Tuesday, June 28, 2011


From time to time a friend or neighbor who knows we go to dog shows will ask, "Been to any competitions lately?  Note that the person didn't say, "Been to any exhibitions lately? They may not have a clue what we do when we get there, but they have the concept.  Why doesn't the American Kennel Club?  Why don't most of the rest of us?

We participate in competition obedience, not exhibition obedience.

Let's pause here and consult "Webster's Dictionary of the English Language."

exhibit 1. to display something, especially a work of art, in a public place such as a museum or gallery  2. to show something off for others to look at or admire

exhibitor  somebody who exhibits something, especially somebody whose artistic work is exhibited

compete  to try to win or do better than others

competition 1.  the process of trying to win or do better than others  2.  an activity in which people try to win something or do better than others

competitor  a person, animal or group taking part in a competition

OK, compare:  exhibit with compete, exhibitor with competitor.  Pretty clear isn't it?

Around here, just about every time I walk into an Open B or Utility B ring ( and not in a museum or gallery) I lock horns with Dick Guetzloff.  And if , in a few days, I were entered in the border collie specialty in Ventura, California (I'm not), I'd have to (try to) survive encounters with the likes of Betty Cunningham, Louise Meredith, Flo Walberg, and Catherine Zinsky. (That's called piling on.)

Folks what's going on in those rings ain't no exhibitions.  And we ain't no exhibitors.  We're competitors.  I contend that the same holds true for those who are entered in rally and agility.

I can swallow "exhibitor" for those showing in conformation. They are, after all, displaying their dogs as fine examples of the breed -- living, breathing, stacking, gaiting works of art.  But for those of us in competition obedience, no!  We're competitors, not exhibitors.

Oh, and one more thing.  This business of  "the fancy."  Webster shows that usage of fancy seventh and dead last.

fancy enthusiasts of a sport or pastime, especially boxing  (archaic)

If I am to take myself seriously as a member of the fancy, I feel the need to dress appropriately.  Anyone know where I can get a 1930s outfit?


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