Thunderball tops the EuroCorgi

After often painful journeys up or down summer motorways, a high proportion of the Corgi fraternity turned up at the Holiday Inn, Crick on a sweltering Friday afternoon. The first thing we saw was an enormous marquee in the grassy area opposite the buildings. Already two rings had been set up and behind them members of the League and the Cardigan Association, which were jointly running EuroCorgi 2018, were setting up their various stalls. Gradually a line of gazebos sprang up nearby, ‘home’ for the next two days to some of the exhibitors. Much ‘fun’ was had erecting them – certainly my own tent-constructing skills, dormant since childhood, proved in severe need of practice! After that the hotel rooms’ air-conditioning proved welcome indeed! That evening we gathered for food provided by the hotel and it soon became obvious that among the visitors were many distinguished Corgi people from all round the world. It was great to catch up with them all, and I was especially pleased to see a number of senior figures from the Australian scene, several of whom were staying on in Europe for the World Show. Among those I was particularly delighted to see over the weekend were Kim Nielsen from Denmark (who along with Christine Sonberg had ten years ago originated the concept of a special Corgi event somewhere in Europe each year), and from the UK the Marys, Magness and Winsone, and Sheila Burgess. Thankfully the forecasters were right for once and when we came down for breakfast and looked outside, the heatwave had at last broken and conditions for both dogs and people were much more comfortable. And only later in the day, once the main judging was done, did the storms come. Even then, it didn’t last too long and only one of the special awards classes was seriously affected. Sensibly, the team had opted for ‘in and out’ rings, which proved very handy. The surface and grass length weren’t ideal but I think we all understood that the previous weeks’ weather meant this just couldn’t be helped. Behind the rings, along the back of the tent which was decorated with suitable bunting, were tables for both clubs, plus merchandise stands for each breed, a Corgi bookstall, a collection of woollen Cardigans (yes dogs, not jumpers…), the League archives plus a couple of trade stands selling ceramic and glass Corgi etc models. Thanks to sponsors there were rosettes galore, generous prize money for the main winners plus something for the class placings, Royal Canin product and much more, not to mention glamorous gold roses for the CC winners. A touch I liked was the pretty floral place markers from first to VHC in the appropriate colours. Agility and other fun events were also taking place. The Kennel Club had surprised us all by granting an extra set of CCs to both clubs this year, in addition to their own championship shows, and as far as I know this was the first time the WCL and CWCA had held a joint championship show since the 1940s! The League decided to invite an overseas first-time judge and our selection was Vicki Sandage from the US whose Sandfox kennel has been very successful and influential there in the last couple of decades. The Association invited the doyen of UK Cardi people, Peter Clifton (Joseter), while the special awards classes for both breeds were assessed by Sue Hadley (Bethwyn Cardis) from Australia. She bred Music Man who spent some time in Britain and left a big impact on the progress of the breed in the UK. Carole Smedley (Antoc Cardigans and Collies) was selected as best in show judge. Pembroke numbers totalled 139 and Cardis 97. If you count imports as well as visitor dogs, the countries represented in canine form were England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland, the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, France, Netherlands, Poland, Hungary, Lithuania, Italy, Russia, Norway, Denmark and Finland. I enjoyed watching Vicki working her way methodically through each class, going over each dog very thoroughly and paying much attention to movement, and after some tough decisions it was time for the main awards. In the challenge she made it very clear which ones were in contention and this added to the drama. Proving victorious was the top winner of the last few years, Kevin Dover and Lars Saether’s bobtail Ch Pemcader Thunderball (Ch Pemcader Belroyd Zeus ex Pemcader Black Glamour), adding CC number 51 to his record of three League BIS, two Crufts BOB, twice top pastoral, all-breed and group show BIS and much more. Reserve went to the veteran winner, Lorraine Weedall and Nicola Bogue’s tri Ch Bronabay Troopin The Colour, seven years old and by Ch Highworth Northern Lights over Pendrell ex Ch Bronabay Cherish The Moment. Topping the dog pups was another tri, Crescent Hill Brynlea Moon Glow, imported by Jo Gordon who co-owns him with his co-breeder Cheryl Heath. It was great that Cheryl and husband Ed could be with us and it was Ed who piloted him to this success. He is by Am Ch Martindale Black Bart ex Am Ch Woodsedge Brynlea Let Them Eat Cake. In the Cardi ring Peter, like Vicki, seemed to be thoroughly enjoying himself going over his entry and awarded his DCC to Brooke and Thelma Taylor’s Ch Tamlin Starman with reserve to Denmark and Kim with Australian import Aus Ch Crowncor Bolt To Rio. Finland won BPD with Tarja Peltola’s Handske’s Name Of The Game and BVD was Fran Fricker’s US import Ch/Am/Ir Ch Pluperfect Merrymoon Proper Englishman. Sue then took to the ring for the special awards classes, unfazed by the deteriorating weather. Her Cardi winners were Wildcard Queen Of Clubs for Gerefa, Liebehund Forest Moon and Ch Bymil Smile Please, and in Pems, Meitza Erik The King, Twinan Love Me Do and Oregonian Snow Leopard. I believe Kim Warner’s Erik (Thunderball ex Meitza Goldust) has now attained his junior warrant, a rare achievement for the breed these days. Afternoon tea had been contributed by those attending, and included some specialty cakes from various overseas countries, while the hotel laid on some barbecued meat for the evening. There was plenty of jollity and reminiscing and a disco for the energetic. Plenty of rain overnight and we wondered how we would all cope. Most of the gazebos had been taken down just in case. In the event we were fortunate that after a 9am start it wasn’t too awful, and although the inside part of the rings came into their own, it was never so bad that the dogs couldn’t be moved outside. A bottle stall gave everyone the chance to win one or more – whether they contained water, champagne or something in between was the luck of the draw. Another fund raiser was a hundred club. Vicki had some large bitch classes to get through, reminding us of the entries in the heyday of the breed. Open was the biggest with 18. On to the challenge and after shortlisting five, she really kept the tension mounting when it became obvious that she was agonising between just two. Eventually a decision was made and it was Linda Roberts and Beckie Williams’ US-bred tri Coventry Sky Full Of Stars (again by Black Bart and ex Am Ch Coventry Born This Way) who won her second CC from junior at 17 months. Her first came recently at Bath. Reserve was all the way from Lithuania, Ramute Masiokaite’s Balt/Dan Ch Je-Suis-Kylie-Minogue des Contamines, bred in France and by NZ-bred Int Ch Dwynella Rough ‘n’ Rowdy ex Int/Fr/Lux Ch Gwyneth Paltrow des Contamines. This is the bitch who made a mark at the League show a few weeks ago when she won the same award. Teresa Maddox’s pups won both puppy classes, with BPB to Salvenik Summer Rosebud (Danish-bred Redfordhill Magic Moments to Salvenik ex Ch Bertley Summer Rose with Salvenik). BVB was Mary Davies’ former Crufts BOB winner, the seven-year-old tri Ch Vuedor Black Pearl at Ermyn (Ch/Rus/Ukr Ch Ermyn Snow Knight ex Vuedor Careless Whisper). Time for the top spots with all BOB, BP and BV all going to the males who had stayed on from Saturday, the bitch going RBOB. Meanwhile Peter had completed his Cardis with BCC and reserve both going to veterans, Sarah Taylor’s seven-year-old Ch Bymil Smile Please and Johanna Flinck’s ten-year-old Nord Ch Big-Wood’s Triumph Renown, from faraway Finland. BPB was Carole and Richard Froggatt’s Wildcard Queen Of Clubs for Gerefa, handled by Jo Gordon. Here it was the turn of the bitches to take BOB (and obviously BV), RBOB and BP. Brace, progeny and breeders’ classes followed for each breed, and Carole gave the junior handlers a thorough assessment, her winners being Katie Read and Fleur Walker, the latter taking BJH. By the time Carole returned to the ring for the climax of the show, the weather had become quite pleasant and she was able to make full use of the ring to move the contenders. Thunderball added BIS EuroCorgi 18 to his impressive CV while Smile Please was reserve and, by definition, BV. For BP Jo Gordon was in an interesting position, co-owning the Pembroke and handling the Cardi! And it was Queen Of Club who was Carole’s choice. Once again both BIS and reserve were by members of the Belroyd Pemcader stud team, Zeus and Cymro respectively. I was sorry to hear that Zeus had died earlier this year – I’ll look at his contribution to the breed in future notes. A few appropriate remarks from the judges and from Kim rounded off the proceedings. Kim expressed the hope that there could be a EuroCorgi every year in the UK and every year somewhere else in Europe, the former perhaps a touch over-ambitious but we really do need to do our best to unite the Corgi community in this way more often than just occasionally. If I may be permitted a political comment, thank goodness the Brexit mentality is altogether alien to the Corgi world! Our thanks must go to all who helped with the event – I’m not in general going to mention names but especially of course the sub-committee led by the WCL and CWCA chairmen Mary Davies and Karen Hewitt and secretaries Margaret Hoggarth and Huw Bishop. Let’s hope the UK has the chance to host the show again one day. SIMON PARSONS

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The Welsh Corgi League