Over the weekend I went out to Sunbury to join some friends at the SHCV Specialty. All I can say is, that I thought they were crazy before, but now...??!
Grooming huskies is a bit crazy, to start with. I mean, these dogs already looked clean, fluffy and gorgeous, but every dog got refluffed, primped and feet whitened before entering the ring, just in case. Of course, the weather was ridiculous yesterday, so as soon as any dog stepped out from under cover, it's carefully arranged coat became wildly windswept and rain spotted. And yet, still looked AMAZING!
Then these crazy folks took their beautiful dogs out into the wind... In the HAIL! I mean, I know Siberians love wintry weather, but ladies in fancy suits and jackets with wild windswept hair and rain splodges on their outfits, did not look so thrilled. But they did it anyway!
Of course, I was crazy enough to be there, just to watch. Craziness is bailing out a tent. I think that sentence stands for itself, don't you? And trying to hold it down so it doesn't fly away.
And, as is traditional, the judges drove the spectators crazy. On Saturday, the judge announced places backwards, 3rd, 2nd, 1st. "Urgh, I've just written that down wrong again!" Because he was a dry land musher in his own country, I think he also drove people crazy because he didn't pick what our dry land mushers would have. In fact, several people commented that he didn't even seem to pick a consistent type, which made it even more confusing. Then the Alaskan judge on Sunday picked completely different dogs again, so by the end my head was spinning.
Of course, it is craziness to try and judge sled dogs in the ring anyway. J and I were talking about what we would look for in the bloodlines of a puppy or young dog on the way home - temperament and work ethic were both high on our wish list and neither of these were tested in the shows. The kind of movement we want to see for Australian dry land sprint racing includes a full stretch, where the dog flies over the ground. Top experts can tell from a dog's topline in the ring, whether they have the capacity to do this, but in watching the dogs trot around the ring, I have no idea.
Now the definition of madness is to do the same thing over and over and expect a different result... But how else will I get to understand what on earth is going on? Oh yeah, craziness indeed. I'll be back.
Thankyou to my friends who spent time answering my annoying questions and translating the intricacies of the show scene into layman's terms, especially when they were crazy busy showing nine dogs in different classes, or organising the whole circus. Special thanks to Catemac for gorgeous photos, some of which I've used here, the crappy ones are my own. Oh and she makes the best fudge!