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Greetings from the 2009 ASSA National!

Here we are, in Perry, GA, at the 2009 ASSA National Specialty Dog Show ("the National"). And we’ve been very, very busy…not getting a lot of sleep, either.

We got to the Atlanta airport Thursday late afternoon, rented a car (out of sheer luck, we got a Jeep, which carried a fair amount of cargo—very helpful, since we had checked six large duffel bags containing product that we’re selling at the National), and drove the 1½ hours to Perry.

On Friday, we unpacked everything and started applying barcode labels that I’d printed before we left home. Then we drove back up to Atlanta to meet Joan Flowers, the local coordinator for the rescue booth (Barbara, as some of you know, is the national rescue booth coordinator), to pick up boxes of product that other rescue groups had sent to be sold. And, of course, we drove back to Perry.

We spent many hours Friday night, until about 02:30 (yes, AM) applying barcode labels to product, mostly to the National Sheltie Rescue Network tee-shirts. Then we had to get up at 05:00 (yes, again, AM) to drive 1¾ hours to some other town where the Herding event was being held, so we could sell product to those exhibitors. And it was worth it, too—we sold around $500 to $600 worth of product (all rescue groups combined, not merely Sheltie Rescue of Utah). After a long day in a very hot sun (getting very sunburned in the process), we drove the 1¾ hours back to Perry and collapsed into bed.

Sunday, at 07:00, we were up again, heading over to the main show site to set up some tables in the Agility building, where (happily!) people were practically throwing money at us! For so many years, nobody could be bothered taking rescue table product over to the performance people, which (a)left money lying on the table (metaphorically speaking) and (b)made the performance people feel like second-class citizens. Well, Barbara and I decided several years ago that we would change that, even though it makes our jobs a lot harder.

On Monday, the scheduled events included Obedience, as well as Futurity (a conformation event). We expected sales to be pretty slow, but they were much better than expected. And Tuesday is always a really slow day, because the only scheduled event is the "Seminar". Surprisingly, though, we made quite a few sales.

Today’s Wednesday, and business hasn’t been as brisk as we hoped, but we’re not doing too badly. And there’s probably another hour left in the day during which there will be enough people around to make it worth keeping the booth open. All told, so far, we’ve done about $8400 (gross) in sales. That makes it just about certain that we’ll break $10K, but it looks very unlikely that we’ll hit $15K. This will be the first year that Barbara and I haven’t broken all previous records at the rescue booth :( but the economy is really taking a toll on everybody.

On Monday afternoon, after the last class in Futurity, we always have the Parade of Veterans and the Parade of Rescues. Unfortunately, Barbara got assigned the job of rounding up all of the entrants for the Parade of Rescues (and, if Dorothy—the National Sheltie Rescue Network directory—hadn’t gotten to the show on time, Barbara would have had to run the Parade, too), so we didn’t get to watch the Veterans. That’s one of my favorite things at the National (the other is the Parade of Rescues, of course).

But it’s a real tear-jerker! This year, the Veterans seemed to generally be relatively young and active, but in some earlier years, we’ve had dogs who could barely stand, much less walk, but they are always so proud to be in the ring again with their mommy or daddy and getting applause. We can just see their eyes light up when people start clapping. The announcer reads whatever story their owner provided as they’re going around the ring. For those of us who love the seniors as much as Barbara and I do, it’s a sort of torturous version of heaven :)

Well, duty calls, so I’m going to close this posting now, but I’ll try to write some more later this week.

On this day..

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2 comments to Greetings from the 2009 ASSA National!

  • Sounds like a really busy but productive time for you. Hope you got to watch some of the action and enjoy yourself a little bit too!

  • So nice to hear an update on how Nationals are going. Even if you can’t quite break all previous sales records, it sounds like you’re doing extremely well. Have a great rest of the week, and I’ll look forward to seeing you both back here next week for the Utah Sheltie Specialty.

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