The new year began in Perth, where Cats WA staged a successful eight ring show held over two days. For the first time since 1987, a GCCF judge (John Hansson) officiated at the ACF National, along with Lone Lund and Martti Peltonen (FIFe, Denmark and Sweden respectively) and a bevy of TICA ladies from the USA: Mary Lou Anderson, Adriana Kajon and Vickie Shields. Bronwyn Main and Chris Lowe represented NZCF while judges from various ACF affiliates also took to the floor. Eventually, Supreme Exhibit was won by serial Supreme winner Ambritt Hurricane Harry.
That evening at the dinner, there were two presentations of note: The retirement of Nell Evans after many years dedicated service as Secretary and the ACF’s most prestigious ‘gong’, the Distinguished Service Award, which went to Sandi Gemmell. This award has only been given four times and all four recipients were present on this occasion.
Because the show occupied two days, the weekend was a particularly long one. The Judges Guild AGM and seminar was staged on Monday and in the absence of the President, the meeting elected Scoot Andresen to chair the meeting, which he did extremely decisively, with scrupulous impartiality.
The following day the ACF’s own AGM and GM were held. Second term President, Professor Eleanor Ramsay, impressed all with her clarity and humanity and steered the meeting through a heavy agenda. Incoming Secretary, Carole Galli (WA), no doubt emerged from the meeting a little overwhelmed, but she has certainly picked up the baton and run! The meeting accorded provisional membership to Western Australian body, COAWA.
Among many other items, the Neva Masquerade was recognised, cow–hocking was declared a withhold fault in all breeds, as were reduced nose leather size and/or restricted or pinched nasal aperture and audible, difficult breathing or mouth breathing. The Russian standard was amended to the liking of the breeders and the meeting and the three year moratorium on standard changes was removed.
We were not to know it at the time, but Perth was the last many of us were to see of stalwart John Evans, Nell Evans’ husband and helpmate (and for one term, a member of the ACF Executive), whom so many of us regarded with such affection. His death in November was pretty much inevitable, but still came as a shock. Since 1998, John had been a fixture at National weekends, always at the ready to help the local crew with set up or any odd jobs that might relieve the burden on show management. This year’s National weekend just won’t be the same without him.
It was entirely fitting that in November 2015, CCCA finally voted to recognise the judges of Cats NSW, all of whom had been CCCA trained. In fact, the last year has seen an unprecedented number of established judges transferring to ACF as individuals (rather than en bloc, as when GCCFV, FCCQ and COAWA joined as member bodies) as well as a smattering of new, ACF–trained judges joining the panel. We also have a former ANCATS AB judge (originally CCCA panel) undergoing an assessment/mentoring programme with Cats NSW. So, it’s been a year of expansion.