And the winner is… (drum roll)
Banana Joe! The Affenpinscher is chosen as 2013′s Best in Show, an exciting annual event where visitors flock to Madison Square Garden to share their love for dogs and cheer on their favorite pooch to victory. However, aside from the preliminaries and other events simultaneously occurring within the two days, the finale is the main attraction where the Best in Show is selected.
Since 1877, dogs of varying sizes and breeds have taken their place to compete to become the Best in Show. When you have such an abundant array of choices to select from, it is fair to say that all contestants should be ready to put their best paw forward. Day one at the Garden is quite a sight to see as an influx of people jam against the ticket counters while others collect programs at the entrance and make their way up the many escalators to their seats. As we settle in, a surge of excitement surrounds the venue and immediately after we hear the National Anthem- it’s showtime. The dogs wobble in and take their places by their appropriate platforms and the crowd erupts in an uproar.
There are seven categories and one winner is chosen from each and later progresses to the next day. Most, if not all, annual canine competition events lead up to this moment considered the Grammies- no Oscars, perhaps even bigger, the Olympics of Dog Events. Each participant is judged by appearance, gait (also referred to as movement), attitude and temperament, and obedience. Additional criteria include height, weight, appearance of coat, overall hygiene and maintenance and the color of the eyes and ears and the shape in relation to the specific breed and how well they “stack.”
Stacking is performed when the dog appears before the judge and the forelegs are aligned in a ninety degree position along its withers; as if proclaiming, “I am showing you my best.” On the first day, four groups take the stage and below are the winners in order and relation to their category, breed, and respectful names.
Hound- American Foxhound: “Pandora’s Box.”
Toy group- Affenpinscher: “Banana Joe.”
Non- Sporting- Bichons Frises: “Vogelflight’s Honor to pillow talk.”
Non Sporting Winner
Herding-Old English Sheepdog: “Bugapoos Picture Perfect.”
The second day, the Garden doubles with incoming guests as we await the selected winners from the last three divisions of the competition. After the favorites are selected from the remainder of the list mentioned below, all participants make their way to the sidelines, the lights dim, spotlights rotate around the crowd, and loud cheers pierce from the crowd.
Sporting- Pointer(Germain Wirehaired): “ Mt. View’s Ripsnortersilvercharm.”
Working- Portugese Waterdog: “Clairecreek Impression De Matisse.”
Terrier- Fox terrier(Smooth): “Slyfox Sneaks a Peek.”
In the far end a wave starts perhaps to cure boredom or to ignite the anticipation of the new winner. A round of applause smashes through as the judges step onto the middle of the floor.
This is it, one lucky pup is about to meet their destiny!
After a few nail biting moments, the officials walk alongside the chosen few and award a new winner, Banana Joe, the Affenpinscher from the toy group. Cameras flicker with strobe-like flashes, applause rumbles around as the winner poses for his paparazzi next to its owner. Overall, it was a great experience, and if you are visiting New York around February this time next year, try and get tickets and be part of the magic.