Saturday, January 12, 2013



A week or so ago, I received a package from the ABC, containing ballots for the 2014 Specialty and Futurity judges and a nomination form for the ABC Board of Directors. Coincidentally, there are two hugely important issues before the ABC board at this time: 1) whether ABC members will be able to continue to nominate judges of OUR choice in the future to judge our Specialty and Futurity; and 2) where our National will be held in 2015.

1) Let’s talk about nomination of ABC judges first: at the 2012 Regional, the ABC president announced at the membership meeting that a new ABC Judges’ Selection Committee (JSC) had been created, but didn’t explain who the members would be or what the JSC would do.  Apparently all the details hadn’t been worked out yet. However, I had heard this issue discussed before I went off the board in July 2012, and from what I understood at the time, was strongly opposed to it.  

In the meantime, I got a phone call from Phillip Koenig, the co-chair of the new committee.  Phillip called to try to convince me that the new JSC was the fairest and most efficient way to select judges for our National & Regional Specialties. He explained that the JSC would be co-chaired by two people appointed by the ABC president (or the ABC show chair?) and would consist of the 5 unelected Regional Directors, who would accept “suggestions” from ABC members, and would then winnow those suggested judges’ names down to three (3!) names that would appear on a ballot for us to vote on. In other words, even if ABC members “suggested” 12 names for the Specialty, as we did this year, only 3 names would make it onto a ballot. Needless to say, despite that I have the greatest respect for Phillip and all the hard work he does for the ABC, I was not convinced.

Take a look at the 12 names on the 2014 Specialty ballot. Most of the candidates are well-known breeder-judges and the rest are respected all-rounders who often judge our breed. Which 9 names would YOU eliminate from that ballot?

Now look at the 8 names on the Futurity ballot – which 5 or 6 noted breeders would YOU consign to the “circular file”? Which of the people on either ballot did not deserve the honor of being nominated to judge our National Specialty & Futurity? Could you have chosen which people to eliminate?  I couldn’t have.  But I do have an idea that might allow all of us to have our cake and eat it too:

There is currently a nominating committee appointed by the ABC president that is responsible for nominating 3 or 4 people to run for the ABC board each year. The committee’s nominees are frequently elected, but not always. ABC members can also nominate candidates (hence the nominating form in the package I received), and the membership is thereby given the opportunity to infuse some “new blood” into the board, if a majority of ABC members agrees with the nominations from the floor.

If the ABC leadership doesn't think the current judges’ selection process is fair and doesn't trust ABC members to nominate good candidates, why not set up the proposed judges’ selection committee like the BOD nominating committee? Let the new judges’ nominating committee nominate three judges for the Specialty and two for the Futurity each year, but let the members continue to make their own nominations as usual, and may the best man or woman win!  And to make it even more of a win-win situation and introduce some fresh faces into the ABC show rings, make a rule that an individual cannot judge the ABC National or Regional more than once every 6-8 years (or 10 years, or whatever). But please, please, PLEASE, don’t give 5 unelected directors and 2 appointees the authority to decide who’s going to judge at the ABC!!!

2) The second issue we need to consider is the fact that most airlines have banned air travel for our boxers, and the ones that still accept “snub-nosed dogs” charge prohibitively expensive shipping fees even for excess baggage, and change their rules and regulations on what seems to be a flight by flight basis. Will the ABC BOD *finally* put the show in the center of the country in 2015 (it’s only been 15 years since we voted to do that) and make the ABC National accessible to western ABC members and exhibitors?

In the representative democracy that is the American Boxer Club, the solution to the above mentioned urgent problems lies with YOU, the ABC membership. We’re about to elect 4 new board members. Contact the board nominees and ASK if they are committed to making the ABC accessible to western members and exhibitors by moving the show to Topeka or some other central location by 2015. Then ASK if they will vote for or against allowing an unelected committee to determine who is allowed to judge at the ABC Specialty, Futurity and Regional.

If you don’t like their answers, then nominate a candidate who represents YOUR best interests. Board nominations must be in the hands of the ABC secretary by Feb 1. It’s as simple as all that!