by Cara Ryckman
first published in Top Notch Toys, November 2017
The 2017 Chihuahua Club of America National Specialty was held October 14th and 15th in St. Louis, Missouri. From the moment the arch came into view, the excitement started. Or, maybe it was when we packed thirteen Chihuahuas into a Suburban with the three of us to begin the 7 hour trip on Wednesday the 11th. We were coming from the Nashville area of Tennessee, but many came from much further away, from all corners of the USA as well as Mexico, Canada, South Korea, and Japan. Our furtherest entries were from South Korea at 6663 miles away - Keumdong Han and Eddy Yum, thank you for being with us! Japan was a close second at 6390 miles – thank you Sumiyo Kihara for making the journey.
In Sweepstakes, judge Jessica Simon had an entry of 30 long coats and 29 smooth coats. Best in Sweepstakes was Victory Z Fine China, bred and owned by Kathryn V Hulstein. Best of Opposite in Sweepstakes was Mar-El To’s Party Favor, bred by Jennifer A Dunlap Snyder and Ryan N Snyder and owned by Misti Cook.
Jessica Simon says, “Being nominated and chosen by my peers to judge this year's Chihuahua Club of America National Specialty Sweepstakes was truly an honor. I could not have enjoyed it more! The quality was deep and I anticipate my "bests" will certainly have a positive impact on our breeds future. Many typey, sound puppies were presented to me with saucy terrier like temperaments. Showmanship was outstanding as well for these babies. Thank you to those that shared your gorgeous puppies with me, I had a blast!”
In the regular classes, judge Lauren A Payne drew an entry of 116 longcoats and 91 smooths. There were also 4 stud dog entries in longs and 2 in smooths, 1 longcoat brace, and 1 junior showmanship entry.
Best of Breed was GCH-S Ch. Knockout White Owl, bred owned and exhibited by Kristi Green. “Izzie” was also Best Owner Handled in Show. Best of Opposite to Best of Breed was the longcoat BOV winner GCH Ch Destiny’s Astronomical Kid, bred owned and exhibited by Lana Bowes.
Select Dog in Smooths was GCH-P Ch. Sonnus Filho (Sanchez) bred by Romulo Sanchez Torres of Mexico City, owned by Romulo Sanchez Torres and Janet and Jimmy Moses, and shown by Erika Lanasa. Select Bitch was Ch Dartan Kari on the Tradition At PPC, bred by Tamra Delaney and Darwin Delaney and owned by Rachael Lynn Miller. Award of Merits went to Knockout Tiger by the Tail bred and owned by Kristi Green, GCH Ch Knockout Never Say Never bred by Kristi Green and owned by Kris Specht, Ch Victory’s In My Veins (Sanchez) bred owned and exhibited by Romulo Sanchez Torres, and Ch. Cogie’s Burning Roux bred by Cathleen Cogan Bird and David Roy and owned by Joe and Margaret Eoff.
Best of Winners and Best of Opposite Sex in Smooth was a 9-12 month puppy dog entry, Sonnus Petit Fils (Sanchez), bred owned and shown by Romulo Sanchez Torres of Mexico City. Winners’ Bitch was also from the 9-12 puppy class: Destiny’s Atomic Blonde, bred and owned by Lana Bowes and Chanel Brooks, handled by Lana Bowes.
In longcoats, Best of Winners was the dog from the Bred By class, Connemara Hello Kello, bred by Conni Robinson and Daniel Chavez and owned by Conni Robinson. Winners Bitch was also from the Bred by class: Krispin Private Party, bred and owned by Dail P. Corl.
Select Dog in Longs was our 1 year old GCH-B Ch. LF’s Coconut Mojito Terlinga, bred by Josee Picard and Melaine Tailly and owned by Cara Ryckman and Chelsea Hahn. Chelsea and Coconut also took Best Owner Handler in longcoats. Select Bitch in longcoats was Ch Dazzles Blessing Touch, bred by Donna Jensen and owned and exhibited by Linda Evans. Awards of Merit in longcoats went to GCH-B Powder River’s Hot and Spicy, bred by Tammi Lindskov and owned by Tammi and Derek Lindskov and Barbara House, GCH-G Ch H & H Hotrod, bred owned and exhibited by Michelle Herod, GCH Tegs Let’s Have a Party bred by Gerry and Tammy Desjardins and owned by Jennifer Snyder and Sylvia Farkas, GCH-S Ch Dazzles MGM Diamonds Are Forever bred by Donna Jensen and owned by Bob Gentile, and Ch Dazzles Just The Right Touch bred and owned by Donna Jensen.
The 7th annual Top Twenty Competition was held on October 15th, co-chaired by Willo Barfield and Katherine Bornemann. Ring stewards were Allynid Bunten, Katherine Bornemann and Sharon Massad. The committee for the Top 20 this year were Randy Carr, Colleen Comber, Jen Lee and Sharon Massad. The tables were beautifully decorated and the first thing we noticed when we came into the room were the beautiful handmade artistry of Jen Lee – she had made and uniquely painted Chihuahua statues for each table, which were later auctioned off. Amazing and beautiful and we were so proud to take one home – thank you Jen!! Each year for the Top 20, the judges are not disclosed until the event happens. This year, the AKC judge was Max Hurd. The breeder judge was Gloria Johnson. The handler judge was James Lehman. Winner of the Top 20 this year and also winning the People’s Choice award voted on by each attendee was GCH-G Ch Dartan’s Diamonds Are Forever at Viva, bred by Darwin Delaney and Kathy Sawyer and owned and exhibited by Cecilia Bozzo. We especially enjoyed the tribute to past winners who included GCH-G Ch H & H Hotrod who won in 2016, GCH-P Ch Sonnus Filho (Sanchez) who won in 2015, and GCH-G Ch Ayrwen’s Star Kissed Delight who won in 2012. There was not a dry eye in the room with the standing ovation for GCH-G Ch Victory Mask of Zorro, who was the Top Twenty Winner in 2013, who tragically passed away just weeks before the national.
Like all national specialty weekends, we saw old friends and made new ones. We ate at the fabulous Twisted Tree restaurant that didn’t disappoint with its amazing onion rings and fried lobster and falling apart tender steak. We had great raffle wins of the Chihuahua robe, the little statue I wanted holding an American Flag, a wonderful basket of clothes and toys, a carrier that expands into tunnels, and more – thanks to the Ways and Means committee and all who donated for a fabulous raffle. The vendors were excellent – we came home with all sorts of Chihuahua clothes, belly bands, and a mountain of bedding. There was a fun puppy match with some lovely babies coming up! Til next year, my friends.