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Companion Show 2016 in Aid of Midlands and Northern Rhodesian Ridgeback Support and Rescue Trust

Companion Show 2016I think it is fair to say that Sunday 11th September was a day to write home about! What? You weren’t there? Well, please read on...
This is the third year that the Trust have run their Companion Show and Fun Day and when we – the Trustees – awoke in our respective abodes and saw that *sunshine* was the order of the day, there was a unanimous and most heart-felt sigh that should have vibrated across the country. That the weeks of sun-dancing, finger-crossing, wood-touching and coaxing any black cats we stumbled upon to cross our paths, had actually worked was frankly, quite amazing!
The venue for the event – Jubilee Field, Normanton-on-Soar Village Hall – is ideal with oodles of room for the rings, exhibitors, spectators, stalls, picnics, gazebos, car parking and dog exercising. Throw in several hours of gorgeous weather with just enough of a breeze to stop everyone overheating and it could legitimately be described as a perfect day out.

Setting up of the venue was led by local Trustees Geoff and Eileen Phillips who also managed to coax family member John to travel from Nottingham to set up the car park and involve himself in various other fetching and carrying duties, all on the promise of a bacon sandwich. Companion ShowAmazing powers of persuasion! Geoff was also responsible for the on-street signage which was appreciated and commented on by many of the attendees. The ring and judges tent was set by Paul Hewson who kindly gave up his Sunday to help us out. Kerry, Tyler and Claire set up the scurry areas and I hope it’s fair to say that the rest was very much an “all hands to the deck” operation where everyone mucked in to ensure everything passed muster under the keen eye of Chairperson, Helen.
The Judge for the day was Mrs Dee Millington-Bott, ably assisted by Lynda Fletcher who, as steward, kept order in the ring: a huge “thank you” from the Trust to these two ladies for so willingly giving up their day for our cause.

Eileen Phillips and her right hand person, Emelia, were responsible for distributing the prizes and rosettes (all of which were donated by supporters of the Trust) to the winners of each of the classes in the main show ring. The prizes included: 1st to 4th  Millie's Wolfheart, fifth prizes home made liver cake from Oscars dog treats, 2x £15 food vouchers from Natural Instinct, 15kg food voucher from Skinners pet food, a mini hamper from Lily's kitchen, 4 X extreme Kongs from Kong, 20 individual Venison sausages from Veni-dog and skin treatment from Lintbell, plus much, much more.

In total, there were nineteen classes (five pedigree, four RR Fun and ten Novelty) that drew 69 dogs giving a total entry of 232.

Companion ShowBIS Meisha - Border Collie owned by Jenna Ellison
RBIS Figaro - Long Hair Dachs owned by Barbara Horn
BPIS River - Leonberger owned by Mr & Mrs Read
Best RR Ridge - Jake owned by Alison & Alan Murphy
Best RR Ridgeless - Honey owned by JoAnn & Mark Singleton
Best RR Rescue - Brandy owned by Carol Maddox
Best Novelty - Mila - Spanish Galga owned by Fay McCallum. Won Best Rescue/Rehomed
Reserve Best Novelty - Denver - Flat Coat Retriever owned by Freya Taylor Ellis who won Junior Handling.

The day was not all about the main show ring though and there were other stalls and events that drew lots of interest and some that were certainly enjoyed as much by handlers as their dogs:
Kerry, Tyler and Clare were kept busy overseeing the Scurry, Sausage Eating (dogs only!), Spin the Bottle and Play Your Cards Right! There was much vocal encouragement for the Scurry and much hilarity for the Sausage Eating although I think the dogs all took that one *very* seriously. The Spin the Bottle didn’t attract as many dogs as was anticipated but the distraction of Scurry and the Sausages may well have had a part to play in that for, as the time allowed suggested (5 mins), the dogs had to work this game out for themselves.

Companion ShowThe top three in each category are listed below:
Fastest Agility Scurry:  Total runs: 51
Aim: run a course of 50 yards navigating 4 jumps en route
1st: Sparky 1.23 seconds
2nd: Bella 1.60 seconds
3rd: Susie 1.65 seconds
Special mention to Dave Bailey who ran with Biltong and BOTH jumped over FULL HEIGHT jumps and a time of 5.22 seconds
Fastest Straight Scurry:  Total runs: 13
Aim: run a course of 50 yards flat out
1st:  Spencer 1.25 seconds
2nd: Gracie 1.73 seconds
3rd: Vella RR 1.78 seconds

Fastest Sausage Eater: Total sausage eaters: 74
Aim: Throughout the day 8 tiles were placed in a 15ft clock face shape, each with a sausage on them.  Dogs were encouraged to run round the ring hoovering up the sausages.  Fastest dog to scoff the lot wins.
1st: Axl 9.15 seconds
2nd: Willow 9.53 seconds
3rd: Vella 9.67 seconds
The fastest 6 sausage eaters went forward to the “sausage-off” in the main arena where each stood along the edge of the ring, ran across the breadth of it where a sausage on a tile was waiting.  The sausage was eaten and then both dog and handler ran back to the start place.  First dog back to the start position was the winner
1st: Mika
2nd: Buddy
3rd: Axl
Companion ShowSpin the Bottle: 6 dogs
Aim: upturn 3 bottles to release the treats – no touching by owner – 5 minute time limit
1st: Axl RR time 55.79 seconds
2nd: Chi RR time 1.06 seconds
3rd: Nami RR time 1.35 seconds
Play Your Cards Right:
Same format as the TV show – Higher? Lower? The person who got to the end without “busting” was the winner.
As luck would have it the first Contestant won this event and very kindly donated his winnings of £33 back to Rescue. Unfortunately the winner’s name isn’t recorded so we are unable to thank him in person for his generosity but hopefully he is reading this and will learn that we are very appreciative.
Janice organised the raffle stall and she reports that there was a fantastic response and she and her two multi-tasking helpers Freya and Emilia, were kept ever so busy. Despite having three tables crammed with prizes it was such a success, they were almost wiped out (of prizes!)  in a couple of hours. Thanks to those who donated in the first instance and also for those who donated their prizes back to the Trust.
Companion ShowThe Trust’s merchandise stall did a steady business throughout the day, although of course it was RR specific so we couldn’t quite ensure that there was something for *every* body. Despite that however it generated lots of interest and the stall was well supported.
Doggie Dazzlers grooming had lots of interest and a constant stream of people enquiring about grooming tips and methods. With such a variety of breeds in attendance, it would appear that the subsequent discussions covered many topics and “how should I’s”.
Sarah Preest Photography were on site to take doggy portraits and it appeared that quite a number of people made the most of having a special photograph taken either as a memento of the day or as a special gift. 
Googie Kendall had a stall of cards and gift wrappings that proved immensely popular and has already booked her place for next year’s event!
Caroline’s Cafe kept everyone supplied with excellent refreshments although the weather proved a little too warm for their delicious (and highly recommended) bacon butties.  Thankfully, thanks largely to the dedicated efforts of some of the attendees, there was no wastage at the end of the day! 
The Girl Guides had an arts and crafts table at the event and also a most popular draw was their “Guess the Sweets in the Jar” which was won by the Trust’s Treasurer, Kev. Strangely he ‘mislaid’ the jar as the day wore on but he is convinced of a ridgeback ruse to corner the sweet horde!
Although in attendance, the Akna K9 team were unable to do the Bikejoring and rig demos because it was too warm! They will, quite rightly, not run the Canadian Eskimo dogs and Czechoslovakian Wolf Dogs if the temperature is much above 15 degrees and the humidity is high (as it was on the day). If next year is cooler we will get a fantastic demo!
Those with access to facebook might like to checkout Kat Reinok’s photographs on the M&N Rhodesian Ridgeback Rescue’s group. Kat was the “roving” photographer on the day and caught many action shots that reflect the lovely dogs and their owners enjoying a day in the sun.
Our thanks to the stall holders who generously donated a percentage of their day’s takings to the Trust.
And finally, although it would be nice to claim we arranged it (we didn’t!), thanks should go to the Battle of Britain flight for providing an amazing fly past by their World War 2 RAF Lancaster bomber.
Companion ShowThe general consensus seemed to be that it was a most enjoyable event, and many folk very kindly said they were looking forward to next year’s event already. No pressure for the board of trustees then!
To those who made the journey, we thank you. To those who took part, we thank you.  To those who donated, we thank you. To those who thanked us for a good day, we thank you right back again!
There seems to be a lot of “thank you’s” in this summary and there is one more to add: thank you to everyone who helped keep the venue clean and in particular ensured there were no unwelcome “deposits” left. For those who attended, you will be well aware that the venue is a community one and aside from common courtesy to the villagers who use the area regularly, we, the Trust, would very much like to use this location in the future: your help in ensuring it is left in as pristine condition at the end of the day as it was in the beginning, will go a long way to maintaining the good relationship we have there. Thank you.  
The dismantling of everything at the end of the day went smoothly although there are always the odd Krypton Factor type puzzles that seems to present themselves to items that opened fine but closing them down becomes a whole other issue: table storage – who knew it could be so difficult and with helpers Freya and Emelia (who had obviously had their Weetabix that morning!) collecting the tables from all corners of the venue at an amazing rate of knots, Geoff was soon under pressure to crack the methodology behind the storage. Collapsible gazebos were another challenge as there appeared to be a number of ways to fold/bend/squeeze them back into the bags they’d so easily been extracted from, however finding the right one was frustrating for the ‘foldees’ but ever so entertaining (in a very non-conspicuous way) for those watching. Still, excellent team-work was the order of the day and soon everything was packed away and it was as if nothing had been there, leaving just a troupe of Trustees and trusted helpers all wilting fast but just wanting to eke out and savour the remnants of a splendid event.
The final total raised for the day was £864 which is a fantastic amount. I mentioned before about the apparent surfeit of “thank you’s”, but can make no apology for them: we simply could not do it without everyone’s support and participation for that ultimately helps us to help the Ridgebacks in need. So, on behalf of those dogs, this is the final, but by far the biggest “THANK YOU” to everyone involved!
Our Sponsors for the day were:
·         Millie’s Wolfheart Working and Sporting Complete Dog Food
·         Oscars Dog Treats
·         Shingwidsi Ridgebacks - Rosettes
·         Natural Instinct
·         Lily's Kitchen
·         Skinners Pet Food
Activities, Stalls and Support

·         Akna K9 Team - Agility, Canicross and Bikejoring
·         Caroline’s Cafe – Refreshments
·         Doggie Dazzlers Dog Grooming, Wysall
·         Googie Kendall - Card and Giftwrap Sales
·         The Girl Guides – Arts and Craft Sales
·         Kat Reinok - Facebook Photography
·         Meadow Lane Vets, Loughborough – Vet on Call
·         Sarah Preest Photography - Portraits
Raffle prize Donors:

·         Ancol
·         Johnson’s Veterinary
·         Kong
·         Lintbells
·         The Little Barker Bakery
·         Olde Bakehouse Pet Shop, East Leake
·         Purina
·         Sharples and Grant
·         Veni Dog
·         Vet’s Kitchen
·         Vetspec
·         and the many individuals whose donations made the raffle such a success


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