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Report of the Show Chairman

September 2004 Barker


Report of the Show Chairman, Sammamish Kennel Club Show, August 22, 2004


It was with tremendous reluctance and profound disappointment that the decision was made by me, in consultation with many individuals, to cancel this year’s All Breed Dog Show. I thought it might be helpful to explain the situation and to clarify the reasons behind this difficult action.

I was awakened in the early A.M. hours of Sunday , August 22, by heavy rains which continued during the entire morning until shortly before noon. In fact, The Seattle Times, in its Monday August 23 edition, referred to the entire average August rainfall falling in a 12 hour period. These particular grounds at King County’s Marymoor Park had not been used by our Club before, so the results of such a rainfall were not predicted by me. I fretted the entire night, and, more so, on the drive to the show site. I was frankly not prepared for the condition of the park, and was stunned and worried.

When I arrived, the front area was crowded with Club officers, exhibitors, handlers, and BaRay (Show Superintendent) officials. The condition of the grounds was truly appalling.

1. Large collections of standing water were everywhere, 2-3 inches in some places, outside virtually every ring, and indeed in many of the show rings as well. The few electrical cords were submerged in water (those for Mr. Dahmberg’s trailer, our Club trailer, and the P.A. system). The area behind the club trailer was a virtual wading pool, and was the access area for the load-unload area, the performance ring exhibitors, as well as many others.

2. Approximately 20 shade canopies, Easy Ups, and grooming tents were destroyed, from both the weight of collected water and the effect of wind. They were lying all over the grounds, in twisted heaps, collapsed onto ring fencing, into firelanes, onto each other. The Club lost approximately 10 of its canopies, BaRay lost several. Those that belonged to exhibitors were simply abandoned and left behind, for, of course, the Club to deal with. I felt that many individuals were focused on consequences of this particular problem. It took from 7:30 AM until 11:30 AM, or later, to clear this debris. These tents were a major safety risk, as they had jagged edges, the locations were diverse, and though admittedly the fire risk may have been low at that moment, the need for emergency vehicles at some point that day was very high. There was absolutely no way that any show could proceed until this wreckage was
cleared. Ultimately, calls were placed to Waste Management, the Club even made an emergency trip to a hardware store to buy a welding torch to see if that would hasten the process. The Marymoor staff had already approached us about the scattered sites of these frames, an unacceptable situation for them. To have delayed the start of the Show for these hours would have resulted in many problems, including the impossibility of completing the show before dark in a dangerous and nonilluminated field.

3. My initial step was to tour the show site. It was quickly apparent that the situation was dangerous for exhibitors and dogs alike. I even ran in a few rings, only to note large splashes, absent footing, and very slick surfaces. Individuals kept coming up to me to weigh in, all stating the impossibility of the show, none suggesting otherwise. Though I was open to input, ultimately the decision of course came back to me. I would ask all of you to consider the falls and spills of recent dog shows, the consequences to exhibitors and dogs alike, and
consider the magnitude of injury threatened by this situation. The liability issues, the even worse public relations fiasco, and above all the irresponsibility which would have been demonstrated in hosting this show were very obvious to me. It is surprising now to have people involving lawyers, demanding return of fees, questioning the call. I can only imagine the legal repercussions to the Club, and others, if significant injuries had occurred.

4. I then addressed the gathering of concerned individuals, cited my insistence on avoiding three forms of injury: to the dogs, to the exhibitors, to the grounds. I asked as I had been in phone contact with Mr. William Holbrook, AKC representative, who was to arrive in a few minutes. He and I then toured the grounds on a golf-cart, discussing all the issues and ramifications, and it became apparent that this was not a toss-up question. He provided valuable input and a sounding board for me. Again, it was my difficult decision to make: the Show was cancelled.

5. I was at this point concerned about damage to the Marymoor site. I worked carefully with Bob Dahmberg to establish an exit plan, and it was decided to walk the RVs, etc., out one at a time, row by row if possible, to avoid reverse gears, to vary the placement of tires so as to prevent ruts. The exhibitors could not have been more gracious or patient, and this plan seemed to work. As a post-script I toured the site the following day, Monday, August 23, and then met with the Parks people. We were reassured, the maintenance issues seem solvable, and I think this only reinforced my decision. Whether we return there next year is at least a decision that will not involve damage to the field. I would ask some of you to recall the damage done to the polo fields at one prestigious Southwestern show some years ago, the $100,000 damage, and the permanent loss of that show site. Note too, that even the portable toilets could not be serviced that morning at our site, as scheduled, due to the weight of the service vehicle. Perhaps on a lesser note, please note that we tried to communicate to the parking lot coordinators to refund parking fees, though this did not always happen smoothly. A little slack here: we were sending volunteers down the road to turn away vehicles before they were caught in congestion, and we were calling local media sources (television and radio) to try to get the word out. I did have one message at my home
which was delayed in its receipt as north Seattle had a several-hour power outage. This expressed disagreement with my decision and a promise to protest to the AKC. Curiously this call came from the gentleman’s home, he had not come to the show site, and was apparently considering his own local micro-climate.

6. Some have noted the threat of lightening, as well as its appearance in the early morning hours. I was indeed concerned about this as well, but the decision to abort the show was based on conditions that morning, and only minimal consideration was given to weather possibilities later in the day.

7. I have been second guessed for not consulting different individuals. I invited input from people there at the time, when I spoke to the large gathered group (As such people as Mr. Lee, Mr. Vroom, Mr. Rogers, Ms. Hilborn, etc., etc. can attest.) I am not sure that I consider it fair to ask me why certain individuals were not consulted: I even suggested a moderated giveand-take among the group. All there knew my role as show chairman, I was omnipresent until 4 PM that day, and I did not shun input. I guess the old adage of “another’s shoes’ is pertinent.

8. I remain profoundly disappointed at this turn of events, particularly as so many had worked so long to solidify this site, which for the two days of Specialties was exemplary, and virtually hassle-free. I had expected this week that I would be smug and self-satisfied, busy sending out notes of appreciation and thanks, and to be exhausted. Unfortunately, I had to settle for one of the four.

Respectfully submitted,
Bo Gloster, Show Chairman

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