|Competing at the Junior Challenge
by Lindsey Grinels
Hey, my name is Lindsey Grinels. I usually show my Australian Shepherd in the open senior class, but sometimes I also show my Standard Poodle. I’ve been showing Aussies since I was 8 years old; starting in my local club shows and now I compete almost every weekend and work with a Professional Handler.
I just competed in the Junior Challenge in Brooksville, Florida in January. The Junior Challenge worked like regular Junior classes, but the winner of each class won a plane ticket to California for the Eukanuba National Championship and the Best Junior winner won hotel expenses to go to Eukanuba and compete. I am very thankful to everyone who helped put the on the Challenge, especially Mrs. Pickett and Mr. Sauve.
The junior numbers for this competition were extremely high. There were about 20 in my open senior class. The dogs in my class ranged from Great Danes to Papillons and everything in between. Most of the Juniors that were entered were top ranked in their home states and in their breeds and some are my close friends. I happen to know most of them because we have been competing at national shows for many years now. With 20 kids who are at the same level it makes it very challenging.
My class was the first to go in at 8:00 a.m. on Saturday morning, and I remember looking around the ring and thinking to myself, this is going to be hard. It took forever to go through all those Juniors but finally it was choosing time. There were five of us that made the final cut which meant we were all that much closer to winning. The judge, Ms. Chelsie Pickett, asked us all to do L’s. My dog, Teagan, Ch. Skyecove’s Out and About, was bored and it was a chore to get him to co-operate during the whole L. After that, I thought I wouldn’t have the slightest chance of placing. Much to my surprise, I was moved to the front of the line and asked to take the class around one more time. Out of many great Juniors I had won. I was so happy because I had worked really hard for that win. Now, I just had to wait to go into the Best Junior class which was right before group judging, in the group ring later that day. Waiting to go in was very nerve racking. Sometimes I go into the Best Junior class and get beaten by the younger kids so nothing was a given. In the ring the Judge, AKC Representative Mrs. Gina Weiser, did our individual examinations then had us free stack our dogs in the middle of the ring. I was thinking, Oh...great. My dog isn’t always quick on free stacking. Luckily we pulled it off and he did a good job on his free stack. I had a feeling I could win this as the judge took one last look. Then she went back to her table, wrote the winner down, and brought out the ribbon. My heart was pounding. She said we that we all did a great job and the Best Junior Handler was...me!!
All my friends and family screamed and I ran out to claim my prize. I was never that nervous in my junior classes before but it was my lucky day. I couldn’t be happier about the way Teagan showed. I’m proud to be a Junior and I’m thankful to all of the clubs and individuals who supported the Challenge. Now I’ll be seeing everyone at next year’s Eukanuba National Championship!