I was in Costa Rica judging an All Breed Show when got a long distant call from home with the new that I was voted to judge the 2004 Australian Specialty. Two years later I was arriving, after the longest trip o my life, to Tullamarine airport in Melbourne. With 20 hours ahead of my country time and the last two nights in a plane the only thing that was in mind was a bed to sleep. It was 10 am when I meet Michael Trigger, club secretary, and Willem Buitenkamp, a Belgium specialist judge, at the airport and instead to take me to rest decides to take a tour and have a lunch. Later I understood that this was the best way to adjust the biological clock from a foreign visitor like me. My first three days of acclimatization were spending in the nice house of Peter and Linn Watson a couple of Australian charming judges. This wonderful home, located outside of Melbourne is enclave in a hill with a wonderful view of a national Park where every day at sunset time we were delighted to see a gang of kangaroos coming out of the bushes to eat the hay and drink water from a little lagoon located in their land. Our contact with Mother Hearth were even more intense with the early visits, at breakfast time, from a collection of Silvestre birds like White Cockatoos, Parrots, Giant parakeets and other beautiful creatures which name are unknown by me . Last but not least there was an interesting kennel of Dingos at home just because Linn Watson is the founder and activists leader of an Conservationist organization of the Dingo, the Australian wild dog.
Finally the day of the National arrive and early in the morning had to leave this wonderful place. The Show site was Cope Williams a very nice winery and resort located in Romsey and surrounded for the romantic landscapes of the Macedon Ranges.
As soon arrive to this place was introduced to Ian Cookesley , president of the Club and to the winery owners that had reserved a place to stay in their nice English style house . Following this introduction, I was taken to the place were the ring was located. .This was a huge circular grass ring surrounded by the coloring tents of the exhibitors.
After the Open Ceremony and Parade of Veterans I started my judging with the dog Classes first the puppy classes then the juniors and finally the adult classes. I must say that according the show were in progress the more competitive were the classes. I had an interesting challenge making my critics for the six best dogs in every class. Thanks to the fantastic job from my stewards I had nothing to worry but my lovely Afghans. I found the 100 feet diameter circular ring very helpful judging not only the big classes but every single dog as well. My results were as follows
Best In Show and Dog Challenge. Ch.Tahkira What a Hell (Am & Aust. Gr. Ch. Tahkira Hell Raiser x Ch.Tahkira Tigertalk ) a beautiful black and tan dog from the Open Class that impress me with his excellent proportions, nice head, long and elegant neck ,hard top line and an effortless movement covering great amount of ground with style of high order .
Reserve Best in show and Bitch Challenge . Gr. Ch . Furbary Tiffany Diamond ( Ch.Taejon Parallax View x Furbari French Fudge ) a black and brindle bitch from the Open class with a beautiful outline. Her exquisite and feminine head, long neck, well laid back shoulders, strong and short loin, excellent angulations and a high level fluid movement decide me to put her up as the best bitch at that day.
Reserve Dog Challenge Certificate. Ch. Kandhu Andretti ( Ch. Xenos Joselito x Suliman in Focus) an elegant oyster brindle dog from the Australian Bred Class with a powerful side gait and if he were a little up on legs could be caused serious problems to my BIS.
Reserve Bitch Challenge Certificate. Ch. Karakush Spice of Life ( Ch. Quom Jambalaya N Jazz x Ch,\Karakush Irresistable U ) who finish second in Open. If I were found this exotic brindle bitch with a little hard top line could be hard to beat to the winning bitch
There were at the National excellent dogs and very competitive classes. I had at the show more than 50 specials, distributed in six classes. This make think that the final line in some classes could be change in order from one day to other, but for me in that day , march 6 2004, the dogs that put up and the places they got respond to what they did at that particular day .
Although a very competitive level found in the Australian breeders and exhibitors they show me an impeccable showmanship and friendship between each others. There are a continuous interchanging of bloodlines and many of them own and show other breeders dogs. Their dedication and devotion for the breed among the last decades, and the selective interchange between the breeders has been a cornerstone to achieve the world wide recognition of the Australian Afghans.
Celebrations could not wait and the same day at the Dinner Presentation in Cope Williams, the Club awarded the trophies to all the winners. Wonderful sculptures of Afghans made by Terry Wilcox were given to the best dogs at the National. I had the honor to receive from the Club and bring with me one of these wonderful creations.
After the National, I took a few days to know a little bit more about this wonderful and vast country so I decided to rent a car and go to the Great Ocean Road. After some incommodities and minor traffic mistakes I finally adjust to drive my car with the wheel at right side. The Great Ocean Road is a route that take you to the Victoria Coast among the most famous surfing beaches of Torquay , front ocean villages and beautiful bays like Lorne and Apollo Bay well known also by the Cray Fish ( lobsters) . I had the opportunity to meet very nice people in a friendly and safety environment. One thing that surprises me were an original kind of lodging call Bed and Breakfast offered to the travelers by private houses along the villages. There are comfortable and less expensive and sometimes allow to co fraternize with the local people and learn more about the place. The speed limit is 62 mph and although didnít saw to many police cars, the drivers respect it.
My final destination at this route was Port Campbell and visit one of the most important tourist places in Victoria: The Twelve Apostles. The road trip was enchantress. I saw koalas at the trees in the natural parks, majesties cliffs, pinto rest villages enclave in the hills and in front of the ocean and so on.
The Twelve apostles is a series of old and amazing rock monoliths enclave in the ocean. They are 150 feet tall and had been sculptured trough thousand of the years by the ocean waves. These natural monuments belong to 1400 hectares of the natural Park of Port Campell. Its incomparable beauty is the attraction of the one million tourists that visit the monoliths every year.
After this amazing experience, I had to thank all the National organizers, and the Australian breeders and exhibitors without their presence this event couldnít be made. And finally to my family for their constant support and to God for given me this wonderful trip.
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