AKC Gazette Columns

AKC Gazette - October 1993


The BMDCA held its 1993 national specialty in Kansas City, Missouri, May 13-16, hosted by the Heartland Bernese Mountain Dog Club. The 18th Annual, 16th Independent National Specialty Show, Obedience Trial, Futurity, Sweepstakes, 10th Tracking Test and Second Tracking Dog Excellent Test was a resounding success with an entry of 334 dogs. Celebrating the national club's silver anniversary made the events even more special.

Show chair Joanne Prellberg and her efficient committee did a superb job in making the occasion a memorable one for all. The show site, the Kansas City Airport Marriott, was perfect. Indeed, the theme, "Home to the Heartland," was certainly appropriate, as there was such a wonderful atmosphere among the exhibitors, spectators and hotel staff that one felt quite at home. The central location, so accessible by air from all parts of the country, was just ideal.

Quentin La Ham received overwhelming approval in his selection of Best in Show, the Veteran Dog winner, 7-year-old Ch. Donar V Mutschen, owned by Hans and JoDee Hauser and bred by Lotti Schrode. This lovely Swiss import, called Alex, so ably handled by Beth Friichtenicht, never ran out of steam despite a very hot afternoon. His marvelous energy belied his age and reflected the wonderful conditioning that results from his life as a genuine dairy farm dog, where he serves as watchdog, playmate, baby-sitter, cattle drover and cart puller. He was sent from Switzerland to the Hauser family seven years ago by Grandpa Hauser, who is himself Swiss.

In 1991, Alex distinguished himself by going BIS at the BMDCA national specialty in Pennsylvania under the distinguished German judge Christofer Habig. The BMDCA named Alex a Top Producer of Conformation Title Holders in 1992. Alex is now the third Berner to win the national more than once. He joins Ch, Alphorn's Copyright of Echo, breeder-owned by D.G. and Gretchen Johnson (1977 and 1978), and Ch.. Ashley V Bernerliebe, CD., breeder-owned by Christina and Joel Ohlsen (1980, 1982 and 1983).

From the beautiful array of specials, La Ham gave the nod for Best of Opposite Sex to Ch. High Alps Jodi V Bev's, bred by Beverly Burney and owned by Angela Radel.

Awards of Merit were presented to Ch. Ltng Ridge Ilsa of LKS Edge, bred by John and Nancy Miniter and owned by Mary Townsend and Maria C. Wright; Ch. Mardi Grau Mirage V De-Li's, bred by Cheryl Grau and Ostermiller and owned by Ann Scoblic and Grau; Ch, De-Li's Standing Ovation, breeder/owner Ostermiller; and the Veteran Bitch Winner, Ch. Sablemate Nola of Horton Bay, bred by Sylvia Howison and Martha Reisinger and owned by Howison and Lori Jodar.

In obedience, Judge Ann B. Hoversen awarded Highest Scoring Dog in Regular Classes to Felicidad's Brighteye Anabel, bred by Phyllis Collier and owned by Deborah Hotze, with a score of 197.

The entries in futurity and sweep- stakes presented the future of our breed. Dr. D. G. Johnson, futurity judge, selected High Alps Buck Stops Here, bred by Angela Radel and owned by Harry Hodgson, as Best in Futurity. BOS was Mentmore's Edelweiss V Bev's, bred by Diane and Stephen Bussey and owned by Burney.

Judge Denise Dean chose Crystal Creek Karina Mt. View, bred by Dawn F.. Letry and owned by Letry and Sherry L. Edwards as Best Puppy in Sweepstakes as well as Best in Sweeps. Best Junior in Sweepstakes was Blackrock's Entirely Isabel, bred by Newell and Dawn Cox and owned by Michael and Christine Mann.

Judges Frances Ippensen and Sandy Ganz presided over the Tracking and Tracking Dog Excellent Tests. Brighteye Clancy O'Creekwood, bred by Hotze and owned by Mike and Cherie Bond, passed the Tracking Dog Test. The Tracking Dog Excellent Test was passed by Ch. Swiss Star's Nitro Whatagas, CD, TD, bred by Barbara and William Heftier and owned by April Rifenburg.


Since AKC Awards may be consulted for the complete results of the specialty, the focus is on the special events that highlighted the working ability of Bernese. Agility I had three qualifiers and Agility II had two that qualified. The excitement generated by this event is just incredible.

In the Canine Good Citizen test, 19 of 28 passed.

In their native Switzerland, Berners pull carts. To see the dogs in harness doing what they were bred to do is an affirmation of the ability of breeders to maintain the working characteristics inherent in the breed. The beautiful parade of Draft Test entries was heart warming. Novice and Open Draft Dog each had one that qualified.

A delightful event that everyone enjoyed was the Regional Club Cart Contest. Very appropriately for the gateway to the west, there was even a miniature prairie schooner with a Berner in the traces.


From time to time over the years, the BMDCA, by the decision of the board of directors, has selected members to receive the club's Outstanding Service Award, which includes lifetime membership. In this silver anniversary year, two recipients were named. Mary Jo Thomson became the ninth person in the BMDCA to receive this award. She was the club's first delegate to the AKC and has served in that capacity for 15 years, only recently stepping down due to ill health. In her many years of service, Mary Jo has held a variety of offices, including four terms as president She has been a tireless worker and a staunch advocate for the best interests of the breed. We wish her well and Godspeed in regaining her health.

The second recipient, as the tenth person named for Outstanding Service, was this writer. The honor and distinction are deeply treasured, and I proudly join Mary Jo and the eight others who have earlier been given this award. They are Martha Decker, Mary Dawson, Mary Alice Eschweiler, Dr. D.G. Johnson, Barbara Packard, Dr. Martin Packard, Lori Jodar and Sylvia Howison.

The beautiful silver medallion bearing the club's logo on one side and the words, "Outstanding Service," the name of the recipient and the year of the award on the reverse side, and the accompanying lifetime membership, are awards that truly reflect the great esteem in which BMDCA holds those named to receive the honor. As a recipient, I can only say the pleasure has been all mine in serving the breed and those who love it.

-Julie Crawford, Route 2, Box 110, Delmar, MD 21875.