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Ava leads the charge in Blenheim with a Reserve Best of Group!


Tracey, Ava and Judge, Sylvia Brackman

The last away show for a couple of months saw us heading up to Blenheim for the always fun Marlborough Kennel Association Shows. Our show team comprised Ben, Ava, Tinky, Stella and Tara.


The drive up was something of an adventure. Not only was it pouring rain most of the way, but apparently we forgot to turn off our car's cloaking device, which is the only reason we can imagine we were nearly run off the road more than once by drivers who'd either left their guide dogs at home, couldn't see us because we were cloaked, or they were just moronically bad drivers. We know which option we're thinking is the most likely, LOL.


Anyway, we made it to Blenhein in one piece and got the gazebos set up during a lull in the rain. We also tried out a hack with pool noodles under the gazebo roof to ensure the rain didn't pool on them overnight, which worked a treat as it starting bucketing down after we got to the motel and kept pouring all night. When we got back to the grounds the next morning, they were perfect. Thanks to whoever posted that handy hack online!


The shows were strangely discombobulating, this weekend. Not only were we not the first group to be judged as we usually are, but for some reason, the MKA alphabet is different to the rest of the world, so the Bichons were first, Chihuahuas second and the Affies and Cavs were the last breeds in the alphabetically listed entries after the Pekes and the Pugs. The best part of the Toy Group in the South Island is the reliability of there being 20-30 Cavs before the Chihuahuas, so there is always a bit of breathing space if you're running late. This weekend it was "Oh! Fantastic! We can sleep in!." followed almost immediately by "OMG! The Bichons are already in the ring!!!"'


Anyway, we made it on time, every time, even if we had to adjust our normal show routine to compensate.


In Show 1, Ben took Best Dog, Junior of Breed and Reserve Best of Breed, Ava took Best NZ of Breed, Tinky took Reserve Best Bitch and Intermediate of Breed and Tara took Best Neuter of Breed. Little Stella did us proud, as she is now walking like a pro on a loose lead, and except for the occasional enthusiastic burst into a gallop, we are really pleased with her improving ring-craft. She is having a blast out there.


In Show 2, under Australian judge, Sylvia Brackman, Ava took Best of Breed, Best Bitch and Best NZ Bred of Breed. Ben took Best Dog and Junior of Breed, Tinky took Intermediate of Breed and Tara took Best Neuter of Breed. Stella showed her heart out and got lots of treats.


Come the Group judging, we were half expecting a repeat of the morning's result, where Ben was knocked out of the Junior Age of Group by one of the Group winners (in all 3 shows!!) and so was Ava, leaving poor Tinky and Tara to fight it out in a really strong field of Intermediates and Neuters.


We were thrilled then, when the judge walked out her top 5 and Ava was among them. We were completely blown away when she then awarded Ava the Reserve of Group and Best NZ Bred of Group.

Tara with her proud owner, Jen Keir

And just to top that off, she then awarded Tara the Reserve Best Neuter in Group as well!


Talking to the judge while posing for photos after the show, she complimented us on our dogs' lovely temperaments and their fabulous dentitian. Apparently she's a stickler for dogs with good mouths and not afraid to refuse a placing when she doesn't see it. She adored Tara, lamenting it was a pity she'd been spayed and out of the running in the main show, she was so gorgeous.


We headed back to the motel, over the moon with how well Team Kitaco had done where we crashed like tired pre-schoolers straight after dinner. Seriously, Tracey was in bed by 6:30, and Jenny and Deb would have been asleep not long after, only they got suckered in by a true-crime doco on the CI channel and stayed up trying to figure out who the subject of the doco had actually murdered... (Turns out nobody. But she had stabbed 3 boyfriends who assaulted her and never been charged with a crime, which seemed eminently reasonable, given what she'd been through.) Motels with Sky and crime porn can be very addictive. It took a determined effort of will to turn the TV off and not get drawn into the next macabre documentary that serves for entertainment these days.


Day 2 of the shows dawned brightly with the sun shining and the rain gone. In the third show, Ava again took Best of Breed, Best Bitch and NZ Bred of Breed and Tinky took the Intermediate of Breed. Stella did even better than the first day. Ben took Best Dog and Best Junior of Breed after leaping into the judge's arms for a cuddle as she approached the table. He smothered her with kisses and was a tad put out when she eventually put him back in the table to be judged.


We had a quiet word to the kids on the way to the show about not winning any groups so we could get away early. We wanted to get through the hills around Kaikoura in daylight and that meant getting away as soon as the group judging was done. In fairness to MKA, they ran 3 very efficient shows, and the Best in Show judging was just starting as we pulled out of the grounds. Our plan worked though. No Groups and we arrived home at 5:10pm. Sunset was at 5:13.


So. another successful weekend. where Team Kitaco again took 8 of the 9 CC's on offer, 2 Best of Breeds, a Reserve of Breed, 3 Best Junior of Breeds, 3 Best Intermediate of Breeds, 3 Best NZ Bred of Breeds, 3 Best Neuter of Breeds, a Reserve Best in Group and a Reserve Best Neuter in Group.


Thanks to MKA for their fabulously well run shows, for cutting in grass in the Toy Ring so low and for putting on a great event. See you next year!

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