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The 2015 American Rottweiler Club Nationals Sieger

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As a fairly new member of the American Rottweiler Club (ARC), I attended our first National Breed Specialty just last year in Wisconsin.  While the ARC Nationals is a week-long event several different competitions in AKC traditional Conformation, Rally, Obedience, Carting, Tracking, and many others, it is the non-traditional European-style Sieger show which is of primary interest for myself.  This year, the ARC Nationals was held in St. Louis – nearly the exact same distance from my home (six hour drive) as last year’s show.  If the lure of attending our breed’s national specialty wasn’t draw enough, all the associated events would be held at the prestigious Purina Farms – one of the premier show locations in the US.

The training preparation for both our dog Zeus and myself began in January – I set a goal of winning Zeus’s class at the ARC Nationals Sieger, and winning the Youth Sieger award.  It was a realistic goal – Zeus took 2nd in his class at the 2014 ARC Nationals Sieger, and took the Best Youth Male at the 2014 Nashville Rottweiler Klub Breed Show.  To accomplish this goal, I knew I had to do several things – 1)Put weight on Zeus, 2)Take weight off me, and 3)Improve my handling ability.  To accomplish tasks 1 & 2, both Zeus and I began a fairly rigorous training routine which combined anaerobic activity for Zeus and running for me.  January in Ohio is normally cold, but this year we had a brutal Winter.  Often Zeus and I took long walks or did ball work in 20-30 degree F temperatures – when it got colder than that, we’d often go to dog friendly places with lots of room like Home Depot or Lowes and walk or jog the aisles together.  The strategy worked well – I put about 10 lbs. of solid muscle on Zeus, and lost more than a few pounds myself.  To accomplish task 3, Zeus and I certainly practiced running and baiting together, but we also did several shows leading up to the Arc Nationals in April.  Between January 1st and April 25th we did a total of four shows prior to the ARC Nationals – about one a month.  Zeus did phenomenally well placing at every single show, including a V1 (first place) finish at the South Florida Rottweiler Klub Breed Show.  Two of the shows, Zeus placed V3 and V4 – disappointing, but also very instructive.  In both cases, Zeus would have placed higher – perhaps even won the class – if I simply ran him properly (faster).  By the time we arrived in St. Louis, I really felt like I was prepared.

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Purina Farms certainly lived up to its reputation as being a top-notch facility for dog events.  Here’s a photo of the entrance to the main event center:

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Most of the ARC Nationals events were held inside the Event Center:

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As is traditionally the case with Sieger shows, the ARC Sieger was held out doors in a field near the Event Center:

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One of the great things about the ARC Nationals is getting to see folks face to face you don’t always get to interact with outside of phone calls and Facebook.  It was great seeing former ARC President Jeff Shaver and his dog Hugo:

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It was also great being able to finally meet ARC Board Member Roberta Martin face to face (she worked VERY hard all week long):

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The Siger started at 2pm on Saturday, which was unfortunately a cold, rainy day.  Fortunately for me, the 18-24 Month Male class didn’t show until Sunday morning, which was chilly, but sunny and quite pleasant weather in which to show.  Unfortunately, Zeus did not win the class – he came in second place (V2).  I was actually rather convinced based on class winners from the day prior that judge Alfredo Estrada wouldn’t like Zeus – he seemed to be putting up more compact dogs.  So considering this, and the size of the class (12 really great dogs), I’m not at all disappointed with a 2nd place finish.

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Many thanks to my wife Karen (who not only helped run Zeus, but also took many of the photos) and to my breeder Christy Hutchinson of Krafthaus Rottweilers  who helped run and double handle Zeus – it was certainly a team effort.

The fact of the matter is, Zeus and I had won before we ever arrived in St. Louis – the hours we spent training and bonding are greater than any trophy or placement we could have received.  This show was Zeus’s last Sieger where he will compete as a Youth Male – he turns two years old May 1st and will move into the Open Adult class.  We’re optimistic about how Zeus will perform in the Adult classes – the dog who went V1 in the Open Male class (and went on to win the Sieger Award) is a dog that Zeus beat just three months ago in the 18-24 Month Male class in Miami.

Let me take a moment to discuss the quality of the show itself.  As a member of ARC with natural tailed dogs, I often feel like a 3rd class citizen, and other members like myself feel much the same.  As was the case last year, the ARC Sieger felt very much like the red-headed step child of the ARC Nationals.  It seemed as though the ARC Sieger was a “bone” thrown to the members of ARC who, like myself, own dogs with natural tails.  Worse, it looked as though the money generated from the entries largely went into the ARC coffers and not into the event itself.  I’ve never been to a Sieger of any size (much less a “Nationals” level event) which obviously spent so little on trophies and awards.  For my second place class win, I received a ribbon and a commemorative mason jar/mug:

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Apparently ARC also had rosettes to give all the V Rated dogs…and the ARC officials in attendance either weren’t aware, or simply forgot.  I left the show around noon on Sunday, and apparently someone figured out they had the rosettes to give out some point after I’d left the show.  ARC didn’t even bother to have a photographer lined up for the event – again, something I’ve never seen before at any Sieger.  The reason?  They weren’t willing to pay one dime to have a photographer there.  As a professional photographer myself, I inquired months ago about being the photographer for the 2015 ARC Nationals Sieger.  They were more than willing to have me be to the photographer…if I did so as a volunteer.  They weren’t even willing to reimburse me any travel or lodging expenses.  The ARC Board should be ashamed at the level of effort and money that was put into their Nationals Sieger…as well as the fact that ARC only has ONE Sieger every year.  Let’s hope they do a better job next year in Pennsylvania.

About John B. Holbrook, II
John B. Holbrook, II is a freelance writer, photographer, and author of ThruMyLens.org, as well as LuxuryTyme.com and TheSeamasterReferencePage.com. *All text and images contained in this web site are the original work of the author, John B. Holbrook, II and are copyright protected. Use of any of the information or images without the permission of the author is prohibited.

  1. I am very proud of all that you both have accomplished this past year. From the first time I saw Zeus in youth class and cheered for him on the side line, I thought he was exceptional. Congratulations on all the hard work. It has paid off. Keep up the great work.

    Barbara

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