Spitz in the Park 2015
After the inaugural event last year – we were inundated with requests to run the fun weekend again – so the Keeshond Club and Southern Finnish Lapphund Society committee members had barely got home from the event before they were looking for free dates and a venue for 2015. A new venue had to be found as Brailes was not free, but the new venue, Beckford Village Hall, could offer a village hall and camping/caravan facilities, so in the diary it went, and preparations started. Caravans & camping had to be restricted, but as soon as the booking forms went onto the website at www.spitzinthepark.co.uk the plots were quickly prebooked and money paid, such was the enthusiasm to attend, we even had to find other local sites for the overflow, and local hotels and B&Bs were quickly snapped up!! The SITP organisers ably assisted by a number of generous friendly campers set up the venue on the Friday ahead of the fun weekend of 18th/19th July 2015, with the hall decked out with all our generous prizes from all our lovely sponsors. Ample signage complete with our SITP logo (provided by Tannahill Reay Visual Communications Limited) guided the visitors to the venue, and soon the site was full of campers ready to embark on the fun planned from Saturday morning.
The weather was glorious on Saturday and thanks to the generosity of Rovtech Systems Ltd we had a portable wireless microphone system meaning we could arrange outdoor talks on each of our “have a go” activities. First up was Racheal Bailey of Akna K9 Academy who presented CaniX, and her friends gave demonstrations of running with the dogs and bikejorring. Heelwork to Music was next up – with Sarah Baker taking the microphone to talk us through the history of the sport – and a few moves with the help of Teddy the Pomeranian. Then to complete the talks on the first day, Kim Bailey and her Opals team took us through the sport of canine agility. Then we let everyone have a go! It was lovely to see dogs of all sizes trying out these activities. A new addition to our event was Catherine Nicholl of http://www.dogsbodycaninemassage.co.uk who explained the benefits of massage to our canine friends, and gave demonstrations on her own dogs, and carried out free muscular health checks throughout the day, it was interesting to hear how so many dogs have benefited from Catherine’s’ healing touch before big canine events, including Crufts.
In the kitchen we had the hard working kitchen crew from the Keeshond & SFLS clubs feeding all, with a variety of tasty morsels, who can resist the smell of bacon cooking first thing in the morning!
After lunch was the Companion dog show, sponsored by Cobby dog with the pedigree classes judged by Robert Greaves and novelty by Will Croxford, both well known for Whittimere Norwegian Elkhounds and Finnish spitz, We had a super entry of over 100 dogs across the eleven classes, and I think it demonstrates the ethos of the weekend – FUN, to see the novelty classes so well filled, and I can’t recall a companion show with so many fabulous entries in the fancy dress class. One point to note, last year a certain Japanese spitz and owner were attending their first ever show, they won BPIS in the pedigree classes, and in the past year have won their first CC, this of course prevented them entering the pedigree class – so they supported the novelty classes and dressed as Mario, won the fancy dress.
In the pedigree section, BIS was a Keeshond, RBIS a finnish lapphund, with BPIS to a Canadian eskimo dog. For the novelty classes, Best novelty in show was an Alaskan malamute and Res Best Novelty was real mixed spitz (malamute x husky x gsd x Eskimo dog), Robert & Will both thoroughly joined in with the spirit of the event and it was such a relaxed and friendly atmosphere, with everyone cheering and supporting the winners.
Early evening saw the organisers and kitchen team back to work, getting ready to prepare some 100 dinners for the quiz night! With the funsters re-joining us in the hall from 6.30pm armed with a wide range of beverages! After the meal, the first of the 6 quiz rounds commenced, along with other chances to win prizes and raise money, including “Guess the name of the Teddy” and “Spitz breed sweepstakes”. The quiz was very competitive and teams squeezed half marks here and there to edge closer to the top as each round was marked. At the end of laughter packed evening, the winning quiz team was the Klapphunds, with runners up – the Bombay Sapphires, 3rd to Bridus, and 4th to Opal’s agility, only 1.5 points separated the 4 teams, our delightful Funtastic Four (CaniX – boys) won the booby prize, a toilet roll each!
On Sunday, we were joined by Rachel Bradley and Gail Blair, who gave a short talk and demonstration of the fastest growing canine sport, Rally. In spite of the rain – it was a very popular display and then we were blessed as the rain soon passed over and the fun could start with more opportunities to “have a go” at the wide variety of activities. We were also fortunate to have Simon Le Jeune from Moorlands pet food on site – to explain how to compare food labels on food products to be fully aware of the ingredients and how they may suit/not sure your pet. Over the weekend Andrew Wood carried out bronze and silver KC Good citizen testing and there were 3 Bronze and 9 silver Good Citizen passes, across a wide range of breeds. So hope everyone will be practicing now – so we can achieve a number of gold passes next year.
After the lunch break we had the climax of the weekend, the Spitzlympics with 12 teams keen to take home the fabulous medals and trophies, and generous sponsorship from Burgess Pet foods. The simple races of ‘egg n spoon’, ‘Eleven legged’, ‘sack race’, ‘sausage eating’ and the musical downs, are a test of skill, bravery and tenacity, not to mention high standards of canine obedience! If you believe that you will believe anything! They are just an excuse to laugh a lot, culminating in the ‘loose lead relay’ which had everyone in stitches. The winning team, were the “Motley Crew” who epitomised the whole weekend, they were 6 individuals who wanted to join in – but didn’t have a team, so we threw them together, and they had a great time and won!
The weekend was well worth the hard work, with lots of lovely feedback, and so many laughs. To those who came and dug deep in their pockets, and to all the generous sponsors, we thank you, your generosity has helped us achieve lovely donations for Vale Wildlife park (local charity) and the Animal Health Trust cataract and epilepsy projects, the actual figures are yet to be fully calculated but it looks to be around £2000. Who says dog sports are serious business, we don't!