By: Leila Bicos
I entered the world of purebred dogs in the very best way, through
the efforts of my wonderful breeder, Troy Abney. At the time, I was
twelve years old. My family had purchased a pet Rhodesian Ridgeback
and adopted a retired champion, Ch. RiverCity Reef. Once a junior
handler herself, Troy asked if I could show Reef during the parade
of veterans at the Orange Coast Regional Specialty and began giving
me handling lessons. I was hooked.
In the last five years, I have met and interacted with the most amazing
people and animals. In the breed ring, I have trained and shown many
RiverCity dogs. I now co-own nine of Troy Abney’s dogs with Troy and help her show her dogs, including
her group-winning special, Ch. RiverCity’s Traveling Man, in the group ring. In 2003, at the
age of 15, I became the youngest to win the Best In Sweeps (RiverCity’s That Girl), Best Junior Handler, and Best in Specialty
Show (Ch. RiverCity’s Tea for Two), at the Orange Coast Rhodesian Ridgeback
Club Specialty (over an entry of 140). I have retired the Triggerhill
Junior Showmanship Trophy for the OCRRC, which I have won three years
straight. I also showed BISS Ch. RiverCity's Tea for Two to the position
of #7 bitch in Conformation for the national club, Rhodesian Ridgeback
Club of the United States.
As a junior handler, I trained with Kathie Isenberg and trained with
and worked for her granddaughter, Cassandra Clark, who won Best Junior
at the Westminster Kennel Club when she was a junior. In 2003, I was
the #13 Junior for the Hound Group. I won Best Junior for the Pharaoh
Hound National Club, and have won Best Junior at specialties for Siberian
Huskies and Beagles. While a heavy academic schedule prevents me from
pursuing another run as a top junior. I still show my beagle, Ch.
Shoreview's Phoebe at the Westminster Kennel Club in Madison Square
Garden in the breed ring. The experience was everything I dreamed
it would be, except for the part where they did not hand me the ribbon.
I have worked for Pam Lambie, a professional handler, for two years.
I have co-owned and bred a litter of Pharaoh Hounds, Siberian Huskies,
and last year, I whelped my first litter of Rhodesian Ridgebacks.
I showed my puppies at the Palm Springs Kennel Club show this January,
and my 8 month old dog, RiverCity’s Everyone’s Bwana, won Best Puppy that day. He is an awesome
dog with the potential to do what his mother did—become a specialty winner. I also kept a beautiful
bitch out of that litter, RiverCity’s Stairway to Heaven.
Dog show have become a huge part of my life the last five years, and
while I have diverse interests and a heavy academic load. I think
my experience in the ring has given me a natural confidence I would
never have without my experience in the fancy. I enter college with
my major undeclared, but I plan to stay involved in dog shows and
dog breeding. Recently, Troy Abney and I updated her sales contract
as well as came to an agreement about the future of RiverCity, which
I will take over once Troy retires from breeding. Some day I hope
to be the one who takes an interest in a little girl and show her
the wonders of being involved with purebred dogs.