A Word from Dickens: CCA National Specialties of the Past, Part I, (1954-1959)
By Sally Futh, Starberry Collies
Images from CCA year books 1954-1959
Karen has asked me to write about some memories of CCA specialties we have attended. I have kept putting it off due to the research involved, hauling books off dusty shelves, etc. But the first of the year seems to be a good time to look back at some of them, so I will at least make a start.
Having just read a Christmas Carol for the kids at the local library, has me thinking back about Christmas past and CCAs past and future . . . And then there is a Tale of Two Cities and all the CCA sites we have seen -- It was the best of times . . .
We missed the years of monopoly on Best of Breed at the National by Ch. Hazeljane’s Bright Future: four consecutive wins, 1949-'52, in California, Michigan, Missouri and Wisconsin; and the two preceding by the Wooley’s Lane sisters, Electra and Leal, and the previous Bellhaven years and other greats.
But once started, we were there consistently. Until 1946 the specialty was consistently in the East with only one trip as far west as Cleveland. We began showing seriously in 1953. We, being chiefly me, plus my mother Peg Barbaresi and aunt, Rix Beardsley, under the guidance of adopted uncle, Ed Pickhardt.
Our first national was in Buffalo, New York, a one day show in the civic auditorium. The show chairman was Charlie Kay, and this is where we met his daughter, Marcia Keller. There were 101 Collies, all roughs, judged by Steve Field, who put Ch. Gaylord’s Mr. Scalawag BOB over nine other specials, and Peaceful Acres Maid of Glory was WB-BOS. We won two classes with puppy Mistress Mine and Stayfast, and we were hooked.
Next year was Cleveland and a move back to two judges, Billy Aschenbrener and Mrs. Long passing on the 208 entries. Another downtown civic center show, which was the trend as they were big enough, not yet expensive, had nearby hotels large enough, and access to highways. This was long before the days when the organizers provided bait; I can still remember Donna Taliaferro of Sugar Maple buying an order of cooked liver at breakfast to show her puppy which fortunately made some money in the futurity to pay for it. We were thrilled to go second in 6-9 to WD-BOW, Poplar Pencil Stripe, and also place with our puppy bitch; the lovely ’53 RB Brooknelle Laurie was WB while Maid O’Glory had to settle for a white ribbon and never did finish. Ch. Emeral’s My Son o’Duke was BOB; 16 specials. The most significant thing about this show was the snow, which marooned everyone who stayed over, for most of a week as all roads west were closed. We headed an hour east and made it home laughing about the weather reports, but it has not been the only February shows that gave CCA a reputation for bad weather.
1955 was, I think, the first of numerous Oklahoma (City) specialties led by the Arrowhill ladies, Florence Cummings, Nina Campbell, Vi Taylor, Bess Phillips and the irrepressible Ada Shirley. Total entry present: 114, a win over ten specials for Ch. Parader’s Bold Venture with BOS to his daughter, Ch. Kittredge Adventuress, BOW to the glamorous puppy, Jorie’s Mr. G. Gus Sigritz and CCA Secretary, Art Alexander, presided. No year book was forthcoming from stalwart Ralph Morrison so I was delegated to combine it with 1956 as it was already well into ’57 when asked. Word to the wise: never volunteer if you don’t want to end up with many, many jobs filling your desk, house and life!
On to California and Santa Monica with the Beverly Riviera Kennel Club all-breed, two days for two great judges, Alex Gibbs and Ed Myers. Another win for Bold Venture, WD and futurity to his son, Wee Kirk’s Star Billing, BOS to Ch. Country Lane M’Liss.
Chicago and the enormous setting of the stockyards, 1957: Mrs. Gray of Wooley’s Lane and Dr. Durfey from California with an entry of 198. Mr. G rose to BOV and the two Westminster winners from puppy class repeated: Ch. Brandwyne Needless to Say and Ch. Bronze-Lox Star Parade; they also topped the futurity with Cherrivale Darn Minute having to settle for reserve and 3rd in the finals. There were seven smooths topped by Ch. Belle Mount Bambi with Tom Kilcullen owning most of the winners.
1958 was planned to be an independent specialty but a change in host club officers saw us with 182 Collies crowded in with the Foot Guard all-breed in Connecticut. A giant snowstorm the night after the show left many exhibitors stuck in Hartford; judge, dogs and people rode the train together to New Haven for the show the next day. Darn Minute went on to BOV over 14 judged by Van Dyck. Glen Twiford judged bitches and Mrs. Cummings the futurity. Lucky of Belle Mount was WD-BOW, and best of four smooths.
2016 will see us returning to Louisville for a record sixth time, mostly at the downtown fairgrounds – the first trip was in 1959. Darn Minute repeated over a star-studded specials class for Art Alexander; Steve Field judged bitches. Kittredge Jeanie was BOS from the classes, which, looking back on their accomplishments, read like a Collie Hall of Fame. Virginia Holtz’s entries topped four Smooths with Cul Mor’s Babette of Ebonwood besting her brother, Kilcullen. And that was the end of the Fabulous Fifties.
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