RV Parking Crews Not “Parking Nazis”
Bert and Bruce Rettick, dog show RV parking mavens in Northern California, share their knowledge and advice about safe parking of rigs at events.
“We take the responsibility off of club members,” Bert said. “If you take two or three club members and put them out in an RV parking lot, it’s taking away from doing other things. Club membership is diminishing. There’s just not the bodies to do the work.”
The couple have been dog show exhibitors for more than 30 years. Bruce started helping out parking crews while Bert was showing their Boxers and Boston Terriers. Eventually, clubs began asking him to take on the responsibilities of managing parking.
In their years of working this particular niche of the dog show world, the Retticks have developed important checklist items.
“This is a village out here,” Bert said. “We look out for one another. Safety. RVs all placed in the same direction if you have to evacuate. Aisles wide enough for a fire truck or ambulance to get in. Generators are in the same direction. Exhaust pipes are required on generators. Driving cars in and out of the RV parking lot during show hours is a safety issue. Parking two rigs awning to awning can leave water heaters butted against each other on the other sides, which can cause explosions from propane. We need to be proactive not reactive.”
Parking Location Doesn’t Determine Results
Bert noted that while she hears complaints about favoritism in parking, business is business.
“You are just as important with your one dog as people are with 20 dogs,” Bert said. “But from a business decision, 20 dogs three spaces closer makes their job easier also. My bottom line, you can win a BIS no matter where you’re parked. The judge doesn’t ask if you’re in 1A or the day of show lot before pointing.”
Kennel clubs, according to AKC rules, do not have to offer RV parking, Bert said. It’s up to each club. Handicapped parking doesn’t necessarily mean close to ring, she added. “We try to make sure they have a flat surface to get to the ring. Handicapped parking means we will accommodate exhibitors to get to the ring as safely as possible.”
“We do the best we can with what we have to work with. I hope people take time to think about the bigger picture,” Bruce said. “Without the exhibitors, the dog show doesn’t happen. You gotta be kind to your people.”
Just Be Nice!
On the other hand, a little niceness to the parking people goes a long way.
“We can control a lot of things, but Mother Nature is not one of them. A little more patience, a little more understanding. There are reasons, sometimes, that exhibitors may not be aware of that can hold up parking,” Bruce said.
Tip of the Week
Remember to listen to the end for Allison Foley’s Tip of the Week from Leading Edge Dog Show Academy! Allison is talking about SPACE and how to use it wisely in the show ring.
AKC REGISTRATION REVERSES 20 YEAR TREND
According to Mark Dunn, AKC Senior Vice President of Registration and Customer Development, more breeders are registering more dogs, reversing a 20-year downtrend.
MARK DUNN BREAKS DOWN THE REGISTRATION STATISTICS
The last four years have shown notable increases in the number of dogs registered. Mark Dunn tells us that the number of litters registered and the number of people breeding dogs are also on the rise.
“…it says something about the role that AKC Breeders are playing in getting dogs into American homes. Which is really important to all of us, to be there for people who love dogs,” Dunn said
Good news on the overall increasing number of registrations is tempered somewhat by a different trend in the low-number breeds. Dunn notes that while the Top 10 breeds have been booming, the bottom 60 breeds are in decline or showing noteworthy reduction in registrations. Labrador Retrievers, for example, represent 15 percent of ALL dogs registered in more than 200 breeds.
Some of the lower registration breeds are new to AKC registration and working to improve their numbers, while other ancient breeds like Otterhounds and Dandie Dinmont Terriers struggle to maintain their popularity.
“I want to be there for parent clubs and provide any information or help those breeders need,” Dunn said.
The Breeder of Merit program was established seven years ago. Dunn believes it had a vital impact on these increasing registrations. Today, nearly a quarter of AKC registrations are produced by BOM approved breeders or those on that path, he noted.
Research indicates that Americans LOVE their dogs. Ninety million of them, in fact. With average lifespans, an estimated 8 million “replacement” dogs are required to meet the annual demand by dog owners in the US. Dunn says AKC breeders produce 1.3 million, with another several million available through shelter placement.
“… THERE IS STILL A LOT OF ROOM FOR GROWTH FOR AKC BREEDERS AND RESPONSIBLE BREEDERS THAT ARE WILLING TO DO WHAT WE EXPECT BREEDERS TO DO TO BREED AKC DOGS,” DUNN SAID. “I THINK WE HAVE A GREAT OPPORTUNITY IF WE CAN FIND WAYS TO GROW RESPONSIBLY. AND TO DO THE RIGHT THING FOR DOGS AND FOR THE PEOPLE WHO LOVE THEM.”
The low registration breeds are a popular topic in this area. Dunn noted that during his presentation to the AKC Delegate’s Parent Club committee, he was asked about marketing rare breeds to increase demand.
“The worst thing we can do is make a hard-to-find breed more popular,” Dunn said. “… if we simply try to market our way to success for particular breeds, we can create a real problem. …if we drive demand for a hard-to-find breed, someone is going to go try to fulfill that demand. Unfortunately, it might not be the parent club breeders and it might not be the people that are … most concerned about the proper stewardship of that breed.”
As registration and breeder numbers increase, Dunn advocates continuing the positive direction with specific actions, including education.
“So, what we saw last year,” Dunn said, “was a lot of growth in the number of people breeding that are not currently considered either commercial, by any definition. They only bred one litter with AKC. They’re very low volume. Maybe one or two litters tops. But they’re not currently on track to be a Breeder of Merit so they either have not finished dogs or they are not competing in conformation to any large extent. Now half of those breeders are very new. They’re either new as in last year was the first time they showed up on our radar. Or they’re new because they’ve shown up once or twice in the last two or three years. The real key is to bring those people in. To bring them along. And the way we do that is through education.”
Here at Pure Dog Talk, we’re happy to offer education to new and old alike! Hope you enjoy my talk with Mark.