The Fiesta Cluster is Arizona's premier weekend of dog shows, obedience, rally and agility trials. Wrapped around the first weekend in March, at WestWorld in Scottsdale, it features five days of competitions.
The following incident, alleged to have taken place this year, was related to me by an obedience steward.
It's time for the Open sits and downs. The judge, a veteran and seemingly well-regarded, gives each of her ring stewards a pad of paper and a pencil. She instructs them to watch the dogs during the group exercises, write down anything they see and report the information to her after the exercises are finished.
"In all my years of stewarding (counted in decades), I had never seen that happen," one of the stewards said to me. "But we did what we were told."
The American Kennel Club publication The Steward in Obedience states: "They (stewards) should carefully refrain from discussing or even seeming to discuss the dog's performance with the judge . . . "
As comic Red Buttons used to say, "Strange things are happening."