THIS was the 11th edition of the Golden Groomer in Liege, Belgium on the 19th & 20th of July 2014, and is one of the only grooming competitions held during an international dog show.
There was a jury of highly talented international groomers and breed specialists (Mrs Kitty Dekeersgieter, Mrs Caroline Lezier, Mrs Carol Hanson, Mr Luis Martin del Rio, Mr Jean Vion, Mr Sébastien Patient).
Almost a heart attack. That was what happened to the President when he informed everyone how many entries came in in a couple of days prior to closing date. His Secretary told him that they hadn’t even reached 1,000 entries close to entries closing day, but in those last few days the number climbed to 2,094, and that is 37 entries more than last year.
As long as I can remember the show in Gent has always been a one day show, unique in its concept, interesting for the visitor who can see all the breeds on one day, but not that interesting for everyone.
There is without a doubt more advantages than disadvantages to spread a show over two days. Gent was also a two yearly show. I wonder if that will change in the near future. It would be nice, as Gent is popular and has enough potential to do it. This was Gent’s 45th show and probably the start of a new era. Unfortunately, the Honorary President, Mr Pierre Verborgh, could not enjoy the results of the changes he agreed upon as he died less than three weeks before the show.
As every show, it all started small. In 1964 Mr José Misselyn organised the first edition in Menen, a small town near Kortrijk. In 1970 I entered my Great Dane for this show and I remember that it took place in the first Expo Halls of Kortrijk. Twenty-five years ago I started to work as a reporter for the national magazine in Belgium, WOEF, the Eurodogshow was my first show, and since then I have been a yearly visitor and have seen it grow larger, bigger and more professional.
While last year the Brussels Dog Show was surfing on high waves, this year they were forced to replace the regular date that is normally mid-December, to the summer, because the Heizel Palaces were not available.
If we look back in history, there is no show in Belgium that has changed more often than the one organised by the Club of Moldernete. For several years the show was held an the ice rink at Mol, a town close to Holland. But that was not the most convenient place. Most rings had to be placed outside and there was always the risk of rain spoiling the weekend and when it was warm, there was hardly any shade to find shelter.
It HAS taken Brabo a long time to recover from its lows of past years. And who would have expected that this show would now be ranked in the top three? Indeed, there were 18% more dogs entered compared to last year which was already a good year.
Hoogstraten held its 40th show this year. Usually held in January, but because the dog show in Gent that is only held every two years was not taking place this year, Hoogstraten moved to February as the shows did not clash.
However, on the closing date for entries, there was panic in the committee, as only 1,200 dogs were entered. That would have been a complete disaster, as last year the show had 1,764 entries. The organisers were forced to extend the closing date by a few extra days. At the end they had an entry of 1,619 dogs. I wonder seriously where this evolution will end. Which show will have the courage to be the first to say “the closure date is the closure date, and every dog that is entered after the closure date will not be accepted”. That is, in my opinion, the only way to stop this evolution.
It is interesting to find out what makes a success of something and what doesn’t. Belgium has several shows, most of them in Flanders. Kortrijk is probably the most famous, and Brussels is its biggest challenger. Shows in Wallonia have struggled and some disappeared, such as La Louvière and Namur. Charleroi is back but still recovering. The two remaining shows, however, are doing very well, Liège on one side, and Mouscron on the other side of the linguistic border that divides Belgium. The success of Mouscron has lasted now for 40 years, so it’s time to celebrate!
The first show of the year in Belgium was almost a nightmare for the committee. Two weeks before the show was due to take place, only a little more than 600 entries were registered. That would mean a big financial fiasco for the club, but fortunately the weekend of the closing date ended in euphoria with 1,369, two entries more than last year’s show.