On Saturday evening, February 9, 300 of the dog fancy’s fanciest gathered at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in New York City to honor the nation’s top eight dogs of the year and to dole out another round of coveted Winkies®. While there isn’t a red carpet and a lot of rented jewelry, this event has become the dog show set’s most elegant night to recognize excellence in the sport of dogs. Despite all the hype and chatter this evening generates, the Showdogs of the Year Awards could simply not happen without the generous financial support of Purina Pro Plan.
The weekend prior to Westminster promises many things to visitors: awards ceremonies, charity fundraisers, judges’ dinners, a host of specialties held all over the Tri-state area, reunions with dog friends, the excitement of 2,500 of the nation’s top show dogs converging on Manhattan and, of course, the guarantee of precipitation! Come rain, hail and snow, snow, snow! Despite more than 2 feet of snow dumped on the Metropolitan area, most invitees and nominees of the annual Showdogs dinner were able to arrive safely to New York in their black-tie finest.
Richard G. Beauchamp, the Awards Chairman for the Winkies for Annual Achievement, wrote all too cleverly in this year’s program, “Through rain and sleet and dark of night,” joking that the dog show judge, like a reliable postal carrier, “no matter the conditions … is there at o’dark thirty every weekend.” Alas, Rick was stalled by the weather but was present in spirit.
The two gentlemen chosen as hosts this year, Michael H. Faulkner and Dr. John Reeve-Newson, were delightful, funny, irreverent, naughty and a bit over-the-top (depending on who you ask!). Both of these accomplished dog men were entertaining and clearly enjoyed being in the center of the festivities.
Candy Caciolo, Portfolio Director, Professional Engagement Marketing for Nestle Purina Pet Care, addressed the crowd on behalf of the evening’s major sponsor. Purina Pro Plan has been sponsoring the Showdogs of the Year event for years, and the assembled show dog people couldn’t have been more appreciative. The company takes great pride in boasting that the last six Westminster Best in Show winners — Malachy, Hickory, Sadie, Stump, Uno and James — were all powered by Pro Plan.
Lisa MacDonald, marketing director for I-5 Publishing LLC, the new publisher of Dogs In Review magazine, referred to “the wonderful people at Purina Pro Plan” as the “best possible partner for this event,” and introduced a tribute to their colleague Maureen Salamone, one of this event’s staunchest supporters, who passed away suddenly just a few weeks before. Ms. Salamone’s family was in the audience, and the crowd was deeply moved by the video presentation honoring this vivacious dog lover.
From the March 2013 issue of Dogs In Review magazine. Purchase the March 2013 digital back issue or subscribe to receive 12 months of Dogs In Review magazine.