Good To Be Back
Berna Welch contributed to this story.
As my friend Berna Welch and I started on our journey to the shows in Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania, late last month, I have to admit I was nervous.
Would everyone be the same?
Would the show be shut down?
How would the dogs behave with masks, even though we worked with them (and they behaved great)?
As we pulled into the show site, there was a line of RVs waiting to park. At the head of the line were club members and Penny Kretchmer, all masked up, checking us in and directing RVs to park.
OK, I cried. I thanked them all for their hard work and would have hugged them if I were allowed to.
The cluster had a few new procedures: We had to sign and turn in a Covid waiver, get temperature-checked and wear a wristband – easy peasey. Exhibitors picked up their armband packets a day before the show – this was great!
“The central armband distribution location was simple and efficient,” Berna said later. “A side benefit to this was how smoothly getting classes into the rings went, especially with larger-entry breeds. Ring stewards were not pressured to give out armbands while calling in a class, and there were no lines at the steward’s table. One ring steward could easily manage an assignment.
“The Mountain Laurel Cluster was extremely well planned, organized and paved the way for future dog shows,” she concluded. “Many of the procedures put in place to ensure the health department requirements were met should become part of shows going forth.”
Rau had everything organized and efficient. Again, I cried when I saw our friends from Rau – hats off to their staff for all their hard work. Thank you so much.
We ended up parked next to a delegate from one of the host clubs. I believe her name was Kim. Berna and I thanked her for all her hard work. Kim explained a number of things we had questions about, including how the cluster was able to get all the approvals to hold the event.
Penny had a giant task, with a large number of RVs to park. She handled it amazingly. I do not think I ever saw her golf cart standing still. Thank you, Penny!
Harry Miller’s crew also helped with temperature checks and watched the doors to the buildings, making sure no one from the public tried to get in, and helped in every way possible. We were so blessed to have the men in orange and Penny working hard to help us all!
The shows in Bloomsburg were both indoors and out, with no grooming inside. If you set up crates, you had to remove them after judging.
The rings had an in gate and an out gate, and six-foot intervals marked out on the floor. Some judges handed you a ribbon; others had you pick them up as you exited the ring. Everyone was masked, and hand sanitizer was available everywhere.
Now, here are my thoughts about showing with a mask: The average United States soldier carries 60 to 100 pounds of gear in full uniform across the landscape of Afghanistan. Showing in a mask has its obstacles; however, if the brave men and women of the U.S. Armed Forces can do this, so can I! Yes, you sweat under it, but if this simple act protects our fellow citizens from the ’Rona, you do it!
Here in Connecticut we have been wearing masks for months, so I was comfortable and found it pretty easy to show in one. I think the hardest thing about wearing a mask is sometimes you can’t tell who is under it!
It was wonderful to see all my friends, set up ex-pens, cook out and walk dogs. I never felt uneasy or unsafe.
Phillip Boyce and his club members went above and beyond, making sure everything ran smoothly and safely. I can only imagine ALL the hard work that went into make this circuit happen. A heartfelt thank-you to you all!
The great thing about our country is you’re free to do as you please, within reason of course. If you choose to stay home, please do not judge those of us who choose to go to a dog show. So far it is 14 days post-Bloomsburg, and I have not heard of one person who got sick.
It was wonderful to see everyone happy to be at a show, and I am proud to say everyone was gracious and masked up.
After showing my first dog after four long months, I caught myself smiling beneath my mask. Man, it feels good to be back!