Portfolio made his debut at the American Whippet Club's 24th annual National Specialty last Wednesday at the beat but accommodating Hotel Tucson City Center Innsuites - though we were required to supply our own bedspread (but then you know what they say about hotel bedspreads - talkin bout an ultraviolet lightshow, y'all dig?)
It was a fun - if exhausting - expedition, driving straight there and back in a rented minivan to participate in one out of the seven intensely scheduled days of competition.
This was P's first appearance in the 'Open Dog' class, having left puppyhood behind at his 19-month birthday earlier in April. Apparently he failed to rock the judge's world - though admittedly the competition was worthy in this instance. P comported himself commendably, but was not ranked ribbon-quality.
However, around noon on Thursday, just as we were getting ready to hit the road, Debbie Butt of Sporting Fields Kennel - whom we hadn't ever really met before - found us and asked if Portfolio could stick around to participate as part of his sire Trent's 'Stud Dog Unit' -- the competitive team in an event where a male dog and two of its offspring - his "get" - are judged as a group.
Somebody hadn't shown up and Portfolio was the only one of Trent's get there. Trent won the whippet group at Westminster in 2008, and the other get was Nigel's pa Hot Topic (AKA Sully) so it was an honor to be asked, and a chance to finally meet the stud that begat our personal whippet adventure. So - once we arranged for the Urban Homesteaders to save our real vehicles from an Asphalt Slurry Seal Protection mandated towage - we agreed.
The line-up was a little confusing, because Hot Topic himself was entered with a stud unit of his own, so in the pictures you are seeing - left to right - Trent (Sporting Fields Rock On) with Debbie Butt, Portfolio with M.A., Sully (SF Hot Topic) with... handler - I'm sorry I'm not sure of any other names but I'm going to guess that Sully's l'il bitches are Broadstrider’s Cheers Me Dears (who went onto win Winners Bitch & Best of Winners on Saturday) and 2009's American Whippet Club National Best in Show winner Snow Hill Calliope -- correct me if I'm wrong, whippet community. OK it looks like it was Tattershall Ticket to Fly and Calli. I probably just made some unforgivable faux pas. The politics of the art world are nothing to those of breed conformation.
This was apparent in the buzz that Portfolio's (and MA's) presence evoked ringside, where I was shooting these blurry photos. I stood in three separate locations, and I overheard three separate conversations trying to figure out "Who is that magnificent white dog with Trent?"and "Isn't that owner/handler fine artist M.A. Peers, who did those space dog paintings for the Museum of Jurassic Technology?" as well as similar queries.
Thanks to his newfound experience, Portfolio showed enthusiastically but gave an impression of inner centeredness, suggesting Westminster triumphs to come. But not yet... not yet. In a genetic wormhole melon-twister, Nigel's Pa (and P's half-brother) Sully took the Stud Unit blue ribbon, and Trent came third. Debbie let Porlilfoo keep the green ribbon and horsehair-fired commemorative plate with the whippets in the sombrero, for going the extra furlong. And she can spare it - since her SF Bahama Sands (Tawny) got Best in Show! Congrats Debbie & Tawny! Can another Westminster triumph be far behind?
Those middle images are close-up shots of the backs of trucks on the I-10 as the sun was going down.