Wednesday, February 20, 2008

the Really Big Show

Boy - did morning come early! Solo went downstairs to take care of his morning business in the potty set-up in the Penn's basement ballroom and then up into the tub for some scrubbing. His toe pad that had been lacerated the weekend before didn't seem to be bothering him, although my hair and nails had not yet recovering from the pulling an chewing endured that previous week. After being dried through we returned to the room after picking up some breakfast in the coffeeshop downstairs and began readying ourselves.

The walk across the street to Madison Square Garden was downright bone-chilling. Brrrrrrr. In the teens with a cutting wind to boot. We got the the exhibitors' entrance ramp, showed our paperwork and made our way through the bowels of the Garden to our benching assignment. What a madhouse! For someone who regularly attended rock concerts in her earlier years, I was a bit overwhelmed by the crowds. Stifling for me, Solo really sucked it up since he enjoys meeting anyone and everyone. He's also better at mornings than I am - there wasn't enough caffeine in the world to make me feel more conscious. Thankfully we found several familiar folk to chat with to help pass the time.

David's charge, Lashes (Chinese Shar Pei), was in the ring at 11 so we went down to watch that and experience the floor. The floor was actually more congested than I was (still battling "the crud" on this trip) and we staked out a good spot at ringside where I could take some pictures. Lashes showed wonderfully (as usual) and we hooted and hollered for her during her turn around the ring and when she made the cut. Her tail a-waggin' - always a happy girl. She came away the breed winner and we hoped for some of that mojo for our boy.

Borzoi were scheduled to show at 2 pm. We wandered around a bit then came back to the benches and chatted it up with folks. Our friend Laurie Courtney, another Texan, was there with her girl Molly, and we did some catching up. We took Solo over to the ex-pens to see if he had anything to declare and then brought back over to an empty spot on the benches to brush him out and put a little extra foo-foo on him.

After his tidy-up it was back to the mania on the floor. I was banished from ringside as Jill wanted Solo to be on his best behavior and she hadn't really realized just *how* attached he was until witnessing his mooning behavior in the hotel room. A definite momma's boy. I headed up to the 2nd level seats, taking the camera and leaving Victor with the Flip Video to attempt some ringside action. Hopefully soon I can work on retrieving the various clips on it - it seemed idiot-proof, it's just a matter of getting the time to do it!

Solo in the line-up with Ace (front)

I was a wreck sitting by myself in the stands watching Solo strut his stuff. There were several admirable dogs there, most of them quite a bit older than my brat and carrying more coat. His foot didn't seem to be bothering him at all either, to my great relief. It turns out that another competitor had the same problem with a pad cut and was not as lucky as us. Solo made the cut down to 10 (out of 31 entries), but that was as far as he got! I am still very proud of him and was quite weepy that he even got that, being the youngster that he is. Of course, after we finished showing came the really excruciating part...waiting for the benches to be released! We had arrived there about 10:30 in the morning, and could not take Solo off the bench until 8 pm. Luckily some friends of ours from the Silken world came by and we went to an Irish pub across the way. Some really good food, although really shoddy service. We seemed to have gotten trainees with really bad memories - but at least the food was tasty and the soup nice and warm to try and rid myself of the chills from walking there and prepare for the walk back! Jill had managed to change her flight to leave that night, so she went back to the hotel to pack up.

We watched some of the groups as the line to escape the Garden was quite long and looked absolutely miserable. Since Solo was comfy - we opted to take in the experience of watching live what we've only seen on TV. I can certainly say that witnessing it in person adds quite a bit to it! I am not much for Terriers as a whole - but seeing the Sealyham and Kerry Blue Terriers perform and just act like they owned the ring was amazing. Watching Charmin (the Sealyham) cover the ground like nobody's business and the carriage of the Kerry sent chills over me - they were absolutely stunning dogs. No surprise to me that Charmin took the group, although I was surprised the Kerry walked away empty-pawed. We then cheered on David and Lashes in the Non-Sporting Group and he made the cut, although I was a bit dismayed that that was as far as they got. Last year they had been awarded a Group 4 so I hoped they would get another piece this year.

We got back to the bench and packed up as the line had dispersed and we could make good our escape back to the Penn. We made arrangements to have the van brought up at 7 am the next morning so Victor could head out of the city. Time flew and next thing I knew I was hobbling downstairs with Solo so we could get everything loaded and get Victor on his way. Folks on the street were stopping to admire and pet Solo and chat with us as we loaded up. Finally we got him inside and he settled down quickly on his pillow and they drove off into the morning traffic. It was somewhat anti-climactic. I killed time with a book and breakfast and then checked out to head to the airport and finish out my wait in the terminal. Uno was all over the news that morning and they were speculating on his BIS win before the other groups' dogs had even shown in their breed classes. I need that dog's publicist . It's a bit disheartening at times to see the dogs and owners they constantly play up each year during the show's coverage miraculously take the top award, a notable exception being Cosby's Dandie Dinmont. Anyway - it was still a remarkable experience, and although it didn't end on as high a note as Sassi's participation last year, I still had a marvelous and wonderful time!

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