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Riley Championship

On June 10 we finished our newest champion Crossroads Isabel.

Crossroads Isabel

Isabel was handled by Pat Harder of Verona Virginia, owner of Isabel’s sire GCH Barnyard Legends Of The Fall “Tristan”.

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Crossroads Bassets is very pleased to announce the arrival of five Basset puppies, 4 girls and one boy whelped March 29, 2009.

If you have ever given thought to owning and AKC Champion Basset Hound and you live in the greater Los Angles, Riverside or Orange County California area, one girl is available for for co-ownership; contact karenspillane@verizon.net

The Dam Crossroads Bassets  AKC Champion Mississippi Mud “Missy”,

The Dam Crossroads Bassets  AKC Champion Mississippi Mud “Missy”

the Sire Max and Pat Harder’s Barnyard Bassets AKC Champion Legends of the Fall “Tristan” award of merit winner at the 2008 Basset Hound Club of America Nationals Dallas, Texas.

Sire Max and Pat Harder’s Barnyard Bassets AKC Champion Legends of the Fall “Tristan” award of merit winner at the 2008 Basset Hound Club of America Nationals Dallas, Texas

We have all watched it on TV. What a rush it must be, we thought, and look at the size of the ring!

As you read this, we have the invitation in our hot little hands, which is extended to the top five AKC ranked dogs in the USA. We are on our way to New York City to the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show!

How do you get there, you ask? “Muddy”, CH Symphony’s Maestro, has been on National Campaign for the year, 2001. Working doggedly at getting the invitation, he’s accustom to transcontinental air travel and performing like a pro!

Where is there? There is JFK Airport, the Metropolitan Hotel, at 59th and Lexington, and Madison Square Garden at Pennsylvania Plaza, for the Show.

The fight attendant brings us a “dog boarding pass”, initialed by the captain, confirming Muddy is on the flight. Resting beneath us, in a pressurized and temperature controlled compartment, just like the cabin, but no movie, no nuts!

A “limousine”, New York for van, whisks us to the hotel. We check in and pick up the folding wire crate that was previously sent to the hotel, an essential element for the day of the show.

We find a tree poking up through the concrete, a small ring of earth circles the base of the tree, protected by a short fence. This becomes ‘our spot’. Every trip to the spot is like a walk though Hollywood, with Madonna. We are photographed, chatted up, interviewed, we are celebrities! New York folks are the BEST!

KarenMuddywalk

We travel from the hotel to Madison Square Garden in a taxi. Here’s the trick- Karen goes out to the street with the folded create, wheels, and Pedigree duffel bag, with the show stuff. I hide in the shadows with the dog in my arms. A cab stops. The driver opens the trunk and puts the stuff in…Karen gets in…holding the door open. I dive in with the dog- the driver spins around and babbles something in a foreign dialect, I slap a $20 bill in his hand, the cab rockets forward- to “The Garden”!

Wow, it’s nuts!

The push in to our “bench” was truly exciting. A crush of folks and dogs all in great spirits, broad smiles, an occasional hand shake or back slap from a complete stranger, telling us how much “We really love Basset Hounds” and “Good Luck”!

It’s like a supermarket; the signs hang from the ceiling defining the isle. We park in the Basset Isle and realize we are in a dog petting zoo for the next six hours. “Can I pet him? Can I take his picture? What’s his name? Where are you from? How did you get here? Why is he so sad?”

Entering The Garden is awesome! Realizing all that have come before you, the 126th year of The Westminster Kennel Club Show, not to mention the human athletes and rock stars that have performed there. And here you are… who would have thought? It’s humbling and at the same time makes you realize, dreams can come true, with hard work and commitment.

There is no ring fence, just a velvet rope; a solid wall of spectators makes up the border. The base of the judging ramp is chrome, the breed ring is tiny; we look forward to the competition…Here we go!

“Good Luck in Group”, all our Basset Hound friends said, as they left the show grounds for the day. They leave us on our “onesies” to take on all the unknown demons of Hound Group competition, much later that afternoon.

Early in our quest for championship points with our first show dog, through a bizarre and cruel twist of fate, we won Best of Breed. Our total dog show experience until that fateful day always started about eight AM and was over by eight-thirty AM, having either won the points for that event or just having another exciting morning at a dog show. But now we got The Breed and found ourselves dispatched on to a place called “Group”.

The Group ring is HUGE. We know not a single solitary sole, not a friendly face in the crowd. There are conversations going on all around us, we speak with no one but watch with awe in our eyes. We are the chosen Basset Hound pitted against the Hound Universe.

A fellow competitor explains our place in the line, “behind the PBGV or Beagle since Bassets are slow”. “Don’t worry”, our new friend said, “ Bassets never get picked in Group” … what a relief. She is right on the money- we don’t get picked, but now that we have been here…we want a placement!

We are blessed with good fortune and an excellent Basset, Champion Symphony’s Maestro, “Muddy”, and found ourselves representing the Basset Hound breed in the Hound Group more and more often, over time. One day to our amazement, a delightful lady with a Bloodhound that regularly wins in Group says, “that’s a really nice Basset Hound”. “Thank you, but Basset Hounds never get picked in Group”. “That dog’s nice enough to win in Group” she says, and as they say … the rest is history.

The lady is Gretchen Schultz, a second-generation Southern California professional handler, and with her husband Bruce, they are “Camp Schultz”, AKC certified professional handlers and members of the Professional Handlers Association.

All because of Bruce and Gretchen’s belief in “one nice Basset”, we closed 2001 with 46 Best of Breed wins, 436 Breed Points, 1640 All Breed Points, 3 Group First’s, 2 Group Second’s, 3 Group Third’s, and 4 Group Fourth’s. As one judge told us “it’s a total package we look for, especially in Group”.

It’s an awesome feeling to get a Group placement, to know on that given day, your dog is one of the “Best of the Best” on the show grounds. The ribbons are big and the trophies are keepsakes. The show officials and sponsoring club officers all gather round as the cameras flash and the prizes are presented. “Top Dog People” stop you and congratulate you on the win and say what a nice dog you have. It’s a different level of competition and definitely “The Other Dog Show”.

Crossroads Bassets …

Flickr Photos