The Kem and Stuff
There’s only one trophy in our house today. All the others have been given away over the years. The one that’s here is the punch bowl from The Kem Memorial Sweepstakes. Now it’s no secret that I had the good fortune to go BB twice at the National and lots of other wins that would seem noteworthy, but those trophies are all gone. The Kem holds a special place for me and so the trophy stays. It’s been my pleasure to win The Kem once and judge it once. In May of 2016, if all goes well, I’ll judge it again in Indiana.
The Kem was the idea of Gus Sigritz of Cherivale Collies and supported by several mid-western Collie clubs which have now dwindled to two. It was a tribute to the Lodestone Collies founded by Fred Kem, his wife, Madge, and continued by their son, Oren. This Kennel was rare in that while they did not exhibit their dogs were behind many top winners and producers. The Kems were farm people and many of their dogs could work stock. They did not suffer either poor doers or bad temperaments. The list of top kennels that used Lodestone included Noranda, Cainbrooke, Cherrivale, Parader, Honeybrook and many others. Fred Kem and later son Oren contributed great columns filled with wisdom from true breeders.
The year I won the Kem it was held in Cleveland and the judge was Ed Myers. The bitch was Highground The African Queen sired by Ch. Gingeor’s Indelibly Blue and bred by my friend Pat Welle. I had judged “Keno” at a match and after giving her Best in Match tried to buy her. She was a jet black tricolor with the best of eyes, ears, and muzzle and a natural shower. Pat wouldn’t sell, but agreed to a co-ownership since she was unable to get the bitch out to the shows. We agreed that anything she won would go to Pat except the Kem bowl if we won it. That very special trophy was important to me.
Keno was in the last class, which was 9-12 puppy bitches and we were at the end of the ring away from the judge’s table. When Ed Myers turned from the table and started around the ring she locked onto him and followed him all the way to us. Ed was grinning when he got to us and looked down at the bitch, then up at me and said, with a chuckle, “That’s a fair farm Collie you’ve got there!” Have you even felt you had a show won? After seeing his face, the comment and the way Keno was showing I started to think where to put the trophy when I got home. Over the years of showing dogs you can often be surprised by either a loss or a win, but that one I knew. It’s too bad the Kem doesn’t enjoy its former support, because it’s a special event that pays tribute to a special family and their dogs.
I understand the CC of A is in the process of making some change to conform to requirements for a non-profit group licensed in New York. While I don’t understand all the implications its long been my thought that our organization is very unwieldy and could use some streamlining. If we had a vice-president in each of our zones they could get input from their respective areas and take some work off the president. The office of CC of A president can be a nightmare and we’ve all seen good folks attacked for their efforts in that position. Years ago I was asked to accept the nomination to run for president. It gave me a laugh. I’m not politically correct enough to be in politics.
We are in one area of the country getting ample rainfall. It’s green here in Michigan and my grass grows like crazy. Mowing over three acres is a chore so the dinosaur is fairly quiet. I’m sure some folks are thankful for that. With some areas in drought and others with floods, I suppose we have little to complain of by comparison.
I was thinking the other day bout how much I think our tricolors are not appreciated. Probably the first color found in breed it was rumored that sables came about through a cross with an Irish Setter type dog. Likewise was a rumor about a cross to the Borzoi or Russian Wolfhound to refine and lengthen the short broad heads that Collies had originally. A dinosaur can remember faults that would make these rumors seem plausible though today they are no longer evident.
Though color is not of any consequence in the standard between sable, tri, blue and white, the tricolor is extremely useful. Though most choose not to breed two tris together, it creates no issues. Tricolors do a fine job of putting masks on sables without needing makeup. Bred to blues you get a nice mixture of blues and tris. Bred to whites you can enjoy white factored in whatever color is indicated by the white parent. Now this is a genetic simplification, but dinosaurs know that genetics aren’t always simple. Steve Field used to talk about limited dominance and things that make you scratch your head. Don’t forget that whatever the color you need a good dog. That’s obviously the most important.
Think about it!