara decided to gamble on the quality and pedigree of the young pup and asked me to whelp the litter since her job made puppy care nearly impossible.
The resulting litter of ten puppies were all sable as the dam was pure sable. Nine pups would charge to the fence to greet visitors, but the tenth would wait for the commotion to die down, then walk out at his own speed. Barbara took two puppies and I got the rest and eventually she gave me Honeycomb as well since she was moving to Florida which in those days was very tough on Collies.
I knew she’d take the dignified pup who was drop dead gorgeous and she did. At about five months she asked me to come see him and asked if I would like to show him since she didn’t want him going to Florida either. The pup took several all breed Best in Matches and finished before his sire who didn’t like dog shows. That puppy became Ch. Jadene’s Breezalong B.O.B. at the 1967 CC of A, winner of nine working groups and a B.I.S. all breeds under Alva Rosenberg, arguably the greatest all breed judge who ever lived.
Breezalong launched Patrick’s siring career and was a great winner in east coast competition which was a very competitive area . The whole situation of how Patrick started down the road to an R.O.M. designation ties in to the lovely winner at the first match I ever judged.
Now the R.O.M. behind a dog or bitch’s name is arbitrary at best. It was a whole different world when Patrick sired thirty champions than it is now. You could have top stud dog of the year with four or five champions and breeder of the year with three or four. We have many more shows now and a much different playing field.
Likewise the approach to licensing judges has changed as well. We used to list the matches and/or sweepstakes we judged on our applications. Those stats and how long we’d been breeding and what we’d accomplished went past Len Brumby, AKC Exec. Vice President, who seemed to know all there was to know about everyone. Today attending a national specialty and taking an open book test seem to be the big requirements.
I’ll let you decide which system produced judges who know their job best.
Think about it!
p.s. For those of you who belong to the CC of A you might send an email to Michelle Esch-Brooks who has produced two yearbooks on time when this is unheard of in the CC of A. She’s made a wonderful transition from talented junior handler to talented young lady. The apple definitely didn’t fall far from the tree!