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Friday, 27 September 2013

Geneva gem for Valentina

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The jewel in the crown of the European Dog Show in Geneva proved to be the Scottish Terrier, Filisite Brash Koh-I-Noor, owned and bred by Valentina Popova from Russia.

Topping the lot out of 8,000 dogs in Switzerland, the Scottie had been sent through from the breed by well known Swedish judge Dan Ericcson, the Group by former AKC Chairman Ron Menaker and then taking the ultimate award from Switzerland’s famous Hans Muller, now retired from duties at the FCI but an appropriate judge for the show in his home country. Unusually a Karelian Bear Dog owned by Dawne Deeley from Canada was Reserve BIS to big cheers from the crowd.

 Switzerland is a small dog country and a tremendous effort was put in by the organising group, headed up by the dynamic duo of Barbara Muller and Laurent Pichard. In fact the show was organised by one of the local clubs where Laurent and Barbara are involved, the Society Vaudoise de Cynologie, and not the Swiss Kennel Club as many people thought.


More intense


The interest in world and European dog shows now seems much higher than it ever has been in the many years I have been attending dog shows. With the advent of the internet, general awareness is higher and there is information zinging around in seconds flat; people are more in tune with what is going on in other parts of the world, in life in general and especially in the dog game. So nowadays these big shows are much more high profile with exhibitors attending from all around the globe and fellow clubs and organisers being more aware of what one country is doing for their shows. So when the FCI has section meetings and countries get ‘the vote’ to run a major event, it’s quite a big deal. Switzerland got their thumbs up in Dublin in 2009 and, of course, OUR DOGS has been supporting their event ever since. 

There is much to be done when staging an event like this and the level of work and detail goes up by many notches over the normal shows run by clubs. It is far more intense on a number of levels.

Countries need a good sub structure as well as willing and experienced organisers; the venue and location are also vital as is a strong sponsor and supporting network.


Great location and venue


In fact the location and venue for this show was amazing. As you flew into Geneva airport, you actually passed the Palexpo building... I could nearly see the OUR DOGS stand! Two minutes in the shuttle bus had you in the superb Starling Hotel adjacent  to  the  show  ground  where  the  judges  and  VIPs walked each day…out of the hotel, into the side door of Hall 6.  All strategically perfect for the organisers and visitors.

Each morning the judges had a meeting in the VIP restaurant and this room was then transformed into a press briefing room in association with OUR DOGS who again acted as the International Media Partner for the show. Two such press conferences were arranged in association with OUR DOGS, firstly on the Friday and then the Sunday. First day of the EDS both Laurent and Barbara gave some details together with Linda Volarikova (SK) who gave a power point presentation to the press team. We were told that there were 3486 entries at the CACIB show, 8000 at the EDS coming from 52 countries. There were judges from 32 countries. The winner of the Swiss top dog competition was introduced at the briefing by Joanna Rhomberg from Eukanuba…this was an Italian bred Borzoi, handled by Christine Jacquir from Lausanne. Loredana Salina, who was working so well for the organisation, did a mini interview in French and English with Christine. 

The number of people helping at the show from other countries was quite a theme; Linda Volarikova (Slovakia) was judging Junior Handling but also helped with translations and presentations; Boyan Ivanov from Bulgaria and Loredana (Swiss, Italian, French ….) made a great ‘meet and greet’ team and took care of all the judges; main ring speakers included Sylvie Desserne from France, Petru Muntean from Romania and Thomas Jakkel from Hungary speaking in English. It was just like the Eurovision Song Contest with all the nationalities!


Four days


As is the practice nowadays at the European Dog Show, the first day was used for an International CACIB show which had all 10 groups compete in one day in the one hall. This was seen as a trial day to see how arrangements worked. It did put some pressure on parking and on the show entrance in the morning as all ten groups descended at once, especially for vetting in. This was a one off situation of course as the next three days were much calmer. In fact it seemed like the Thursday was the hardest day and it got easier after that; people need to find their feet and you always get the impression that the ‘normal’ people working at the venue (i.e. non doggie) are a bit shell shocked if they have never seen a major dog show before! We all know what its like, but it can be a shock to the system if you are used to hosting things like fashion shows or car events!


A nice touch by the organisers was a gift of that famous of Swiss products, the Swiss Army Knife with show logo printed on, for all exhibitors, judges and VIPs’. Let’s hope they were not left in their hand luggage at the airport! There also seemed to be a lot of chocolate going around…another good reason for choosing hosts like Switzerland and Belgium (2016!)


Major supporter


The main sponsor was Eukanuba and they dressed the main ring at the end of Hall 6 where all the judging had taken place. They were the natural choice as main show sponsor as their base is of course in Geneva! The Eukanuba stand provided the backdrop at one end of the main ring with tiered seating on one side (nearly always full) and a VIP area on the other side. It was good to meet with all the Eukanuba team at the show; they have a clear understanding of the dog market and have built up a wealth of experience at these kind of events; their technical team would have been a great help for the organisers I am sure. Their live streaming of the show was seen world wide and is now an accepted part of these big events. Mike Bloxsome from the UK Eukanuba team conducted his famous mini interviews on the white couch…quite a Michael Parkinson! 

There were other trade stands, but not as many as at normal events like this; many had been but off by the fact that we were in a non EU country which brought in a raft of red tape for import duties and customs clearances. So the ones who came probably did better!

Press access around the ring seemed easy and there were reserved areas as well as reasonable time to come into the ring to take the group shots. Unfortunately the well prepared podium and attractive backdrop was too far away from the main ring to be used by many of the press for winner’s shots, a point worth bearing in mind for future organisers. Romania had an ideal set up actually in the ring and it seemed to work well. Any distance between the ring and a backdrop seems to be a problem for access; same for the actual press room which was on the far side of the hall. However, free web access was provided for the press…another essential part of the package needed nowadays and always appreciated.

The head of the Eukanuba team at these shows is Jose Luis Ibanez who also spoke at the gala dinner held inside Palexpo on Saturday night; Jose Luis congratulated the organisers and thanked his own hard working team. Jorgen Hindse, FCI Section President for Europe, also congratulated the EDS team and commented on the international nature of the helpers. Rafael de Santiago thanked the organizers for the invitation and commented on the lovely dogs and friendly country. Hans Muller received a warm reception when he rose to speak.


Many presidents!


Sunday morning’s press conference featured many presidents! The FCI top man in the shape of Rafael de Santiago, Peter Rub (Swiss), Lubosh Siroky (Czech Kennel Club President and the next host of the EDS) Laurent and Barbara and many key people from kennel clubs due to host major events. Markku Mahonen from Finland welcomed everyone there for 2014; the Czech team of Lubosh, Christina and Helena extended their welcome to Brno and there was much exchanging of gifts and goodies from each country! Press people love freebies….

Rafael reminded everyone that Puerto Rico had been accepted into the FCI at the last WORLD DOG SHOW in Berne, Switzerland in 1979 and Hans Muller said he was delighted to be able to judge the W DS in his home country. 

The press corps showed their support…there are some regulars now without whom these shows would not be the same! A pointed question was asked by the Russian representative querying ‘how many American entries were there at the show’; this was in direct response to the recent letter from the AKC showing concern about certain legislation in Russia and the impact on the world of dogs and in particular the World Dog Show due to be held in Moscow in 2016. In fact the RKF stand had seen a lot of support for its show from many quarters. This is a story that will run for a while. (Six from USA incidentally! Oh and 51 from the UK) 

As you would expect in Switzerland, all groups ran to time.

It was good to see Caterina Molinari a bright new, young judge officiating over the Junior Handling final in the main ring earlier in the afternoon.

In the main ring we had traditional music, horns, Bernese Mountain dogs and carts and then presentations to Hans Muller (BIS Judge)and others and of course the official flag handover from Switzerland to the Czech republic followed by a video of what we might find in Brno in 2014.

Sunday’s BIS finale was cheered on by a big crowd with Thomas and Sylvie building up the tension before the Scottie eventually won through. Valentina was delighted and dutifully posed for all the photos. She has been inundated since the win doing many media interviews. Richard Hellman piloted the Karelian Bear Dog into reserve spot much to the delight of absentee owner Dawne Deeley, following closely in Canada! Dawne told OUR DOGS “What a win. The support and positive comments have been AMAZING!!! You know, I'm going to be pinching myself for a very, very long time.  I've always had faith in my dogs and many thanks to Richard who is part of the family!”

An Artesian Bassett Normand from Portugal made up the more unusual final threesome. 

All was finished in good time for an after show party in the main ring enjoyed by winners, judges, organisers, sponsors and supporters.


English news


Paula Steele’s Basenji, BISS Int GB Lux Bel & Ch Akmar Queen Ankhesenamun won BOB at the European Dog Show with second place in the Group and also BOB at the International Show. Saba is handled in Europe by Naomi Van Mourik from the Netherlands.

Lorraine Harvey’s Borzoi, Ch Albaneiler Belisama won BOB at the European Dog Show and was shortlisted in the Group.

Warren Bradley from Wales made the trip to Geneva and handled the Welsh Terrier, Mal Ch Tha Ch Ina Ch Vnm Ch Aman Raider Of The Lost Ark to BOB and Group 3 finalist at the International Show, owned by Penny Chong & Won Jau Ming.

Chris McLean from Scotland enjoyed a trip to Geneva with her Akitas. Her veteran boy, Multi Ch Beaufleets Dodging Daggers At Melodor, handled in Europe by Nancy Daponte from Belgium, won BVIB and was shortlisted in the Group at the EDS. Also Int Ch Melodor Master Of Disguise won 3rd Excellent from the Champion class. Kumatomo’s Shades of Grey at Melodor won 3rd Excellent in Junior class. Many thanks to Judge Pinto Louis Texeira.


Thank you


At the end of the event, Laurent Pichard and Barbara Müller, the popular co organisers, said

“The European Dog show 2013 in the Palexpo halls Geneva, has come and gone and all the committee members of the Société Vaudoise de Cynologie would like to say a heartfelt thank you to the judges for officiating at our show, the exhibitors who came and all the trade stands and press.” 

They both thanked the judges for their ‘enormous commitment in making the European Dog show a huge success’ and thanked everyone for the many e-mails, flowers, compliments and presents. They deserved this praise as they had both worked themselves into the ground both at the show and in the many months of preparation before hand. 

On Monday the European Section voted the 2017 show to go to Ukraine so Kiev is on the menu in four years time! Quite a difference to the mountains and chocolate of Geneva!

This vote shows a further swing towards Eastern Europe where world and European shows have recently taken place in Poland, Romania, Hungary, Croatia, Slovenia and Slovakia, and in 2016 of course Moscow for the World Dog Show.

Many shows, including Crufts, are now looking eastwards in the search for more entries to maintain levels at their events. The Russian element is also filling many of the top spots in the ring so how ironic that there is controversy now surrounding that event in three years time. Here in Geneva they brought over 1,300 dogs, the third highest country total.

Let’s hope things will be resolved for the benefit of everyone in dogs. 

Prior to that we now look forward to 2014 and the European Show in Brno in the Czech Republic and the World show in Helsinki, both of which promise to be big and enjoyable affairs.

Read 2822 times Last modified on Monday, 12 September 2016

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