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Almost every year since 1986, I’ve attended the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in New York City. The show has been held in a variety of venues, including all four Madison Square Gardens, since 1877. My first show was as a journalist for The Newtown Bee covering local residents who brought their dogs to compete in the second longest continuously held major sporting event in the country, just behind the Kentucky Derby.
Throughout the years, I’ve also been an exhibitor, a spectator, and a public relations consultant working for the show. I’d like to return to my reporter roots and present all the major winners from Westminster Week held February 10, 12, and 13. The 142nd Annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show featured nearly 3,000 dogs, with two days of Best of Breed competition held at Piers 92/94 and Group and Best in Show competitions held at Madison Square Garden.
Best In Show
The Bichon Frise Flynn won Best in Show under Judge Betty-Anne Stenmark at Madison Square Garden on February 13. Flynn, a 5-year-old male, officially known as GCHP Belle Creek’s All I Care About Is Love, was handled by Bill McFadden, and is owned by Patrina and Bruce Odette of Denver, Colo., co-breeders Lorrie Carlton, Larry Letsche, DVM, of Plymouth, Mich., and Lindsay VanKeuren of Parker, Colo., with Glenda Blue as co-breeder. On February 12, Flynn won the Non-Sporting Group in a field of 21 Best of Breed winners.
Masters Agility Champion
The Border Collie Fame (US) of Sparta, N.J., owned and handled by Jessica Ajoux, won the 5th Annual Masters Agility Championship on February 10 at Pier 94. Fame (US), a 7-year-old female, officially known as MACH Speedoggie Freedom of Expression MXF, MUS, XF, bested a field of 330 Agility competitors over two rounds of competition. After advancing to the Championship round of 60 finalists, Fame (US) and Ajoux, the winners of 20-inch height division, posted the fastest clean round of 29.53 seconds to become the 2018 Masters Agility Champion.
Masters Obedience Champion
The Labrador Retriever Heart of Columbia, N.J., owned and handled by Linda Brennan, won the 3rd Annual Masters Obedience Championship at Westminster on February 12 at Pier 94. Heart, a 5-year-old female, officially known as OTCH Rhumbline’s Once In A Blue Moon UDX6 OGM BN GN VER RE JH ACT1, bred by Susan Carpenter, bested a field of 24 Obedience competitors over two rounds of competition. Heart and Linda posted the best combined score of 294½ out of a possible 300 to become the 2018 Masters Obedience Champion. This is an amazing three-peat win for Heart and Linda, who triumphed at the inaugural event in 2016, as well as in 2017.
Best Junior Handler
Lily Mancini with her English Springer Spaniel Liam won Best Junior Handler under Judge Clifford W. Steele on February 13 at Madison Square Garden. Mancini, handling her 8-year-old English Springer Spaniel, officially known as GCH Cerise Celtic Thunder, took top honors in the Junior Showmanship competition besting a field of 95 entrants, narrowed down to eight finalists. Finalists were selected over two days of preliminary competitions. Mancini will receive a $10,000 Junior Showmanship Finalists Scholarship Award. Competitors in Junior Showmanship are from 9 to 18 years old and are judged on their handling abilities.
Hound — The Borzoi Lucy of Chiba, Japan, handled by Valerie Nunes-Atkinson for owners Michele Molnar, Jamie Danburg, and Minoru Kato, won the Hound Group under judge Jeffrey Pepper. Lucy, a 6-year-old female, officially known as GCHG Belisarius JP My Sassy Girl, bred by Kyoko Ozeki, took top honors in a field of 33 Best of Breed winners comprising the Hound Group.
Toy — The Pug Biggie of Chapel Hill, N.C., handled by Esteban Farias for owner Carolyn Koch, won the Toy Group under Judge David Kirkland. Biggie, a 3-year-old male, officially known as GCHS Hill Country’s Puttin’ On The Ritz, bred by Kristy and Kevin Ratliff, took top honors in a field of 23 Best of Breed winners comprising the Toy Group.
Herding — The Border Collie Slick of Schwenksville, Penn., handled by Jamie Clute for owners Ricki Johnson, J. Frank Baylis, and Ronni DeLay, won the Herding Group under Judge Robert Vandiver. Slick, a 5-year-old male, officially known as GCHP Majestic Elite Clever Endeavour, bred by Ronni DeLay, took top honors in a field of 31 Best of Breed winners comprising the Herding Group.
Sporting — The Sussex Spaniel Bean of Hampden, Mass., handled by Per Ingar Rismyhr for breeder-owners Karen Ann Toner and Amanda Toner, won the Sporting Group under Judge Elizabeth “Beth” Sweigart. Bean, a 7-year-old male officially known as GCH Kamand’s Full Of Beans @ Erinhill, took top honors in a field of 32 Best of Breed winners comprising the Sporting Group.
Working — The Giant Schnauzer “Ty” of Ocean City, N.J., handled by Katie Bernardin for owners Sandra Nordstrom, Carol Mann, and Maryann Bisceglia, won the Working Group under Judge Robert Slay. Ty, a 5-year-old male, officially known as GCH Ingebar’s Tynan Dances With Wildflowers, bred by Maryann Bisceglia, took top honors in a field of 29 Best of Breed winners comprising the Working Group.
Terrier — The Norfolk Terrier Winston of Peterborough, N.H., handled by Ernesto Lara for owners Victor Malzoni, Jr, Nancy Shaw, and Pam Beale, won the Terrier Group under Judge Rosalind Kramer. Winston, a 5-year-old male, officially known as GCH Yarrow Venerie Winning Ticket, bred by Pam Beale and Beth Sweigart, took top honors in a field of 32 Best of Breed winners comprising the Terrier Group.