Wednesday, June 26, 2013

The 2013 ABC: One Down, One to Go…

One Down…

INDIANAPOLIS, Indiana, May 4-10 – First the bad news: mostly gray skies and an on-again, off-again drizzle the whole time we were there.  No restaurants within walking distance of the host hotel and glacially slow service in the hotel restaurant throughout the week. No matting in the ring for the first two specialties –  all the available mats were being used for ABC Obedience, which ran concurrently with the specialties on Saturday & Sunday. The slippery plush green carpet that had been put down in the place of mats was an accident waiting to happen (ringside complained about it all day, to no avail), and sure enough, a handler tripped on a poorly-taped seam and was injured when she hit the floor face-first during BOB on Saturday. For the second specialty on Sunday morning, the green rug had disappeared, but the wall-to-wall carpet that covered the ring wasn’t much better. Note to show chair and superintendent: Conformation dogs and their handlers need secure footing, too!

The show site was definitely a work in progress, but the good news – especially from this headhunter’s perspective – was that class after class featured some of the most beautiful heads and expressions I’ve seen at the ABC in many a year. And there were quite a few dogs and bitches, especially in the younger classes, that I would have loved to take home. What’s more, overtly shy dogs were few and far between, and the judges, who had some very tough choices to make, consistently selected many of the same competitors for their top class placements. Our breed appears to be in very good hands, and after all, we go to the ABC to see the beautiful Boxers…not the beautiful show site.

More good news came in the form of a decision by the ABC BOD to listen to membership, ah...“feedback” on the newly created ABC Judges Selection Committee (JSC). The JSC’s procedures threatened to spark an outright revolt on the part of the ABC membership when they were outlined in the Regional Board Meeting Minutes published in the Winter 2012 edition of The ABC Bulletin and members learned that they would no longer be able to nominate judges for the ABC shows.

By the time the general membership meeting convened on Wednesday evening, May 8, the JSC procedures announced at the meeting had been completely revamped in response to the outpouring of angry protests and negative comments from the Boxer email lists and from the ABC Member Club Presidents Meeting, which took place on Monday, May 6 at the ABC. The “new” procedures announced at the membership meeting  ensure that ABC members will continue to be able to nominate ABC judges directly as we have always done, instead of having our nominating privileges usurped by a panel of five unelected zone directors and two appointed committee chairs. Rather than selecting the ABC judges for us, the new committee will instead work on streamlining the selection process by establishing criteria for prospective judges (a sorely needed reform) and holding primary elections.

All’s well that ends well, but this might not have ended well if so many people hadn’t protested long and loud to the ABC BOD; and if so many of the directors hadn’t been equally opposed when they finally got the straight scoop and realized that the JSC was going to disenfranchise the entire membership!  It’s a shame that the board members who were doing their best all along to represent the members had to take so much flak because of the few directors who thought they knew better than anyone else what was good for the rest of us. Hopefully, next time something comes up that potentially affects the membership, someone will ask the members what they think of it first, before proceeding full speed ahead…

One to Go…

Per the title of this blog, “One to Go” is the fact that the ABC is still not accessible to the members and exhibitors who live in the westernmost part of the US. The ABC directors know that, and they know why: Most airlines will no longer fly “snub-nosed breeds,” and those that still do – as airfreight, not excess baggage – charge a small fortune to ship a Boxer-size dog across the country.  A West Coast handler told me the airline had charged her $3000 round-trip to fly 3 Boxers from California to Indiana and back. How many of us could afford to pay $1000 just to get one dog to the ABC and back home?

At the board meeting on Tuesday, May 7, the chair of the Site Committee reported to the directors that the Topeka site was not suitable because there were too few rooms available and it was an hour and twenty minutes drive from the airport to the hotel. The site committee therefore recommended a 2-year extension on our contract with the Wyndham. After a discussion of the committee’s recommendation (Oh, to have been a fly on the wall!) the board ultimately voted to extend the contract for 1 year, through 2015. There were only 3 dissenting votes, from 3 of the directors who live west of the Mississippi.

So here we are, 15 years later, back to square one. And by the way, it’s true that “Tornado Alley” runs right through the Midwest during March, April and May, but it’s also true that you can’t get more Midwest than Indiana. Check out the stats at the following URL:

You know, it’s often said that where there’s a will there’s a way. The ABC BOD is a very smart group of people. If they have the will, they’ll find a way. Soon.

Coming Next Month:


If you’re as frustrated by ARVC as I am, you won’t want to miss it!