Sunday, July 15, 2012


A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the 2012 ABC…

Until late last year, when most US airlines decided they would no longer carry “snub-nosed breeds” and the shipping charges of the few airlines that still accepted Boxers went through the roof, it was “merely” inconvenient for western ABC members and exhibitors to show their dogs at the ABC. Westerners had either to drive 3 or 4 days each way to get to the show site or take one or at most two dogs with them as excess baggage and fly. Even then, flying presented its own set of inconveniences, but it was doable.  Consequently, one ABC board of directors after another from 1998 to the present passed the buck on finding an equitable solution to what many saw as mostly a West Coast problem.

Today, passing the buck to the next board is no longer an option. Almost overnight, it’s gone from inconvenient to nearly impossible for would-be ABC exhibitors to get their dogs from the westernmost part of the US to Indianapolis – our host city through 2014.  That was brought home to the ABC president at the membership meeting in Kentucky this past May, when she asked the westerners present to be “patient,” and was greeted with a barrage of angry complaints from the meeting-goers.  It was also highlighted by the drop in entries between 2011 – 752 dogs entered – and 2012 – 619 dogs entered.

When Dr Paul Gerard made a motion to move the ABC to the center of the country at the membership meeting in 1998, everybody understood that he meant the geographic, not the demographic center of the country, and that’s exactly what the ABC membership voted for. When the site committee recommended Indianapolis over Topeka in 2011, many of the board assumed that we’d follow precedent and give the entire membership the opportunity to vote on the new location. But that didn't happen, and by 2014, the second year of the ABC contract with the Wyndham Hotel in Indianapolis, it will have been 16 years since ABC members voted two to one to move the ABC to the center of the country.

NO show site is going to be absolutely perfect in every respect, but the Topeka hotel has already been vetted by the site committee and hosted the 2010 Regional as well as a number of all-breed shows. The site committee's only criticism of the venue was the slightly more than an hour distance from the airport. As far as getting our dogs to the show is concerned, that’s not as important today as it was in 1998 or even 2011, considering that most airlines won’t fly our “snub-nosed” Boxers at all now. Topeka could provide an interim home for the ABC starting in 2015 while the board and membership decide whether we should consider a roving national instead of a permanent center-of-the-country site. But the ABC leadership needs to have a solution in place well before 2014, when the contract with the Wyndham Hotel will have to be renewed…or not.

As luck would have it, the Regional is going to be in California this year (Oct 30 – Nov 2, 2012). The Regional membership meeting will give western ABC members and their supporters the perfect opportunity to talk directly to the ABC president and board and ask how and when they plan to address the airlines’ new, game-changing policies. In view of that, I have a couple of suggestions:

First, if you’re an ABC member and are planning to attend the Regional, write to ABC Secretary Sandy Orr ( and ask her to put “Topeka 2015 Or Bust” on the membership meeting agenda. Also, contact California handler/breeder Cheryl Cates and let her know how you feel about not being able to show your dogs in the ABC Futurity and Specialty. ( Cheryl is the newest member of the ABC Site Committee – the only member from a western state – and hopefully will be able to offer input into any decision the committee makes on a 2015 show site.

Then, join forces with as many likeminded Regional-bound ABC members as possible and present a united front at the membership meeting, whether there’s a quorum or not. The unanimity of the members who spoke out at the May 2012 meeting was very effective in convincing a majority of the board to reconsider their vote on the selection of performance judges. United we stand; divided we’ll be sitting ringside in Indianapolis in 2015.

Finally, between now and the Regional, write to your board members and tell them you want them to take action on this issue before 2014. If you are personally acquainted with members of the current BOD, contact them directly and ask what they plan to do to secure a more accessible show site. I’ve listed the current directors below, but there’s no need for anyone to set up his or her own board email list. ABC Secretary Sandy Orr ( will see that your comments are forwarded to the entire board.

ABC members have been patient for 14 years – now let’s go give ‘em hell Harry! 

Elected Directors:
Linda Abel
Stephanie Abraham
Bridget Brown
Salli Moore-Kottas
Wendy Morawski
Sandy Orr
Sharon Steckler
Korinne Vanderpool
Judy Voran
Barry Wyerman

Regional Zone Directors for 2012/2013:
Zone A
Boxer Club of Long Island
Jeannie Hoffman
Zone B
Central Indiana Boxer Club
Brenda Staley
Zone C
Blue Grass Boxer Club
Phillip Koenig
Zone D
Missouri Valley Boxer Club
Lee Mitchell
Zone E
Boxer Club of San Diego County
Lois Trist