Monday, April 8, 2013

Our First Official Time in the Ring, Part 1

Three days of showing on one week? I was on cloud nine! I've been looking forward to getting Bricklin in the ring since before she was born. I LOVE showing, even though I'm still learning.

The first day of showing in particular was all I could have dreamed of in the ring and more. Seriously!

I had a rough night before the first day. I thought maybe I was getting the stomach bug my sister and her family had. As any of you that show may know, I was very certain I would do anything not to lose my $30 of entries. Hell would freeze over before I would eat an entry without even earning a single point! I'm sure I'll have to at some point, but that was not the day. I didn't eat or drink that morning. Go, show, come home and nap. That was the plan.

We (me, my mom, and Bricklin) arrived early, and I felt out of it, though well enough that I didn't think I was actually sick. A friend, Sherry, arrived with her son Ethan. Her son just turned three and loves dogs. She had the day off work, so she decided to come. She gave me a big hug and was asking different questions about things at the show.

When things got started, I moved closer to the ring opening so I could hear when they called us in. The judge looked very, very experienced, but he seemed really nice. He patted the bulldog boys that were showing before they hopped down from the ramp and was just generally laid back. Good. I wasn't up for a tough judge today. I'm new and I don't feel great.

When it was our turn, I went into the ring. Bricklin was the only one in her age group, not surprised since she's a 6-9 month-er. The judge came up and said hello, then shook my hand. What?! They don't do this! I thought it was quite odd, but he was very friendly with the male bulldogs earlier, so I figured he was just a nice guy.

Bricklin showed well. We got our first (out of one) place ribbon and stood by for best of females.

While I was waiting, one of the show workers came up to me. "Did you mean to put your collar on backwards?"

Immediately I felt offended and embarrassed, yet I knew I couldn't. I told her no and asked for her help. I figured I'd better be as green as possible and take any advice I could. She also told me I should wear different shoes and gave me some tips for stacking.

Bricklin and I went back in the ring. There were three of us. I figured it would go as expected - the obviously pretty female would win, the 22 month old would get 2nd, and I would come in last. However, the judge awarded us with reserve. Of course, we wouldn't be needed, but the ribbon was still nice to have. She also got a ribbon for best puppy. (One out of one...not complaining!)

As I exited the ring, the steward instructed me to "stay right here, please" and the judge told all bullie owners to stay nearby, he had an announcement. Great. Now what did I do?

I hung around, tucking my ribbons in my shirt (I don't have pockets) and hoped I wasn't in big trouble. I got more advice from others while I waited. Best of breed was chosen, and bulldogs exited the ring.

The judge looked out. "You're Jacki, right?" he said, pointing at me.



"Come in here."

I walked into the ring with Bricklin wondering if we were going to be made an example. I'm sorry! I'll wear better shoes next time!

As we walked in, the judge announced it was my birthday. Really? Who told him? Oh geez, word gets around. He said we were all going to sing happy birthday to me, so they did. I smiled like an idiot and couldn't wait for it to be over. I curtseyed and tried to have fun. The judge was all smiles.

"You're from here in York, right?" he asked.


"And where is your boyfriend?"


The judge just stared at me, and I turned around, knowing that, OMG, this is happening. Andrew, my boyfriend, was, of course, right behind me. He got down on one knee, ring box open and diamonds catching all the light.

"Will you marry me?"

I was smiling like an idiot and could hear all the murmurs of the crowd. "You know I will," I said, as though it were a silly question.

He put the ring on my finger and hugged me. We kissed, much to the judge's happiness (he had just started to ask for it). Everyone was clapping and congratulating us as we exited the ring.

Poor chow owners. We totally held them up.

We were SWARMED outside the ring - people I didn't know were congratulating us, I still hadn't really looked too much at the gorgeous ring, Bricklin was being so good, I felt like I was going to pass out, cry, and laugh for eternity all at the same time.

THAT'S about when a gentleman introduced himself from our local newspaper and started to ask us questions. The photographer shot pictures while we were talking. Everyone was still congratulating us, and it was just a wild moment.

I had a little bit of time between that crazy, insane moment and best of puppy that afternoon, so I used that time to EAT and celebrate and get new soft soled shoes for the evening. Bricklin behaved pretty well in the ring, but didn't really catch the judge's eye. I was still so proud of her, and I know she'll continue to do better each time.

Thursday was pretty much a repeat of Wednesday, minus the engagement.

Stay tuned for part 2 with more show oriented pictures and our humbling experience Saturday (aka how not to prepare for a dog show).