It was off to the West Coast this weekend for 3 shows in Carter's Beach, the show venue known for being over the road from a beach and it's seriously crashing surf, its gale force winds and torrential rain.
The drive across was a bit of an adventure in itself. For some context for our followers outside of NZ, the trip basically means driving across the South Island from one side to the other, over the Southern Alps. There is a very good road, it is stunningly picturesque and normally the trip takes about 4.5 hours (if you stop at Springs Junctions to let the dogs out for a pee stop and grab a coffee - for the humans) provided there is no snow, or gales, or rockfalls in the passes.
This trip, it was a rockfall that slowed us down. We'd been warned about it before we left and knew the road was closed overnight because of what the NZ Transport Agency optimistically described as a "slip". Something of an understatement on the part of the NZTA, we have to say. Bit hard to see from the angle of the photo below, but the "slip" was several tonnes of rock, debris and dirt and one massive rock sitting atop the pile that was about the size of a Volkswagen Beetle. Glad we weren't diving by when that little nugget decided to "slip" down onto the road!.
So, road hazards safely negotiated we arrived in Carter's Beach just in time for the rain. And rain it did... all night. It was wind-driven torrential rain that had us fearing our dogs would be blown away if it didn't let up by the following morning.
Glad to say, the worst of it was over by the time we arrived at the grounds, although we had sporadic light rain throughout the morning, we eventually got a lovely rainbow and the sun came out. Don't know how much rain we actually got overnight, but locals told us the original forecast was for 90mm. It's a very soggy place, the West Coast of NZ A couple of hundred Klms south of Carters Beach is Cropp River, which is the 5th rainiest place on Earth!
Anyway. we were there for 3 Shows, 2 hosted by the Buller Kennel Association and one by the Nelson Ladies Kennel Association. With all the competitors' vaccine passes checked off, the shows got underway in light rain that bothered our Chihuahuas not at all. Except Nikita, Nikita doesn't do rain.
First show off the mark was the BKA Championship Show under Judge, Gordon Rumpler. Ava took Best of Breed, Ben took Reserve Dog and Baby Puppy of Breed while Nikita - somewhat disdainfully, given her aversion to wet grass - took the Best Neuter of Group.
Trixie (aka The High Holy Terror) lined up for her first show, and did pretty well, all things considered. She loved the judge, but it was clear she does not take showing very seriously. There were so many awesome smells that required investigation as she walked (bounced) around the ring, and her buddy, Maddy was back in the trolley waiting for her (Maddy gets lonely without Trixie, so we bought her along for the trip, even though she wasn't entered in any shows). Trixie took Best Puppy bitch and many treats and lots of stories about those awesome smells back to her BFF in the trolley, one happy little pupper.
Buller Kennel Association Show 1
Neuter in Group: NZ Ch Eldivino Senorita Nikita
Best of Breed, Best Bitch CC & Best Intermediate of Breed: NZ Ch Kitaco Smashed Avacado
Reserve Best Dog CC & Best Baby Puppy of Breed: Kitaco Ben de la Creme
Baby Puppy (Bitch) of Breed: Kitaco Fibonacci Sequins
Neuter Best of Breed, Neuter Best Bitch CC: NZ Ch Eldivino Senorita Nikita
Show 2 was the NLKA Open Show, under judge Jennifer Neild. Ava took Best Intermediate of Group, and Best of Breed, Ben took Reserve Best of Breed, Best Dog and Baby Puppy of Breed, while Trixie, who wasn't nearly as impressed by this judge as she was with the first one (it might have been her shiny top), actually managed Best Reserve Bitch behind Ava. Nikita wasn't entered in the Open Shows and given the wet grass, she was perfectly happy with that arrangement.
Nelson Ladies Kennel Association Show 1
Intermediate in Group: NZ Ch Kitaco Smashed Avacado
Best of Breed, Best Bitch & Best Intermediate of Breed: NZ Ch Kitaco Smashed Avacado
Reserve Best of Breed, Best Dog & Baby Puppy of Breed: Kitaco Ben de la Creme
Reserve Bitch & Baby Puppy (Bitch) of Breed: Kitaco Fibonacci Sequins
The last - and as it turns out, the best - show of the day was the BKA Open show, under Judge and Chihuahua aficionado, Kathy Morton.
We left Trixie in the trolley with Maddy. She was curled up asleep with her BFF, the two of them having worn themselves out playing, and we didn't have the heart to disturb her or upset Maddy by waking them up and separating them, even if just for the short time it takes to show a puppy.
By now, Ben had attracted a similar gathering of groupies as he did last week in Invercargill, at least one "what is it" comment and amazingly - unlike his sister - showed no sign of flagging, despite how many people wanted to cuddle him, the weather and the two previous shows. The rain hadn't bothered him earlier in the day, and now he had bright sunshine and a gale force wind to show off in, so away he went. He took Best Dog and Best Baby Puppy and when it came to judging Best of Breed, the Judge awarded it to Ava, with the caveat, "I'll have the bitch, THIS time"!.
The judge went on to award Ava, Reserve Best in Group, and Ben, the Best Baby Puppy of Group, which we were thrilled about, and would have been quite content with, if that was the best we did for the rest of the show. The Best of Group was in the same class as Ava, so she was unlikely to go any further and the Baby Puppy lineup was very strong, so we really weren't expecting much from that, either.
Then came the Best Baby Puppy In Show judging. As they made their way around the ring, Ben, still bouncing around like he just got out of bed after a good night's sleep, stepped in front of Tracey and got himself an accidental kick in the head! He yelped and sat down, mightily offended. Tracey was mortified, thinking she'd broken him for good.
The spectators all held their breath...
Tracey offered a rather stunned-looking Ben a treat.
He took one look at the food, stood up, wagged his tail with a look that said "OMG! More treats!" and was off again like nothing had happened.
The relief in the ring was palpable!
Our gorgeous little man went on to take Baby Puppy in Show and talking to the judge afterwards, while taking photos, she said it was that moment which decided her. For most Chihuahuas, she explained, an incident like that would have been the end of their show career, or at least that show, but to see this tiny dog with the huge attitude just stand up, shake it off and carry on as if nothing had happened, she said "that was it for me. That's when I knew he was a winner."
Thank you so much to all the judges, especially Kathy Morton, and the Buller and Nelson Ladies committees who organised the shows under strict COVID rules. They are very small committees and do an amazing job considering how much work is involved in running not just one, but three shows and we really appreciate their efforts.
We had a very uneventful trip home, past rockfalls and the occasional service station where the ever-increasing prices displayed for fuel were scarier than car-sized falling rocks (we drive diesel, thankfully!). and are now home, safe and sound with some very tired fur babies and the rest of them delighted that we're back.