|The Sport of Dogs
By Cheslie Pickett
I can't imagine a time without dogs in my life. I grew up in with a house full of dogs as my mother shows and breeds Papillons. I started showing in conformation when I was about seven years old, many times I was given unruly and out of control puppies to show. This changed when Stanley & Linda Sohn gave me the opportunity to own and show "Neo", CH L'Ete Cadaga The Matrix, to his championship. I finished him very quickly with three five-point majors and Best of Breeds over top specials. Thanks to Neo, I then gained more confidence in the ring and the chance to show the more competitive, ring-ready dogs to their championships.
After finishing a few dogs on my own, I decided that I would like to try showing in Junior Showmanship. My first time as a Junior I went Best Junior from the Novice Junior class. I remembered I was so thrilled. In my first year as a Junior, I placed second in the Pedigree competition for Top Open Junior. My mom and I made trips all over the country for this competition. Including trips to Tampa, Tulsa, Boston, Greenville, and Romulus. I also qualified for Westminster my first year competing in Juniors and was among the Top Toy handlers, as I have been since I started. My first year in the Open Senior class, I was the first person in the country to qualify for the Garden, in the second week of January. I have qualified all my years in Junior Showmanship for both the Garden and the Invitational. At the Invitational in Tampa, Florida, I was awarded a spot in the Junior Showmanship Finals. This was the final 12 out of a large entry of Junior qualifiers from around the country. This was a very special win to me personally. I felt like it was such an honor to be recognized in such talented competition.
For two years, I specialed "Dial", CH L'Ete Cadaga Dialed In. "Dial" was also my Juniors dog and we have a very special bond. Right after returning home from the PCA National last year, we won our first Group One. Dial and I then went on to win many other group placements, as well as two invitations to the AKC Eukanuba Invitational show.
My most exciting win and most memorable will always be handling "Kirby", CH Loteki Supernatural Being, to Best of Breed at the 2005 Papillion Club of America National Specialty under Judge Sandra Goose Allen. Kirby is the top winning Papillon of all time and is the only Papillon to ever go BIS at the Westminster Kennel Club in 1999. The National win in 2005 was from the veteran class, as Kirby was fourteen and a half years old and I was sixteen years old at the time. Kirby's owner and handler, John Oulton, gave me this opportunity and it meant the world to me for him to have the confidence in me to show Kirby. It is a win that I will never forget.
Currently, I am specialing "Poppy", Ch. Wildfire On A Roll, who my mother bred. She is currently among the top ten Papillons in the country. Last year she garnered the Papillon Club of America Silver Butterfly award. She was and is still currently the number one Papillon bitch all systems, as well as a group winner and multiple group placer.
As I embark on my first year at the University of Central Florida, I plan to continue showing my own dogs, as well as other's dogs, teaching conformation classes, and judging Junior Showmanship. I look forward to my future as I continue my education and also stay active in the sport of dogs, which I love.