Our First PWCCA National Specialty (photo heavy post)

(This sign was part of the Hospitality bag presented to us when we checked in. John added the drawings of the boys. The welcome bag also had a box of people snacks, schedule of events and a handout of local places to visit.)

                                (The boys sitting ring side at the 2012 PWCCA National Specialty)

We just got back from our first Pembroke Welsh Corgi Club of America National Specialty in Portland, Oregon and it was amazing! I wish we could have stayed for the entire Specialty but work obligations kept us from taking off that much time. The Specialty ran from September 21st though 29th. All the performance events we were entered in ran smoothly and were very welcoming. All our judges were friendly and helpful. So many wonderful and talented corgis, friendly people and corgi related shopping, it was pretty much heaven on earth.

   (Herding awards and ribbons. I'm in the background looking at the raffle and silent auction in the background.)

                              
Little Alphonse didn't do any competitions since he is not quite ready yet so he had to sit on the sidelines with me. It was great socialization for him in addition to the longest time he has been away from home. Good conditioning for future events. Al also did a great job with his first exposure to an elevator since we were on the third floor. He did think it was unfair that Ashton got to play with the sheep and he only got to watch from the sidelines.

                                                   (Ashton and John working on his first PT leg)

Ashton worked his little corgi butt off! We started on Saturday in herding with his very first Pre-Trial (PT) Test which he passed! Watching all the experienced corgis in the trial ring was exciting. It's amazing to see a 25-30lbs dog move stubborn cattle yet be controlled and gentle enough to move a flock of flighty ducks. Corgis really are the best. On Sunday Ashton went in for his second PT test and did another great job. By qualifying twice in the test he received his PT title! Ashton received a ribbon for each of his PT tests and one for his new title. On top of that he got the cutest stuffed sheep toy which is way to cute to let the dogs destroy!

                                   (The too cute sheep toy wearing the "My First Nationals" button.)

(l-r Performance Chair Vicki Kirsher, Herding Judge Carol Ann Hartnagle, John and, of course, Ashton after earning his PT title.)

Monday took us to Agility. One thing they did at the trial I thought was neat was they handed out dog biscuits in the shape of the letter "Q" so that way everyone could go home and say they got a Q at the National! Ashton was looking to get his 3rd leg in Open Standard and his 3rd leg in Novice Jumpers with Weaves. Ashton was Ashton during his Open run and decided the judge didn't lay out the course right and took the tunnel when he should have gone to a jump, NQ. He didn't qualify but he had one heck of a good time making up his own course! On the plus side, he didn't drop bars. The very last class to run for the day was the Novice Jumpers. He ran past the weaves to sniff at something next to the third pole but came back, reloaded and ran the rest of the course perfectly. Even with the retry at the weaves Ashton Q'd and got First Place! In addition to his first place ribbon and new title ribbon he got a gorgeous pewter plate with the PWCCA seal on it! So for Monday he missed out on one title but got his NAJ title!

                                              (Ashton weaving on the Open Standard course.)

Tuesday was Obedience day. Currently Ashton is working towards his Rally Advanced Excellent title but with so much competition and traveling we thought he would be mentally (and physically) tired to do 2 rally runs. So we planned ahead and started him in Beginning Novice Obedience. We picked up his first two legs at the Nisqually Dog Show this past August so this would be another title run for him. As expected he was pretty tired and slept ringside as we waited for his turn. He was a bit distracted since this is the very first time he has ever competed indoors on carpeting. It looked a bit more like a tracking demo than an obedience trial! LOL He didn't do his best work but did qualify! With that Q he earned his BN title, qualifying ribbon and new title ribbon!

                                                               (Obedience Ribbons)

Four days of competition, three new titles, we were flying high. That night we gave our dogs' breeder a call to share the good news. We were going to miss each other since we would be leaving Wednesday morning when she would be arriving. Needless to say she was very happy and then she gave us some news to make us even happier. Izzy, her tri-color who we have wanted a puppy from, is pregnant! We are first on the list for a little girl! Ashton and Al may become big brothers soon! I'm so excited the last few days have been filled with so many exciting and happy events!
                                             (2012 PWCCA National Specialty Welcome Party)


Wednesday was our shopping/travel day so we made the rounds at all the vendors and lamented how we wished we had unlimited financial funds. So many cute corgi things. There was a vendor who came all the way from England selling one of a kind figurines. They were gorgeous but pricy. The two I really like were $950 and $1100. So needless to say, I got to admire them from afar. Another vendor had these amazing screen doors and mirrors. I have no need for a screen door but I sure did want it! So many things, so little money. I did pick up some corgi related merchandise including a wallet, kitchen towel, blanket, t-shirt, jacket, stained glass ornament, wine stopper, soap dish w/ paw print soap, and a powder-coated metal art piece of a corgi herding three sheep. Oh the shopping was divine!

                                                          (The screen door I really wanted)

Lucky for us Conformation started on Wednesday morning too so we got to watch a couple of the puppy classes. So many corgi puppies!! Shopping and corgi puppies! I couldn't stop smiling since everywhere you looked there was a happy corgi puppy waiting to go into or come out of the show ring. Truly it was the best way to end our very first National Specialty.

(Some cute pups waiting ringside for their turn on first day of conformation competition.)

After more than my budget was spent (who needs food when you can have corgi stuff!?!!) we packed up the Jeep and hit the road. The ride home was uneventful except for the big fire right on 84 which reduced visibility and narrowed the highway down to one east lane and later when we were about 45 minutes from home a huge badger ran out in front of us, that was awful. Other than that, it was a great trip.

(Ashton in the hotel room with his ribbons and plate on top of the crate/bed cover with the 2012 Specialty logo.)

It was Ashton's last show of the year and he now has three new titles, I have a ton of new corgi stuff, we had so much fun AND we may be getting a little corgi girl! Could it get any better!?!!

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Comment by Gromit, Sparkle, and Doug on September 29, 2012 at 9:42pm

Congrats to Ashton on his success!  I know those ribbons represent a lot of hard work on his part and maybe a little from his hoomans too.  Sparkle's brother and sister were there with their breeder and were probably amongst those puppies you saw doing their first big conformation match.  Of the things on my personal bucket list, visiting the National Specialty is just below dating a super model and probably more likely to happen.

Comment by Mickey on September 29, 2012 at 3:48pm

What fun in corgi heaven!!

Comment by Roger/Laurie on September 29, 2012 at 10:55am

Congratulations, what fun!!

Comment by Beth on September 29, 2012 at 9:32am

Oh, how awesome!  You've done such a great job with your dogs and kudos to Ashton's breeder for producing such an all-purpose Corgi.  I wish we had more training opportunities here; I'd love to do tracking but the nearest tracking trainer is over an hour away.

Looks like a blast!  I was thinking of going last year when Nationals were in our home state but turned out we had a vacation booked at the same time and I missed them.  One year I will go just to spectate!

Comment by Bev Levy on September 29, 2012 at 7:47am

Sounds like it was a great trip! Congratulations!

Comment by John Wolff on September 29, 2012 at 12:37am

Oh gosh, what fun!  Al & Gwynnie say "aroooo" to Ashton and ... Al??

Comment by Laura and Tommy Jefferson on September 29, 2012 at 12:29am

Ashton looks so regal with all of his ribbons!! Congrats!

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