On our ride home from the Grinnell, Iowa show, you would have felt you were in Russian chess match as we strategically planned our next move. We were giddy coming down from our wins in the show ring. We decided to do a show closer to home this time and as I looked through upcoming events on my iphone, Rob drove.
Now, I have to confess, at this point I am not so sure that Rob has been bitten by the show bug; on the other hand I had a raging case of showing fever! Rob is my supporter and best friend; he believes in my dreams and sometimes gets caught in the current that rushes me down stream and into wild waters! Ever the wise man, wearing a life preserver!
I did indeed find another show closer to home. Again the agony of filling in the form........I really can't say that I am a lot better at it now, after all these shows! My brain goes numb just looking at the blanks that need to be filled in :) We had two weeks in between the Grinnell show and our next venue. I needed to get into "fighting shape" (cue Rocky theme song!). So every day I poured over handling videos; I learned don't stare at the judge.......move when he points to you! It was Practice, Practice, Practice! Sienna stacking on the table and off the table. Running up and down our driveway; our neighbors were probably thinking, "Why doesn't she just take that poor dog around the block!"
It wasn't long and Rob was packing up the Toyota again, as I gave Sienna the last blow dry and brushing. We would arrive around 1 hour before the show, so I wanted her ready to go from crate to ring if I ran out of time.
The Peoria Opera House is a unique place to hold a dog show. I was excited because it sounded oh so grand. When we arrive and walk in, the large stage was decorated so beautifully with a harvest motif. This would be a 2 day event with 4 shows again and it was really just as far away as Des Moines had been. Rob didn't say anything about the miscalculation on drive time to me; but we arrived as the show was beginning! I quickly changed as Rob brought in all our gear and set up.
The Peoria show always draws a lot of Poodle people from all over the Midwest; so the competition was there. Ring time and we were all lined up to go in when called. If you had touched me, your hair would have stood on end from the static energy vibrating my entire body. Sienna must have felt the lightening, with the leash acting as rod; poor thing was fidgeting all over the place. "Number 101 to the ring", the ring steward called....that was me! We entered the ring with 5 other poodles, each one decked out in the their Sunday best. No gloves or hats but amazing cuts and top knots. Each of us going through the hoops, the Judge in my imagination wearing the top hat and coat of a Circus Ringmaster and that made me the clown!
When your in the ring you really only have around 3 minutes total to show off your dog in the best possible light. Thinking of a Circus again, it's the lady with the white horse going around the circular center band, a bright spotlight on HER.....than she rides out of the ring........done! So you have to focus on the dog's movement, the stack, head and tail; keep that tail up! It was our moment in the center stage; Sienna wouldn't stand still for her stack and when the judge went over her body she squatted! "Don't touch me!" she would have shouted. He motioned for us to do a down and back. Sienna did move, like we were on a stroll in the park rather then a brisk, elegant gait. As we did our last go around, I knew, I knew I had blown it. The judge went down the line for the last time and we didn't make the cut. I was so disappointed and I believe Sienna was too.
There was one more show to do and it was a better performance but we still didn't make the grade. With my tail between my legs; we loaded the few items we would take to the motel and left. I licked my wounds all night and didn't sleep to much. Instead, the circus music would play and I could see myself the clown stumbling around the ring and poor Sienna, with a large red Rudolf nose prancing beside me!
Waking the next morning exhausted! Rob came into the room with cups of coffee and a cheerful 'well its a whole new day!'. I started to sit up to take my steaming cup of java but instead I could't move! My back was out! A little background on that :) I had bone cancer and it spread to several locations; one being my back. Since then my back is very temperamental and it decided that after standing on the sloping opera house floor grooming and then running around the ring up hill and then down hill that IT had HAD enough! So there I lay......inhaling the aroma of my morning brew, wondering what I was going to do and how we were going to get Sienna into show mode. Picture a cartoon bubble....... light bulb went on over my head! 'Rob, you have a suit! You are going to show Sienna!' Brilliant! is what I was thinking; however the aghast look on my husband's face said something totally different! FLIGHT! RUN! Two left Feet! Being a woman I just looked at him with that, 'your my knight in shining armor' ......please look.
As we drove to the show location, Rob in his suit, I was encouraging him. Actually, I should have had a cheerleader outfit and pom poms! When we arrive, 2 show friends greeted us; as I gingerly removed myself from the SUV. Gary and Chuck immediately knew something was wrong. I pulled the guys to the side and explained that Rob needed the cliff notes version of dog showing quickly! These two angels jumped in; took Rob and Sienna outside and gave him run down on Dog Showing 101. I could tell from Rob's face 20 minutes later he felt some relief and was joking about the movie, "Best In Show".
It was SHOW time! I couldn't stand ring side for two reasons; the minute Sienna saw me she wouldn't focus for Rob and I just couldn't stand. I had a good vantage point from my seat. Rob and Sienna were called into the ring. I held my breath..........this is it, sink or swim. They went through the paces; poodles whirling around the ring. The Judge examining each one and then resorting the group. Rob and Sienna were assigned the second location on the go around. It was now decision time..............On the final uphill lap the judge awarded Rob and Sienna 1st place!!!! She was a Champion but also would go to Group! Amazing........! Rob who isn't one for shows of public affection bent down and kissed Sienna! Taking the ribbon, I thought I heard the music from Chariots of Fire playing :)