As I write this Montgomery County has come and gone. It is the show weekend I wait for with the most anticipation all year. Not only because my own clubs Hatboro and the STCA are during this weekend -- it is a unique dog weekend like no other. I treasure each and every one I have attended since I was a little girl. I remember the awe of seeing the top winning Terriers and their handlers who were like rock stars to a young junior. Just to have the ability to rub elbows with some of the greatest breeders in our breed and actually get hands on their stock is special. The weekend was never complete without lively debates during the dinner meetings, all in the best interest of our breed. I also remember when I was old enough being able to get together in the bar after dinner and actually socialize and in some cases even dance with some of these same people.
Someone once called Montgomery the international conference on Terriers. That is a very accurate summary of this very special weekend. It not only embraces our national specialty but many of the other Terrier breeds as well. People come in from all over the world for this unique event. Not only can you be involved in your own breed but you can go and check out some of the other Terrier breed events as well. STCA events not only included conformation but agility, obedience and this year we even learned about barn hunting. If you were at the STCA host hotel you even got to give that a go! I don’t know where else this can happen.
Many clubs also involve their members with dinners, meetings, seminars and such. The STCA hosted a grooming “Tune-Up” event. I was very flattered to be involved as one of the presenters with breeder/owner/exhibitor Marianne Melucci. It was a way for the club to give back to its members. We had a blast helping about 15 Scottie owners go stem to stern, each grooming their Scots to look their best. Along the way we also had some breed discussion about structure and how grooming can help hide some of the little flaws. We ended the evening with a few handling tips. Lots of laughter, conversation and some pizza. These types of gatherings make the weekend so special.
Sometimes I hear people say we should leave this venue, but I believe so much would be lost by doing this. Terrier people are a unique group and we pride ourselves in this. Did you know that Montgomery is a regular point show with classes only for Terriers? That’s right. The winner is awarded a BIS ribbon in addition to a Group 1. We were one of only two such events so many years ago. Talk to Terrier people and ask them what wins are the most meaningful to many of them and you will find this weekend mentioned. It isn’t that “I won at Hatboro, Devon, Montgomery or even our Specialty.” It is usually said, “I won at Montgomery!” That simple phase brings so much pride and is recognized as a monumental achievement. Just sit ringside and see how many people stay for the Terrier Group and cheer on their breeds. Where else do you see this?
That talk always seems to include how we should be showing indoors as well. We all want perfect conditions to show in, however the funny thing is that if you talk to people about their Montgomery memories it is usually the messy show, mud, rain and even snow that people have the best stories to tell. Go ask and you will see. Besides, what is better than to see our dogs on grass on a cool, brisk autumn morning? The dogs love that. Yes we have had some hot ones too, but how many of us ran to the mall to get a new outfit to replace the tweeds we thought we would be wearing!
In the end, it’s not about who started this weekend. It’s not its geographic location. It is the fact that it is steeped in tradition. People are proud that they have never missed one and feel sad when they do. If you linger after the Group on Sunday you see people saying goodbye to their old friends as well as the new ones they have made. It is always accompanied by, “see you next year.”
So congrats to the winners! There were some wonderful Scotties out there this year.
Kathleen J. Ferris
Published 2/2015 in the AKC Gazette