Every December we travel to Orlando, Florida for the largest AKC event of the year, the AKC National Championship. Normally there are 4,000 dogs entered in conformation, dock diving, agility, obedience, and fastcat. With covid protocols in place, entries were still near 4,000 and no spectators were allowed. By now we've gotten used to showing in masks using social distancing and the competition was keen throughout the week. Shows are held Tuesday through Saturday with different judges each day.
Tuesday, December 8th, Flynn kicked off the show with Select, Best of Breed Owner Handler, and a Group 4 in the Owner Handler Sporting Group judged by Linda Robey.
On both Wednesday and Thursday, Solene won Best of Breed shown by Justin Smithey. Solene will be 9 years old in just two weeks and we are so proud of her ability to compete with all the younger dogs! Solene won these breeds under Roy Holloway and Ken Murray.
Friday was the highlight for me as it was the Finals of the National Owner Handler series. I qualified two dogs in the Top Ten and both received invitations. Flynn was the #1 Barbet and Solene the #3 Barbet. I opted to show Solene as I feel she deserves so much credit for developing our entire line of Barbet in AKC. We were thrilled to win Best of Breed and then Sporting Group 2 against a huge and beautiful lineup of Sporting dogs. Judged by sporting specialist Doug Johnson, this placement really means a lot to me, particularly with 2020 being the first year of full recognition for the Barbet.
Saturday was our last day of Barbet classes and Justin showed Solene to win Best of Breed at the AKC National Championship judged by Jamie Hubbard. We are so proud!! Flynn won Select and Best Bred-By. I was honored to show Solene in the Sporting group Saturday night in the big arena for AKC.TV while Justin and Cheslie concentrated on Bourbon.
This turned out to be the right decision as Bourbon won the Hound group, then on Sunday night went on to win her 108th Best in Show to become the National Champion. I don't think we could have had a better week in Orlando than we had. The dogs showed great, had fun, and we couldn't be happier with them.
Cheslie Smithey and Bourbon
2020 AKC National Champions