2015 Australian Junior Handler Final
What a night! The Australian Junior Handler Final was held on Saturday night, 31st October 2015 and, as it was New South Wales’ turn to host the Australian finals, the Dogs NSW Junior Handler Working Party made it a night to remember!
The Committee wanted to make the finals a special night for our State winners and decided to have an official dinner for the finalists, scheduling the judging after the dinner. It was a bold move, as all the other Australian Finals had been held at dog shows. However, as this event is an important part of the show calendar, with the winner going on to represent Australia at Crufts, we felt it must be special.
I was amazed at the response we received, from both the general show fraternity and with sponsorship. The State winners went home with a large quantity of prizes, donated by sponsors and Dogs NSW, who hosted the event. Special thanks must go to Advance, who have sponsored this event for as long as I can remember.
We had 70 dinners booked for the night and then, as judging commenced, further crowds arrived who had come to watch the judging. I felt that there were over 100 members present for the judging, which is more than what we would see at a show.
It was great to see the number of interstate people, who had made the trip to Sydney, just to support their Finalist. From Dogs NSW, we had our President Liz Gunter with her husband Miles and also Kerry Christofi from Dogs NSW office, who has been a big supporter of our handlers.
Our judge for the Australian Final was Mr Mark Anderson from South Africa (pictured left), who became interested in Junior Handlers in 1997 and is a big believer in showmanship, as a key partner to presenting a true, winning dog. He was very impressed with the quality of the handlers over all. It was a delight to see our seven state finalists in the ring , as they each showed grace, humility and great sportsmanship. Our hobby is in good hands! Thank you to our judge, Mark Anderson from South Africa, who put our talented handlers through their paces.
The 2015 Australian Junior Handler Winner was Madeleine Selby (pictured below right), representing Western Australia. Madeleine handled a Whippet and a Collie (Smooth) as her swap dog. She will proudly represent Australia at the International Final at Crufts 2016 and we'll all be cheering her on!
The 2015 Australian Junior Handler Runner Up was Kaitlyn Anderson from NSW (see pictured below). Kaitlyn handled an Australian Terrier, and a Golden Retriever as her swap dog.
Thanks to our ever hard working photographer, Ffiona Jane Erskine, who joined us on the night. To all the sponsors, we extend our gratitude for your generous support of our Juniors, especially our major sponsor ADVANCE who play a major role in making it possible to send our representative to Crufts.
Words: John Forbes (Dogs NSW Junior Handler Working Party)
Pictured Left: The 2015 Australian Junior Handler Runner Up, Kaitlyn Anderson (NSW) with Judge: Mr Mark Anderson (South Africa) & Courtney Spencer (Dogs NSW Junior Handler Working Party).
Pictured at Top Left:
The 2015 Australian Junior Handler Winner, Madeleine Selby (WA) with Judge: Mr Mark Anderson (South Africa) & Courtney Spencer (Dogs NSW Junior Handler Working Party).
and Right: 2015 Australian State Finalists
Back row: Judge: Mr Mark Anderson (South Africa), Madeleine Selby (WA), Kaitlyn Anderson (NSW), Courtney Spencer (Dogs NSW Junior Handler Working Party) Front row: Louise Weeks (VIC), Bianka Hickey (QLD), Brodi Bonham (SA), Rachael Morrissy (ACT), Jacinta Dargis (TAS).