Wednesday, August 29, 2012


We arrived at Fair before the gates opened to set up our place on the bench that Haddie and my son were assigned. Our area at the Fair was the last dog aisle before the chickens, pigeons, rabbits, and agricultural booths began. We had strict instructions to only enter through the West Door - no cuts through the East Door to stress out the little critters behind us. Once the Public was allowed to enter, it was Show Time.
The first event was Showmanship; think West Minister Dog Show. While this has very little to do with CCI Commands, the dogs were expected to stay Standing while their Handler fiddled with their feet and tail, and showcased their clean teeth to the Judge when asked. This may sound easy, but it really is a challenge. Do you know how often a dog wants to sit when there is nothing else to do, and when their legs are purposefully being moved by someone else?
When Haddie and my son first learned this technique in late Spring, Haddie was famous for plopping her bum on the ground. You touch, she sat. He worked with her at home until she realized that she had to maintain her Stand regardless of people touching her. She finally got it, and those times in the Ring at Fair when she started to lower her back-end, my son was quick to correct her. She never made complete contact with the floor.

Based on my son's age, he was in the Junior Category all weekend. Based on Haddie's age she was listed as an Intermediate. Combined they were entered in the Junior Intermediate Division at Fair.
My son enjoyed his first time in the Ring, but not knowing really what to expect he didn't have too much weight on the outcome. He just didn't want to receive too harsh of critiques by any Judge. He was calm, and did his best, and that was that.
Until he received his final score and pulled a Junior Champion Ribbon for Showmanship. Then he was fired up and ready to rock it for all the additional events yet to come. Nothing like being motivated by an outstanding, highest possible, first performance!
After all the Divisions completed their first round, my son and Haddie were called back to the ring to square off between all the other Junior Champions for Showmanship. The first round of scoring was based on personal achievement - not judged against any person. The second round, however, was scoring to see of all the Champions, who was the Grand Champion.
They used their same dogs for this round, but also had an equalizer dog; a former Service Dog named Edward. The contestants had to also perform Showmanship with this large fella.  That way, in case a Handler's dog was being difficult, all participants got an equal chance to show their skills with the same dog; all things were then equal.
In the end, my kiddo pulled the Grand Champion title with a new ribbon, pin, and this time a Trophy. His motivation and bar to personal achievement went up another notch. His self-confidence was rising by the hour, but he maintained his great humble character.
I feel this is the best time to share that our entire family stayed humble to his success, and were great cheerleaders of our 4-H CCI co-members all weekend. But since this is my blog and this blog stays relatively private from our world, I know I am taking off humble and adding this as my avenue to gush. I am so proud of my son and Haddie!!
We didn't know what to expect from Fair. On paper it looked like a bunch of sitting on a bench, trying your skill at a dog show-style of event, talking to the public, and going home late. I am glad that on paper was not the reality of the weekend. It was jammed with so much fun, and responsibility, and activity - we all looked forward to and enjoyed the few times we did get to just sit on the bench.

Showmanship. The perfect start to our weekend at the Fair!  We had a short amount of time to change, eat our sack lunch, and get ready for Costume ... more to come ...


  1. Awesome! Congratulations to your son and Haddie! That is such an accomplishment!

  2. You should be very proud! That sounds great! and kudos to your son and Haddie! What a great team! Congrats!

  3. Congrats thats great haddie and your son did so good for their first time you should be really proud

  4. I am Hannah's (and Dante's) mom. Every mother deserves a "Proud Momma Moment!" That is just awesome! We are so happy to rejoice with you!! We were very involved with 4-H in NC and are trying to get back involved here in TN since we moved a few months ago. It is such a WONDERFUL program and helps our kids learn such valuable skills.
    We loved reading your story. Thanks for sharing it.